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"Choosing to be the fisherman"

Article by Guest author: Abbas Jamie

Choosing to be the fisherman

It is early morning and the full moon is gently lighting up Lombok. As I lower my gaze from the sky, I look across the Lombok Strait which separates Lombok from Bali; the same strait that connects the Java Sea to the Indian ocean.

The dark mass of water is lit up like a Christmas tree with literally hundreds of sparkling little lights. Each sparkling light is actually a tiny fishing boat anchored in the strait. After sunrise you will see many more fishing boats heading out to see from the numerous bays along the coast. Everywhere along the coast you will encounter local fisherman.

Those not going out on boats are pulling in large nets from the ocean. As you watch the locals, it is clear that this is a communal affair. This is artisanal fishing – small scale, low technology, low capital, fishing practices carried out by individuals or small groups of fishing households.

As I watch the local fishermen going about their work, I am often reminded of the story of the local fisherman and the businessman.

I am sure you have heard some version of this story as well. Herewith a link to the version by one of my favourite authors, Paulo Coelho:

Being an entrepreneur and having lived in the corporate world, I often have to remind myself to stop looking for every opportunity to scale something into a business. I have been operating this way for a long time. Your brain never rests; you are constantly running scenarios, exploring new ideas and envisioning something better… something bigger.

STOP, pause, breathe and ask: Why?

Why do you want to scale this local business into something bigger?

Am I the businessman visiting the small fishing village?

Although I have heard different versions of this story many times, it was always just that. A fable conveying a deeper ‘meaning of life’ lesson.

Until I arrived in Lombok.

The story of the fisherman and the businessman has now taken on a new meaning to me. I have started to reflect on it beyond just a story. I have started to unpack its deeper meaning and the numerous lessons in this simple story. We often encounter these wonderful stories or phrases that make us pause and reflect for a moment. It touches us and speaks to our inner soul.

What if we were brave enough to live them?
Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today.
Contentment is the greatest form of wealth.
Time isn’t the main thing, it’s the only thing.
The journey is more important than the destination.

Make time for the people and things that matter most to you.
As a futurist, I am constantly envisioning a better future. Yes, this is important if we want to create a better world. We all do this on a micro scale with our own lives. If I can close this deal, get this job or meet this person then I will be able to….

And sometimes the anticipation of an event can create more satisfaction than the event itself. As we build toward this future state we sometimes forget to embrace the beauty of the current moment that we find ourselves in. Living in the moment means being content with what I have now. Some of us are blessed with wealth, others with good health and others with friends and family.

Wherever you find yourself on your journey I hope that you find peace, contentment and happiness… today.
For now, I choose to be the fisherman.

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