If It Ain’t Broke…



This story never gets old…got yourself a cuppa? Then I’ll begin:

A business man was on vacation on a beautiful island. The pace was slow and the people seemed easy going and… well… simple hearted. One day he hired a local fisherman to take him out on his boat. The scenery was incredible. The water as blue and clear as Daniel Craigs eyes, the wind just a gentle whisper. It was a zen-like moment between man and nature. The fishing was plentiful and the island was undisturbed and quiet. Recognizing opportunity, the business man turned to his guide and said, ‘With all this at our disposal I could really change your life.’ ‘Really?’ the fisherman replied. The business man said, ‘Yes, why we could catch and sell fish by the boat loads. Nobody comes here so there is no competition. With some creative marketing we could do something that could change you and your family’s lives for generations.’

The fisherman could not think of what could change that would make him happier or affect his family for the better but he he took the bait(!) and enquired some more.

The businessman began to lay out how they could create a large fishing export company and make lots of money for him.

The Fisherman replied, ‘Then what?’

The businessman motivated by the fisherman’s continuing enquiry said, ‘Well, we’ll grow the fishing business into a large company and then we can create a wholesale fish exchange.’

‘Then what?’ enquired the fisherman,

‘With tailored marketing and my business contacts we can bring in other fishermen to work for you.’

He answered, ‘Then what?’

‘Well, perhaps eventually, for a season you would probably have to move to the mainland while we developed the business side together’.

‘Then what?’ ‘Well this is where it gets really good,’ said the businessman, ‘After a few good years of growth we can take the company international, go public and then put the company up for sale and make a whole load of cash out of it!’

Still seeking clarification, the fisherman asked yet again,’Then what?’

‘Well,’ the businessman said, now a little exasperated, ‘Then I guess you can retire and move somewhere really beautiful and spend your days kicking back, doing the fishing that you love, taking long siestas and enjoying your life’.

Grinning the fisherman asked, ‘Oh, Like I’m doing now you mean?’


Like the tourist, are you already surrounded by everything you need to be happy but cannot see it?


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88 thoughts on “If It Ain’t Broke…

  1. I love narrating this story…or a slightly different version of it…let me tell you my experience…photography is ( as you know) a hobby for me…an intense one….and for me, it would be like, I would focus all my time and energies on getting the right shot, and forgetting to enjoy the moment in hand…I don’t know when the realisation dawned, but, nowadays I sometimes let the camera stay inside the bag, and just enjoy the experience( I must be getting old!)…BTW, have you read the short story “The Fall of Edward Barnard” by Somerset Maugham?

    1. No. Should I? And why dear Know All?
      And your photography example is a good one that reinforces the problem of forgetting to be in the moment. But remember also that when a job/hobby is that intense, maybe that IS being in the moment for you.

      1. Hmmm…I have a feeling you might like the story( you can read it online..shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes)…it’s interesting that Maugham discussed something similar, nearly a hundred years back!
        And I agree with you that the hobby itself provides THE moment! And probably that’s why I can spend hours and hours at it, without feeling fatigued…but, I guess sometimes you need to take a look at the view without the viewfinder.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Reblogged this on Nterrobang and commented:
    I have been getting asked how and why I retired at age 45 the way I did and though I have no canned pithy answer, this is about a close to one as I could create.
    Most people have everything they want right in front of them but don’t realize it’s there. It’s right there. You can do whatever you want right now if you can see it.

    1. ‘Most people have everything they want right in front of them.’ I couldnt agree more; see the Kabir poem about this very point on my blog. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. okay, I’m just gonna shake it up here, cuz i can:
    why dis the salesman?

    for some people, it is their nature, their motivator, their *gift*, to spin, to hustle, to say “What if?” and have answers to “What then?” Yes, sometimes this can end up in a(n existential) loop as described herein — the point of this exercise, i understand — but these are the people who make change and improvements in the world, who see beyond the status quo to something, hopefully better, beyond.

    and nowhere in this story did the salesman evidence that he was idea-spinning for personal gain, to hurt or use the fisherman — in fact, he repeatedly pointed out possible advantages in his ideas for the fisherman. His motivations were seemingly good.

    There is no virtue in stagnation, as there is none in mindless change where none is needed. But somewhere, there is a median where positive change betters our lives, evolves us, and makes us better, happier people who are creating and doing, rather than just resting on our laurels and maintaining a day-to-day “is what it is.”

    ~awsmGirl, devil’s advocate for the moment

    1. Love it! Love it! I love a bit of devils advocating especially when it’s spot on!
      However, it doesn’t take away from the intrinsic message of the piece either. This, my lady, is a brilliant response and why I love to write and communicate. Go to the top of the class immediately. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I tried to reblog this but not taking ๐Ÿ˜ Would love to repost with permission. People constantly asked me both why and how I retired at age 45 and this is about as pithy and perfect an explanation I could ever give.

  5. Love this post, but if someone were to go “then what?” at me all the time, I will probably toss him/her over the boat ๐Ÿ˜€ While I do have a list of what I don’t have and want to achieve, I do know what I do have and am grateful for ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing

  6. Loved this….I had to chuckle because of the repeated “then what?”…. reminded me of my kids always asking “why?” It sounds kind of like the same thing really…why do all that work just to end up where you already are ๐Ÿ™‚ very cute. Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Monday!

  7. absolutely amazing, I heard this for the first time a couple of days ago. Brilliant message, and yes sometimes we need to take a step back and be thankful. I do like your reference to Daniel Craig’s eyes, he is ADORABLE!

  8. Reblogged this on permacultureghost and commented:
    Take the time to stop and smell the roses. Knowing and understanding those around you and the particular plants and animals that may be involved in your life. There is a lot of time spent chasing dreams, or worrying about money. And I notice that this impedes creative thought and motivation. But when these small triumphs happen, and you are able to stand on the ground that you’ve built, being happy is as easy as waking up in the morning and doing what you love for the rest of the day.

  9. Reblogged this on Masala & Blarney and commented:
    Such a simple story that has been retold here in a delight way.

    Oh and in case you havenโ€™t already stumbled upon my friend over at The Journal you really need to pay her a visit she has some of the most beautiful and delightful things to share.

  10. Such a simple story that has been retold here in a delight way.

    Oh and in case you haven’t already stumbled upon my friend over at The Journal you really need to pay her a visit she has some of the most beautiful and delightful things to share.

    1. Ha ha!…I take it this was meant to be a re-blog! Perhaps all that re-jigging and moving IS getting to you! Lol! This is exactly why technology is frightening ain’t it? Imagine dissing someone and then sending THEM the diss by mistake! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  11. What a great story to read on a Saturday! So inspiring and true! Life isn’t about making so much money you don’t know what to do with it. It’s about appreciating what you have and being the happiest you can be! Sometimes people are so focused on what they don’t have, what they want to achieve, that they miss out on what’s right in front of them! Loved your story, thanks for sharing it! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ˜ƒ

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