A New Year’s resolution that makes sense

Where do I get ideas for this column? Normally, from reliable medical sources. But this New Year’s resolution comes from The Daily Reckoning, a financial publication. Its advice is sound for all of us as we start 2014. Its topic is ‘The Parable of Taganga’.

A U.S. investment adviser was visiting a small fishing village in Columbia called Taganga. As he strolled along the pier, a fisherman appeared with his daily catch. The basket contained four tilapia.

When the American was told the fish had been caught quickly he said, “So why didn’t you catch more fish?” The fisherman replied, “This is all I need to feed my family.”

So the American asked, “How do you spend the rest of the day?” The Columbian answered, “I have a siesta with my wife, play with my children, talk with friends, drink a little wine or sing with my amigos. It’s a good life.”

The American then suggested, “You could fish longer, sell the fish and with more money, buy another boat and soon have your own fleet of ships. Eventually you cut out the middleman and sell straight to the distributor. You could become so successful you’d end up in New York City running your tilapia empire, have a public stock offering and become filthy rich”

“How long would this take?” the fisherman asked.

“Maybe 25 years,” the American replied.

“But what would I do then?” the Columbian asked.

The Investment advisor replied, “This is the best part. You could retire, move to this quaint fishing village. Then you could fish, enjoy siestas with your wife, play with your children, sip wine and sing with your amigos.”

As we enter 2014 it’s ironic that millions of North Americans, who hate their jobs, try to work hard all their lives hoping that at some time they too can lie on a beach in Florida or some other beautiful location like Taganga. Some make it to that beach, but there are millions who never do.

Nor can many decide to pack their bags, say “To hell” with what they’re doing, and start fishing in Taganga. So what can be done to make 2014 a more relaxing year without such a dramatic change of scenery?

Over the years I’ve seen innumerable patients who needed to spend a few days with a Columbian fisherman. Those who have never learned to live within their means or realize it’s possible to be happy with less. That it is not necessary to buy every new gismo that comes on the market. Yet hardly a day goes by without the temptation to open their wallets and go further into debt.

During 2014 others will not learn to separate the possible from the impossible with even a trainload of psychiatrists to help them. Some of my patients had an incompetent boss who should never have been promoted. Unfortunately, unless they won the lottery, there was no way to tell the boss to go to hell and quit.

Similarly if your wife has suddenly run away with your best friend, you need more than a winning lottery ticket as a solution. I’ve always believed that Stalin, who was never a role model, had at least one good suggestion when he remarked, “You have to live with the devil until you reach the end of the bridge.”

We must all accept and live with a problem until the right solution comes along and not, in the meantime, kill ourselves with stress.

Henry David Thoreau was right when he wrote, ‘Most men live lives of quiet desperation.” It’s highly unlikely that the desperation of many will diminish in 2014. Today, people can’t escape the constant pressure of new ideas, behaviours and technology.

But, thank Lady Luck that you live in this country. The Happy Planet Index reports that the island of Vanuata in the Pacific is the happiest place on earth, Germany, the most stressful and Mexico the least.

Remember, some stress is good. Animals in the jungle would not last the night without it. My best wishes for a healthy and less stressful 2014.

See the web site www.docgiff.com. For comments info@docgiff.com.

Just Posted

Highland Games brings Scotland to Red Deer

71st annual event celebrates Scottish culture and heritage

Red Deer RCMP arrest man with imitation firearm

Man pointed firearm at several staff members before fleeing to a nearby restaurant

WATCH: Red Deer commemorates National Indigenous Peoples Day

Citizens take part in activities throughout the week

Red Deer RCMP investigate armed robbery at pharmacy

Suspect wielded a handgun, demanding staff member to open the safe

WATCH: Loads of summer events await Central Albertans

From CentreFest to Westerner Days, there will much to explore this season

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

COC session vote approves Calgary as potential host for 2026 Olympics

Scott Hutcheson, chair of Calgary’s Olympic bid corporation — called vote a positive step forward

Breaking: SuperNet provider Axia cannot guarantee continued service

Alberta’s health, schools, libraries, municipal governments at risk from delayed bidding

Ponoka County optimistic though cautious about tire recycling situation

New heavy-duty shredder on site, county hopeful this is a final solution

Research paper states low income earners hit hardest by dairy supply management

Canada’s poorest spend more of annual income on food staples than higher income earners

Sylvan Lake Legion honours the memory of past president

A new podium at the Legion was dedicated to Steve Dills at a recent meeting

After World Cup lineup photographed, England urges media to help team

Now the England camp is actually asking media: Are you with us or against us?

MISSING: Police hoping to locate man reported missing

Ponoka RCMP looking to public to help find Joseph Desjarlais

Most Read