Monday, April 18, 2016

Work Ethic?

A captain of industry was taking a stroll along a beach one day when he came upon someone sitting under a tree, chewing a piece of grass, and occasionally tugging a fishing line that ran from a fishing rod into the sea. 

The captain of industry was both amused and intrigued to see this lazy fisher doing so little in the middle of the workday. “Good-day. Do you expect to catch much with so little effort?”

“Why? Is there a better way,” the fisher asked.

"Well, if you were to work harder, you’d certainly have more success than you’re having simply lying here on the beach.”

The fisher smiled at the captain of industry and asked, “And should I have more of this success you mention, what’ll that get me?”

"Why, you’ll be able to replace your fishing line with nets and catch even more fish.”

"So, I catch more fish. Then what?”

The captain of industry seemed excited by the learning he was imparting. He was already imagining the business plan he could help this fisher to write. "You’ll increase your profit, invest some of it, buy a boat, and bring in even larger catches of fish!"

"And then?" asked the fisher again. 

"Why, buy a bigger boat, of course. Hire others to work for you!" 

"And then?"

The captain of industry couldn’t tell if he was more bewildered than angry. "Don't you see? You could build a fleet of fishing boats and let your workers catch fish for you!"

"And then?"

The captain of industry was now certain his anger exceeded his bewilderment. He shouted, "Don't you see that you can become so rich that you’ll never have to work again! You could spend the rest of your days sitting on this beach without a care in the world!"

The fisher pulled on the fishing line, smiled at the captain of industry and said, "And what does it look like I’m doing right now?"

My friend Tanya recently flattered me by comparing me to one of my great teachers, Pooh Bear, as described by Benjamin Hoff in a book i've read many times, The Tao of Pooh (Penguin, 1982). The passage that inspired Tanya to make this comparison is:
"Say, Pooh, why aren't you busy?" I said. "Because it's a nice day," said Pooh. "Yes, but ---""Why ruin it?" he said. "But you could be doing something Important," I said. "I am, " said Pooh. "Oh? Doing what?""Listening," he said. "Listening to what?""To the birds. And that squirrel over there.""What are they saying?" I asked. "That it's a nice day," said Pooh. "But you know that already," I said. "Yes, but it's always good to hear that somebody else thinks so, too," he replied. (p. 101)
This all reminded me of the above story i have found from several cultures around the world including Mexico, The Seychelles, Sierra Leone.  I'll be reading The Tao of Pooh again shortly.


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