The Mexican Fisherman

This is one of my favourite short stories by Ajahn Brahm. It Highlights to me about people sacrificing family and friendship for work at what sometimes can be a large cost.

The Mexican fisherman In a quiet Mexican fishing village, an American on vacation was watching a local fisherman unload his morning catch. The American, a successful professor at a prestigious US business school, couldn’t resist giving the Mexican fisherman a little bit of free advice. ‘Hey!’ began the American. ‘Why are you finishing so early?’ ‘Since I have caught enough fish, Señor,’ replied the genial Mexican, ‘enough to feed my family and a little extra to sell. Now I will take some lunch with my wife and, after a little siesta in the afternoon, I will play with my children. Then, after dinner, I will go to the cantina, drink a little tequila and play some guitar with my friends. It is enough for me, Señor.’ ‘Listen to me, my friend,’ said the business professor. ‘

If you stay out at sea until late afternoon, you will easily catch twice as much fish. You can sell the extra, save up the money, and in six months, maybe nine, you’ll be able to buy a bigger and better boat and hire some crew. Then you’ll be able to catch four times as many fish. Think of the extra money you will make! In another year or two, you will have the capital to buy a second fishing boat and hire another crew. If you follow this business plan, in six or seven years you will be the proud owner of a large fishing fleet. Just imagine that! Then you should move your head office to Mexico City, or even to LA. After only three or four years in LA, you float your company on the stockmarket giving yourself, as CEO, a generous salary package with substantial share options. In a few more years — listen to this! — you initiate a company share buy-back scheme, which will make you a multi-millionaire! Guaranteed! I’m a well-known professor at a US business school. I know these things.’

The Mexican fisherman listened thoughtfully at what the animated American had to say. When the professor had finished, the Mexican asked him, ‘But, Señor Professor, what will I do with so many millions of dollars?’ Surprisingly, the American professor hadn’t thought the business plan through that far. So he quickly figured out what a person would do with millions of dollars. ‘Amigo! With all that dough, you can retire. Yeah! Retire for life. You can buy a little villa in a picturesque fishing village like this one, and purchase a small boat for going fishing in the morning. You can have lunch with your wife every day, and a siesta afterwards with nothing to worry you. In the afternoon you can spend quality time with your kids and, after dinner in the evening, play guitar with your friends in the cantina, drinking tequila. Yeah, with all that money, my friend, you can retire and take it easy.’

‘But, Señor Professor, I do all that already.’ Why do we believe that we have to work so hard and get rich first, before we can find contentment?

Ajahn Brahm – Opening the Door to Of Your Heart 

My Values

Recently I went to a goal setting workshop, it was run by Lululemon and centred around goals that reflect my values.

I discovered a few things about myself and others that I choose to surround myself with, (I use the word ‘choose’ purposely).

DSC_0394

My first value is simplicity, I like to keep things as simple as possible,

having as few possessions as possible, I don’t need every gadget in the kitchen or millions of pots nor every electronic gadget that measures every facet in my life.

I believe we become so accustomed to accumulating endless things that we lose the vision and purpose of what our original intention was.  My purpose is to spend as much quality time with my family, friends and self. Does buying new clothes every weekend fit into that vision?

My second value was about adventure, I feel its in my blood. I have always loved adventure and travel, something I believe came from my mother.  I love the thrill of exploring new places off the beaten track or just exploring known places in more depth. Adventure doesn’t always need to be far, foreign or frightful. Adventure can be taking Poppy for a visit to a new dog park or even just trying a new breakfast spot.

Finally, my third value was about friendships. I value my friends a great deal, they have been there for me, inspire me and certainly entertain me! I love having a wide breadth of friends from different places – CrossFit, work, family friends, old friends etc. They certainly keep life interesting and open you up to new things.

When I put them together I get my vision and goals, but they’ll be for another day.

What things do you value?

Beginning a journey of mindfulness

Sometimes when you put of things, they catch up to you. I have realised over the last few weeks some things need to change.

  • I need to start becoming more aware of what’s around me & enjoying what I am doing in that moment. Rather than thinking about past events or future ones
  • I need to start taking care of myself mentally, so that I don’t let bumps in the road knock me down too much.
    • These little bumps in the road would often cause larger chain events and became a self-perpetuating downward spiral that didn’t lead to anywhere happy
  • I need to take care of myself physically. I am quite an active person, I play sports 4-5 times a week and tend to do lots of walking during the day. I don’t eat junk food, however I do enjoy the occasional (or not so occasional sometimes) chocolate. However I have put on too much weight, which needs to get moved. The overeating isn’t due to being hungry, I have come to realise its triggered by stressful situations, which maybe uncertainty, time limitations, isolation or just being on the road.

To work through these I’m doing small bits at a time, I’ve already started adjusting my exercise to activities that I will enjoy more such as Yoga, dodgeball, hockey & I have recently started running again.

To work through stress and focussing on what is happening at the moment I have begun a program called Headspace, which is an online program where there are meditation sessions for 10+ minutes that are very simple to follow. The part I like is that they are guided. Even if you have never done it before all you need is 10 minutes and some device to play it on (Laptop, iPhone, iPad).

