Life In A Fish Bowl….

We are only limited by our decisions about our environment...

It was Ed Bartell, who taught me an important lesson in life, as Ed owned a small  tropical fish shop and as a youth as most do I enjoyed tropical fish and aquariums.  While I didn’t know him well, he however appeared to be a retiree just looking for something to pass his time and keep a connection to people.  However, it was on one day that I was visiting him with my mother to pick up supplies when I noticed a large fish in an equally and unusually large tank.  When I asked Ed about this, he said fish would typically grow in reference to the size of the tank which the fish lived.

Not only was this interesting to me, it also made sense as the larger the tank, the more over all “resources” would be available for the fish, as keep in mind unlike the sea of air we live in.  The Aquarium is a (limited) sea of liquid in a ocean of air meaning the amount of available oxygenated environment was limited.  Additionally, because of this limitation, there is also a trickle-down effect which happens too because of this. Here other variables such as light as well as the amount of food also disperse in a similar ratio to the environment.

This intrigued me as if one understood the things which limited them; they then would have a chance to change those items to their benefit.  Therefore removing the restrictions which restricted them, an opportunity the fish contained in his liquid world doesn’t have.  However for us human animals, even given this opportunity and understanding we seem to miss out on taking advantage of this cognitive ability.

We seem to stay put in the same area where we are raised even though like the fish bowl there may not be the opportunities for employment there by limiting our growth. Education too, as many times we fear venturing away from the nest to educate ourselves be it formal as in university, or informal as traveling to far off lands to experience a new culture.  Instead many of our norms keep us planted much like the fish in the bowl, where we attempt employ and social programs if I can borrow from a popular cliché as “we attempt to bring the mountain to Mohammed” rather than “bringing Mohammed to the mountain“.  As the later is far more efficient than the prior when it comes to investment and return…

About Joseph Campbell

As a strong believer in the fact that "people work for people", it has been a life driver to better to understand the complexities of the various aspects which drive efficiency within this axiom, especially the concepts of leadership. Supporting this, I have been fortunate enough to having experienced this as leader on a global basis over the last decade and half. During this time it has been clear there are three core drivers being Life, Leadership and Economics.
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