A year ago, I had the incredible honor of taking an economics course taught by Leonce Ndikumana. I don’t expect anyone to know him, as I admittedly did not. He is on the UN Committee for Development Policy and devotes his research and scholarship to improving the lives of some of the planet’s most impoverished people. To me, he’s a hero… much more than George Clooney or any other common childhood hero.
Leonce commonly traveled and upon his arrival from Tanzania, he had a story for the class. I’m sure most of my classmates have forgotten it by now, but of course I could not.
While walking past a fisherman relaxing happily by a tree, LN (my professor) decided to spark a conversation with him. Here’s the conversation the two shared:
LN: Excuse me sir, but why are you not out fishing? (It was noon on a Wednesday)
Fisherman: Well, I was out yesterday where I caught enough for my family, the neighbors and also some for today.
LN: I don’t understand… why don’t you go out today so you can have more for tomorrow and the day after? Perhaps then you can trade it and make more money.
Fisherman: … and?
LN: Then, overtime you will have more and more money to buy better fishing equipment so you can fish more and make more and more money!
Fisherman: … and?
LN: Then you can relax all day!
Fisherman: Well, what do you think I am doing right now?!
Life is not about acquiring more and more, at least not for those who truly understand happiness. The fisherman was perfectly content with providing for his family and not living a superfluous lifestyle. And if you’re still not convinced, look at Ari Gold… it took him to have it all to realize that all he truly needed/wanted was the love of his wife and family.
Find that one important thing and forget all else.