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Island Wisdom

Are you willing to dare to make some changes?

The Story of the Caribbean Fisherman

In the islands they tell the story of the American who was traveling through


the Caribbean on business. On one of his stops he walked along the beach one afternoon just in time to see one of the natives pull his small boat up along a little wooden pier, pull the catch of the day lazily into the bow, and then crawl into a nearby hammock to rest a while.

“What do you do around here all day?’ The American asked him.
“Well” the native said, “first I catch my fish, the I take a nap on the beach here in my hammock, then I take the fish home so my wife can cook it for supper. After supper, I come back to the beach to drink some rum and play my guitar with my friends till the sun goes down. Then I go home and go to bed.”

“But that doesn’t make you any money,” the American said, “If you fished longer every day, you could catch more fish and sell them.”

“My boat is not big enough to carry many more fish,” the native said.

“But that’s the point,” the American explained. “If you catch enough fish to sell some of them, you can save your money and buy a bigger boat.”

The American was getting excited now. “And pretty soon,” he plunged on “you will be able to buy a fleet of boats and hire crews to do the fishing and you can sell your fish everywhere!”

The native didn’t say a word.

“Then. The American continued triumphantly, “you will be able to take a vacation when you want to, enjoy this beautiful island, eat well, and spend time with your friends every day of your life.”

The native looked up at the American and said, a bit incredulously: “That’s what I do now.”

Linda: I’m such a romantic that I add another piece to the story. I can’t help but imagine that the fisherman was being tactful to leave out the X-rated part so he wouldn’t embarrass the businessman. I believe that some nights he does drink rum and make music with his buddies, but that on other nights, there is this is a sweet addition. I imagine that he comes home to prepare his fresh catch with his wife. When they complete their delicious meal, they go for a stroll on the beach walking hand-in-hand, and then stop to observe the sunset. When he looks into his wife’s face, he catches her wink and they scurry home to bed. Because he hasn’t given his best energies to work, there is plenty of vitality to enjoy sensuous love making and they fall asleep with the face of satisfied desire. Now there’s a fine and complete definition of success.

We can learn a great deal from the simple Caribbean fisherman who lives a life with minimal stress and does not put off enjoying his life for some imagined future reward. Of course there is some merit in delayed gratification. There are degrees to be learned, houses to be purchased, and retirement accounts to be filled, but if we can get it in the habit of putting off living fully the life we want for the expected future payoffs, we will be missing gratification in the present.

Although moving to a Caribbean island to radically change our life-style, for most of us is not an option, we can make small but important changes to slow our life down to enjoy the precious present moment where life is going on. There are choices that can be made for instance when we are negotiating terms of employment to write into our contract more vacation time rather than a bigger salary. We may refuse the promotion that would require a longer commute or relocating away from our beloved friendship network. We might draw firmer boundaries around not checking email before and after work hours and take a full lunch break rather than working at our desk while eating. We could make a determined effort to leave work at work and transition to personal time on a regular basis. And we would be certain to use all of our vacation days. There are precious and profound lessons in the story if we look deeply into our own experience to contrast our life with that of the fisherman. What are you learning from the story of the Caribbean fisherman that could add to the enjoyment and well-being of your life?


Are you willing to dare to make some changes?Linda and Charlie Bloom are excited to announce the release of their third book, Happily Ever After . . . and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams.

Picture1Praise for Happily Ever After:

“Love experts Linda and Charlie shine a bright light, busting the most common myths about relationships. Using real-life examples, they skillfully, provide effective strategies and tools to create and grow a deeply loving and fulfilling long-term connection.” – Arielle Ford, author of Turn You Mate into Your Soulmate

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Island Wisdom


Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW are considered experts in the field of relationships. They have been married since 1972. They have both been trained as seminar leaders, therapists and relationship counselors and have been working with individuals, couples, and groups since 1975. They have been featured presenters at numerous conferences, universities, and institutions of learning throughout the country and overseas as well. They have appeared on over two hundred radio and TV programs. Linda and Charlie are co-authors of the widely acclaimed books: 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last (over 100,000 copies sold) Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love, and Happily Ever After...and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams. The Blooms are excited to announce the release of their fourth book, That Which Doesn't Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places. They live in Santa Cruz, California, near their two children and three grandchildren. To view our upcoming events and to sign up for our free newsletter, visit our website at:

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APA Reference
Bloom, L. (2016). Island Wisdom. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Aug 2016
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