30 Nov A leader choses the journey not the destination
There is an old story that has become a joke and it goes like this.
Once upon a time there was a huge lake. And in the middle of it there was a rich man with his huge boat having a holiday. As he watched the shore with his binoculars he noticed a fisherman.
The fisherman slept all day under the shadow of a big tree. He worked half a day, got into the lake up to his knees and with his magical technique he caught a big fish with his bear hands. The fish was big enough to feed his wife and 2 small kids for the whole day.
The rich man, fascinated by the man’s fishing skills and daily ritual, decided to go and talk to him.
‘Hello, my friend’, greeted he greeted the fisherman and continued, ‘I’ve been watching you for a week now from my boat in the middle of the lake and I can tell you that you have amazing skills in fishing. So I was wondering why you don’t catch more fish instead of just one a day.’
‘Why should I do this?’ replied the fisherman.
‘First to bring more food to your family and secondly to sell them in the market. With your skills you will fast make enough money to buy a small boat and you will go further in the lake to get bigger and more fish. This will give you better sales in the market and then you will buy more fishing boats to get more fish. Which will give you the opportunity to open a store or to become a vendor to small wholesalers. In that way you will make enough profit to get a bigger house, a better life, excellent schooling for your kids, and numerous other benefits.’, the rich man said.
‘And why should I do that?’ replied the fisherman displaying total indifference for the rich man’s story.
Then the rich man said ‘Can you see this huge yacht in the middle of the lake? This is mine. I started like you and now I have this huge boat where I can sit all day relaxing enjoying my holiday.’
The fisherman looked at him and replied ‘So what? I am also sitting here, relaxing as I were on a holiday!’
When I heard this story, it was obvious to me that the fisherman was right. Why bother doing anything when I can have it effortlessly? What was the real difference between the rich man and the fisherman? As I was growing I realised the hidden truth behind that joke.
It’s not about being rich and having a huge boat in the middle of a lake. Money is a side effect that may come or not. And it’s not even about sitting around doing nothing more than what you need to survive, avoiding doing anything in fear that it might not be worth it.
It’s about the journey.
It’s about taking the decision to move towards the unknown and lead yourself- and eventually others- to the great adventure called life. To experience, to get that knowledge, to learn, to feel the pain and disappointment of failures and the fulfilment and happiness of every success. To conquer, to love, to live your life passionately, blood pumping in your veins.
It’s about the people you will meet on the way, the friends you will make, those you will lose and grieve and those who will stand on your side when you cry and when you laugh. The jobs you will change, the languages you will learn, the places you will live, the countries you will see, the cultures you will embrace and every unexpected thing that will happen in your trip.
It’s about the journey that will make you who you are.
The point is not whether you end up fisherman or rich man. The point is to decide to take the journey and seek no title or label to stick on you.
And if you want to be a leader and build your own culture you have to take that decision.
I have taken it.
Will you follow?