Phrasal verb: think over

  1. think something over
    Transitive, Intransitive, Separable
    Meaning: to consider
    Example: That’s a tough question.  Can I have a few minutes to think it over?

One of my favorite stories for you to think over:
(Taken from “The 4-hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss)

An American businessman took a vacation to a small coastal Mexican village on doctor’s orders.  Unable to sleep after an *urgent phone call from the office the first morning, he walked out to the pier to *clear his head.  A small boat with just one fisherman had docked, and inside the boat were several large yellow fin tuna.  The American *complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American asked.
“Only a little while,” the Mexican replied in surprisingly good English.
“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the American then asked.
“I have enough to support my family and give a few to friends,” the Mexican said as he put them into a basket.
“But, what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican looked up and smiled.  “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a nap with my wife, Julia, and *stroll into the village each evening, where I *sip wine and play guitar with my friends.  I have a full and busy life, sir.”

The American laughed and stood tall.  “Sir, I’m a Harvard MBA and can help you.  You should spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat.  In no time, you could buy several boats.  Eventually, you will have a fleet of fishing boats.”

He continued, “Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own cannery.  You would control the product, processing, and distribution.  You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village of course, and move to Mexico City, then to Los Angeles, and eventually to New York City, where you could run your expanding enterprise with proper management.”

The Mexican fisherman thought it over for a moment and said, “But señor, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15-20 years, 25 *tops.”

“But what then, sir?”

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part.  When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich.  You would make millions.”

“Millions, sir?  Then what?”

“Then you would retire and move to a small coastal fishing village, where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your friends…”

Some vocabulary & expressions:
urgent (adj): very important, requiring immediate attention
clear his head: to think and organize one’s thoughts
compliment (verb/noun): to praise / a statement of praise
stroll (verb): to walk leisurely
sip (verb): to drink slowly in small amounts
tops (expression usually following an amount): no more than that amount  (ex. I want to own my own house by the time I am 30, 35 tops.)

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