Quality of life: Money or free time?


I have loved this little story since I read it the first time, and even use it in therapy to illustrate how a lot of people think today. When people feel dismay because everyone else works so hard, buys expensive stuff and manage everything at once (the wonderwomen and men of today), I think it`s important to put a question mark on what we define as the important goal of our lives. What do you think?


October 16, 2012 · by  · in Wisdom stories

A smartly-dressed enterprising tourist is taking photographs when he notices a shabbily dressed local fisherman taking a nap in his fishing boat. The tourist is f05b3fe8d1f5ef5d36f311fd9b236ee7disappointed with the fisherman’s apparently lazy attitude towards his work, so he approaches the fisherman and asks him why he is lying around instead of catching fish. The fisherman explains that he went fishing in the morning, and the small catch would be sufficient for the next two days.

The tourist tells him that if he goes out to catch fish multiple times a day, he would be able to buy a motor in less than a year, a second boat in less than two years, and so on. The tourist further explains that one day, the fisherman could even build a small cold storage plant, later a pickling factory, fly around in a helicopter, build a fish restaurant, and export lobster directly to Paris without a middleman.

The nonchalant fisherman asks, “Then what?”

The tourist enthusiastically continues, “Then, without a care in the world, you could sit here in the harbor, doze in the sun, and look at the glorious sea.”

“But I’m already doing that”, says the fisherman.

The enlightened tourist walks away pensively, with no trace of pity for the fisherman, only a little envy.


Source: Anecdote concerning the Lowering of Productivity

in by Heinrich Boll (author), Leila Vennewitz (translator)

The Collected Stories of Heinrich Bollpages 794-796






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s