Taken on Hawai'i Big Island
Taken on Hawaii’s Big Island

Meditation has been shown in studies to help with depression, anxiety and stress , and if done in conjunction with a health professional it has allowed some people to come of medication in shorter periods of time than the would have otherwise done. The best part is, you can do it anywhere. No special clothes or equipment to buy, just sit in your pyjamas in the lounge if you want.

I have certainly begun noticing the benefits in the short time I have been doing it (just over a week now). My sleep is a lot better as I am not as restless during the night and I now can fall asleep very quickly. Previously it would often take me 20-30 minutes to fall asleep.

There are different short series of mediation available for when you are cooking, walking, cycling, eating or even getting to sleep (which is my favourite). Its something I recommend everybody should at least try, and they offer 10 days free anyway. Check it out https://www.headspace.com .

I will post more about my journey as time goes on 🙂

Have you used Headspace? How has it helped you?

Edu-TED

TedTalks

I have always been a big fan of TedTalks , I love the volume of incredible information as one of the most positive things that technology has brought to the world.

Ted-Ed

It turns out that a year or two ago Ted Talks expanded this to Ted-Ed, these talks are based for teachers and students in putting across information for many topics in your class. The list is fairly limited at the moment. However like anything the more we talk about it the more people with publish to it.

The content is for primary through to tertiary students and features animations in addition to talks (normal TED videos aren’t animations).

Another little perk of TED-Ed is that you can create lesson plans including quizzes and notes from any content on YouTube, TED Talks and TED ed. This is a really nice way of creating basic interactive lessons.

How does this differ from YouTube?

Many of the videos are hosted through YouTube, however many of the videos are done by leaders in certain fields any have to be recommended and go through a panel before they can talk. We all know the quality ‘control’ on YouTube, with that said there is a lot of amazing information on YouTube. Ted talks is also what peer-reviewed journals are to Wikipedia.

I hope at a minimum this gives you another source for information and maybe inspiration when you’re looking for big ideas, you may just stumble across someone who shares your vision.

 

Things to never do

I did an activity with some of my students in the year 3/4 class about things never to do, it was based on the book Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan.

The book is thought-provoking and allows your mind to wander. In any case, here are a list of 10 things that I think you should never do:

  1. Never let a good strawberry go to waste, or any other berry for that matter
  2. Never listen to others when they tell you that you can’t do something
  3. Never let a day go without laughing
  4. Never go to bed angry
  5. Never live beyond your means
  6. Never give 99%
  7. Never lose faith
  8. Never stop listening to your heart
  9. Never let anyone make you feel alone
  10. Never lose that Spark

Untitled

The people you meet

I was recently on a flight to Perth, myself I am not normally one to talk to strangers, even on flights I am usually that person who plugs in their headphones and stares out the window. I guess somewhat in a conversation avoidance stance.
This time was different, I was lucky enough to get an exit row seat, as soon as I sat down I was greeted by an older gentleman seated next to me.

We struck up a conversation about the plane and some of the quirks of travel such as missing flights, not speaking English in foreign countries. This man seemed well versed in this almost art of travel and there was seemingly something else there. Upon delving a bit further, it turns out this man had travelled to a lot of countries far off the beaten track, many Arab countries I cannot even spell and  travels to the southern states in the USA very regularly.

It turns out this man, was a missionary from the Christian churches, he had begun his line of work when he was 20 as it was his calling to help and inspire others. He mentioned that he received inspiration one night, almost a gift from god, in the way of lyrics for a song. Not being a musical man he started writing the lyrics on a page based in the bible. It turns out this song became one of the top 50 Christian songs of all time and has featured in many movies. This is the only song he has written and has paid for much of his recent work.

Now by no stretch am I am religious person, for that point I am not even quite sure what I believe or even if what I do aligns with any major religion. The man was not a bible basher that I had begun to naively stereotype, but quite the opposite. He made no reference to his religion apart from the fact it was a Christian song and his work is based from churches.

This experience makes me wonder about my own beliefs and whether they have been shaped by my naivety towards religion and it’s followers.

But more to the point you can often achieve something which you didn’t think you were made for. In this mans 30’s would he ever of beloved he could write one song and become a top 50 of all time? If not then would it have happened? I am not even sure this is about optimism as much as being about open to new experiences and telling yourself what you can and can’t do. This man was truly an inspiration to me for the work he does with help other people selflessly.

 

EDIT: The gentleman’s name is Les Garrett, additionally he is a published author and many of his songs are on YouTube – Les Garrett – This is the Day.

 

 

Dare to Dream

What makes you imagine and wonder?

So often we are told to take a break and just dare to dream a bit, whether it is to escape our busy lives, busy work or study. But as much as it is nice to stop, what happens when we do stop?

I often still find myself thinking about the things that I am not trying to think of, funny how the mind operates isn’t it. But from time to time you find something that just intrigues you or allows you to dream. Even without you realising it.

What is that thing for you? For me it is nature and the little intricacies that are in it. Like the picture below, I love looking at how the light falls of the leaves of the large tree on to the leaves of the little sprouting branch that is just starting to find its way up into the world. What defines when a branch will start going?

I believe this branch is a lot like parts out our lives. what makes you decide when to break off from the rest and do your own thing?

Dare to dream.

Cruden Farm, Victoria, Australia
Cruden Farm, Victoria, Australia