What can the parable of two fishermen teach you about productivity and success? Our brave founder and editor David Andrew Wiebe enlightens us.

This post originally appeared on David Andrew Wiebe. There are no alterations except to enhance clarity, cite more resources, or offer more up-to-date information.

One fisherman brings one fishing rod to the pond. What he lacks in gear, he makes up for in footwork. While his process is linear, it’s systematic. If his hook gets caught in the weeds, he can focus on unhooking it. If his line backlashes, he can concentrate on untangling the mess. If a fish bites, he can fully engage in the battle, and with focus, land the fish. He can relax, enjoy the sights, and go home happy.

Another fisherman brings eight rods to the pond. With that much power, he doesn’t need footwork. He can cast out with each of his eight rods and wait for the fish to come to him. What he doesn’t know, because he’s got too many rods to manage, is that three of his hooks are caught in the weeds, two reels have backlashed, one fish made off with the bait on one of his hooks, and one fish is slowly but surely dragging one of his rods into the pond while he attempts to engage in the battle ensuing on the end of his final rod. He can’t relax or enjoy the sights because he’s always got fires to put out. He can rarely dedicate enough focus to one rod to even land a fish. He goes home stressed out and confused. “Why can’t I land a fish when I’ve got all the gear and skill in the world?”

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