a businessman was at the pier of the small Tuvaluan island when a boat with a fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were fish. The businessman complimented the Tuvaluan on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The fisherman replied only a little while.
The businessman then asked why he didn't stay out longer and catch more fish? The Tuvaluan said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs. The businessman then asked, but what do you do with the rest of you time? The Tuvaluan fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a nap with my wife, Puna, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitars with my friends; I have a full and busy life."
The businessman scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats; eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. You could sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You would need to leave this small fishing island-nation and move to Australia, then LA and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise."
The Tuvaluan fisherman asked, "But how long will this all take? To which the businessman replied, "15 to 20 years." "But what then, sir? The businessman laughed and said, "Thats the best part! When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and make millions, flying around on your own corporate jet!" "Millions, sir? Then what?" The businessman said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing island where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a nap with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your friends."
The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, "Isn't that what I'm doing right now?"
Tuvalu is incredible. The families are united and they love their community and island. We thought they needed business skills to emigrate for jobs, and they agreed. After observing the closeness of their island-family and watching grandparents, aunts, mothers, fathers, cousins, brothers and sisters peacefully fall asleep together on floor mats every night, I'll admit that I questioned our purpose in being there. They live in poverty but have so much.