The Japanese have always loved fresh fish. But the waters close to Japan have not held many fish for decades. So the fishermen had to go further out to sea to catch their supply of fish, the fishing boats got bigger and bigger. The farther the fishermen went, the longer it took to bring in the fish. If the return trip took more than a few days, the fish were not fresh and they lost their fresh taste.

To solve this problem, fishing companies installed freezers on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer. However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen and they did not like frozen fish.

Also, the frozen fish brought a lower price. So fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, fin to fin. After a little thrashing around, the fish stopped moving. They were tired and dull, but alive. Unfortunately, the Japanese could still taste the difference; because the fish did not move for days, they lost their fresh-fish taste. The Japanese preferred the lively taste of fresh fish, not sluggish fish.

So how did Japanese fishing companies solve this problem? How do they get fresh-tasting fish to Japan?  To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies added a small shark to the tanks that the fish were kept in. The shark of course eats a few fish, but most of the fish arrive in a very lively state due to the fact that the fish are challenged.

Moral of the story:

Some of us are also living like fish that have been caught, we give in too easily, and we are not challenged. Some of us could use a shark in our life. Consider new challenges and problems in your life as a shark – the challenges and problems can keep us motivated and moving forward.   Without challenges we can become complacent, find life boring, and become inactive.

Challenges in our lives can keep us moving forward. As the quote goes, “When we long for life without difficulties, be reminded that oaks grow strong in contrary winds, and diamonds are made under pressure.’’

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