One of many biggest advantages of touring, or higher but, of residing in a distinct nation, is to have the ability to see how others reside their lives and to match it with how we reside ours. If we’re open to it, we are able to achieve perspective and perception, not solely into the human situation usually, however extra immediately, into our personal situation.
I am going to offer you an instance.
Whereas on a highway journey by way of Mexico for nearly a 12 months, I observed repeatedly that, particularly within the poorer villages, nearly all of the Mexicans I noticed in interactions with one another seemed to be completely satisfied. There was, because the French name it, a joie de vie, or “pleasure of life,” and a lightness to their angle. Now that I’ve settled down right here in Mexico to run Best Mexico Movers, when our group unloads our purchasers’ family items, I virtually all the time see quite a lot of joking and spirited cooperation among the many group members. A shopper even pointed this out to me, utilizing one other French phrase, esprit de corp, or a spirited cooperation.
I’ve observed that, in contrast with the US, the employees / laborers all over the place right here in Mexico joke and child one another quite a bit. When strolling previous a development web site, it’s not uncommon in any approach to hear a number of of the employees singing (loudly) together with the radio. You’ll see this spirit in plenty of locations, whether or not encountering Mexicans right here of their little shops, or when strolling their youngsters to high school. They appear to be genuinely content material and socially linked. Not the faux, perfunctory “how are you / I actually do not care” sort of socially linked, however the “genuinely completely satisfied, joking with one another, greeting one another warmly as if the opposite particular person mattered” socially linked. On
some stage, this even extends to finish strangers, for instance, me. After I stroll by way of some village the place nobody is aware of me, I virtually all the time obtain acknowledgements, heat smiles and several other situations of “buenos dias” or “buenas tardes”.
However from my typical North of the Border perspective, this made no sense. From how I used to be used to it, these individuals lived in tiny little homes and had little or no in the best way of fabric items. So would not it naturally observe that their relative materials poverty would make them comparatively depressing? Poor = sad, proper?
However what I used to be seeing with my very own eyes advised me the alternative.
The state of affairs was so totally different from what I anticipated that I couldn’t assist however examine what I noticed in these areas in Mexico with what I noticed after I was in a lot wealthier, giant First World cities, reminiscent of New York Metropolis, Chicago, or Tokyo. In these locations, I might typically see individuals with strained appears on their faces, most definitely over-scheduled and late, hurrying from one place to a different, seemingly not very completely satisfied and definitely not very relaxed. After they encountered one another on the street, their concern was to not say “good day” and spend a while inquiring about one another’s kinfolk, however quite to determine a approach to get previous the opposite particular person, and to take action as shortly as doable. The opposite particular person was seen extra as an impediment than as a human being.
Might a few of this be as a result of I used to be spending quite a lot of my time in Mexico within the extra
rural, extra conventional areas? Maybe, however that didn’t account for all of it. There was an total a cultural distinction as nicely.
Evaluating the attitudes of what I noticed in Mexico to what I noticed within the US jogged my memory of the Spanish phrase that the individuals south of the US border use for “to fret about”, which is “preocuparse,” and which appears to me to come back from the basis of “to be preoccupied.” In our Developed World quest for materials items, most pronounced within the bigger cities, have we traded a portion of our free time and with it, a few of our humanity, in alternate for the extra “nostril to the grindstone” exercise of buying materials items? In fact, we have now. However within the discount, have we made ourselves extra preoccupied / anxious / sad? And what’s the goal of working for all these materials items, anyway? Is not the target of buying extra materials items to be happier?
An economist could argue that the individuals in these little, poorer villages had been “freeloading” off of the developments made by these preoccupied First World individuals with their extra hurried, self-important lives and their grim dedication, which is true. People who find themselves not working as significantly and as a substitute, are extra light-heartedly having fun with one another’s firm will not be growing cures for ailments, and even figuring
out the right way to have clear water and sufficient meals to eat, and so forth., with out which nobody can be very completely satisfied. And also you, too, could also be personally much less completely satisfied when your light-hearted, easy-going, singing plumber exhibits up two hours late to repair your drain as a result of he obtained distracted when speaking with a pal. So there are trade-offs. We simply have to grasp the place the trade-offs are after which know the place to make these trade-offs.
Right here’s what I see because the trade-off: time not centered on earning profits (what I’ll name “free time”) vs. materials success. For conceptual readability, we are able to view it as a continuum, with extra free time on one finish of the continuum and extra materials success on the opposite. The extra free time you have got, all different issues being equal, the much less materials items you’ll purchase. The extra materials items you purchase, the extra free time you had to surrender with a view to purchase them.
We don’t assume quite a bit about this continuum, until, on account of being abroad or place, you see individuals at a considerably totally different place on the continuum
than the place you’re. For me, this has been one of many advantages of residing in Mexico. As I noticed these individuals who selected a distinct place on this continuum than my buddies and me north of the border, it made sense to ask myself, “The place is one of the best place on this continuum for me?”
Wouldn’t it make sense so that you can ask your self one of the best place on this continuum for you as nicely?
This all jogs my memory of a parable I used to be advised greater than 30 years in the past. (I have a tendency to recollect a majority of these issues after which apply them when it’s most applicable.).
The story begins with an funding banker on a trip in Mexico who, after taking his ulcer drugs, jamming down a hurried breakfast he didn’t take pleasure in and making a number of tense cellphone calls to the workplace very early within the morning, on the recommendation of his physician, uncharacteristically took a stroll down the seashore from his $600 per evening resort room. There, he comes throughout a poor Mexican fishing village the place he notices a specific fisherman who had are available hours earlier than the others however had thrice as many fish, and who was leaving his boat to go house. Being naturally inquisitive, the funding banker stopped the fisherman and requested him how he caught so many extra fish than the opposite fishermen.
“I’ve a secret approach, señor, that I take advantage of to catch plenty of fish simply.”
The funding banker was intrigued, however he was additionally perplexed. “OK. So, if you happen to can catch so many extra fish so simply, why do not you return out for a second or third run? Then, you would deliver again much more.”
“I might quite come house early.”
Taking a beat to digest the reply he simply heard, much more confused and a bit incredulous, the funding banker requested, virtually shouting, “Nicely, what on this planet do you do once you come house early?”
Discovering the funding banker to be a bit disagreeable and intense, however nonetheless desirous to be well mannered, very calmly, the fisherman replied, “I could be with my children. Later, after I’ve an enormous lunch with my household, I take a nap and have sufficient time to walk alongside the seashore with my spouse. If I made a number of journeys again out to fish, I would not have the ability to do this.”
The funding banker was aghast and a bit appalled that the fisherman was leaving a lot potential revenue on the desk. Composing himself, as if speaking to a baby who simply didn’t “get it”, he mentioned, “Pay attention. This is what we’ll do. You inform me the approach. I’ll rent a bunch of high-end IP attorneys to get a patent with the unique rights. If anybody infringes on our patent, we’ll sue the pants off them! Then, I am going to go to New York to lift some funding capital, we’ll purchase a fleet of boats, prepare the crews, arrange distribution worldwide, go public, and money out for a fortune!”
“How lengthy would this take and now a lot time would I have to work?”
“I suppose it will take 5 – 6 years and you’ll work seven days per week, 12 hours
per day. However after that, you may be wealthy!”
“And after I’m wealthy, what would I do then, señor?”
“Nicely, with all that cash, you’ll come house early and be along with your children. Later, after you have got an enormous lunch along with your loved ones, you’ll be able to take a nap and have sufficient time to walk alongside the seashore along with your spouse.”
Now that I’ve seen this in particular person (and I’m getting older), this story means much more to me.