Once in a while I see a diagram that captures my thoughts / opinions so well, I can't help but to share it. That's why I am thankful to Bud Cadell for his brilliant blog post. It's brilliant enough that it needs no explanation.

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I can't tolerate most self-help books. They all seem say the same thing and few of them focus on others as a means of bettering yourself. That's why this book caught my eye.

Keith Ferrazzi, author of NYT and Amazon.com bestseller  'who's got your back' suggests, if you choose to work on a better future, that you must commit to four vows:

1) We've chosen to help others and stop worrying only about ourselves.
2) We've chosen to let our guards down so others can help.
3) We've chosen transparency and candor over politics and BS.
4) We've chosen to hold each other accountable so that we don't fail.

Food for thought.

 
 

Setting: A boat docked in Ferragudo, a tiny fishing village in the Algarve region in the South of Portugal.

An American tourist approached Peixoto and complimented the Portuguese fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

“Not very long,” answered Peixoto.

“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

Peixoto explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs… I have a full life.”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”

And after that?” asked Peixoto.

With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to a great City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked Peixoto.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? Well my Friend, That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?” said Peixoto.

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends.”

”But sir, replied the humble fisherman, I already have that.”

 
 

Sorry for the silence. Life has been a roller-coaster as we are nearing the end of my wife's chemotherapy treatments. Managing the kids, her well-being, my work, the collective emotions and our relationships has stretched my spirituality as well as my time-management skills. I'll blog about all the lessons learnt when it's all over and the dust has settled.

One of my students at the engineering school I teach Entrepreneurship at, had an interesting quote  that she put at the footer of her emails. I thought it applied well to me when I read it and it applies even more to entrepreneurs caught in a spiral of self-doubt about their choices.

Excellence can be obtained if you :
care more than others think is wise, risk more than others think is safe, dream more than others think is practical and expect more than others think is possible !

It reminded me of a little story I read as a child that stuck with me and fueled me on those days when I had nothing left:

A retired business executive was once asked the secret of his success. He replied that it could be summed up in three words: 'and then some'.
'I discovered at an early age,' he said, 'that most of the differences between average people and top people could be explained in three words. The top people did what was expected of them - and then some.

'They were thoughtful of others, they were considerate and kind - and then some.

'They were good friends to their friends - and then some.

'They would deliver on their promises at work, at church and at home - and then some.

'They could be counted on in an emergency - and then some.

'And so it is when we put our trust in God's goodness. He returns our love - and then some.'