Some of you may know that I have just returned from an extended break overseas. And it’s amazing how the complete removal out of your everyday routine can bring a little clarity – it allows you that rare gift of re-evaluating your values and the way you want to live your life. I worry about the current trend of constantly ‘pushing’ ourselves to succeed – to relentlessly stretch our boundaries, our comfort zone and the constant need to strive and reach those ever-accumulating goals. There is no doubt about it, compared to ten years ago we are all leading extremely busy lives and this constant drive for so-called “success” can leave us exhausted, unbalanced, stressed and unsatisfied. People measure success differently and I wonder if it is time to reappraise what a successful life looks like for you? Does it mean working long hours, being constantly connected to social media, continually ‘driving’ yourself at your career, at the gym, in your social circles or within business networks? Or does it mean allowing yourself time to stop, rest, contemplate and enjoy long slow meals and conversations with family and friends? Believe it not, in the countries I walked through*, slow food and slow living was a part of everyday life and culture. Everyone had the time to stop and talk, prepare and share slow cooked meals and be present with whomever they were with. Life appeared so much simpler, so much richer, so much happier and with much less stress.
As we all look at defining (or re-defining) our idea of a successful life I want to share with you a story I spotted at a tiny restaurant in Croatia…
There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small coastal village. As he sat he saw a fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite a few big fish. The business was impressed and asked the fisherman: “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?” The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.” “Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished. “This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said. The businessman then asked, “So what do you do for the rest of the day?” “Well, usually I wake early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my friends in the village for a drink – we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.” The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman “I am a PhD in business management. I could help you become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will move out of this village and to the capital, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.” The fisherman continues, “And after that?” The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.” The fisherman asks, “And after that?” The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with your kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your friends for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”
Because it’s Not a Rehearsal
*David (hubby) and I have just completed the European Peace Walk (EPW), a 500km walk through Hungary, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and into Italy. The EPW is just in its 3rd year and was officially created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War 1. The route transverses some of the most affected areas of both World Wars as well as follows the Iron Curtain ( a defining feature of the Cold War). To check out our journey head on over to our Life in the Slow Lane page and scroll through our days
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