Mar 5, 2021 in Business Coaching

Fish Philosophy

A magical book worth a read to bring transformation in our lives.

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          Fish Philosophy

A magical pill to bring transformational changes in your life, business, and relationships. What a remarkable way to boost morale and improve team results. If you are wondering what all this fuss is about... I am referring to this worldwide concept of ‘fish philosophy’ used in the corporate world; however, I believe it's simple and can transform our daily lives too. ‘Fish’ written by Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen- the US business bestseller is dedicated to millions of workers who relish a playful, productive atmosphere at work. An engaging, attentive attitude leads to more energy, enthusiasm, productivity, and creativity.

Fish philosophy video caught my eye while searching for a Toastmaster’s club presentation. It’s not about telling someone how to do their job but being able to discover the fish philosophy for themselves. The hustle-bustle, flying fish in the air, one-handed catch of huge fish, workers repeating loudly in unison…the whole atmosphere was ecstatic and mind-blowing. How could they make the fish market and a boring job like selling fish so interesting? It was a typical scene at the world-famous Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle. As the book quotes,” When we choose to love the work we do, we can catch the limit of happiness, meaning and fulfillment every day” This could be seen as an ideal situation as we are so caught up in our mundane responsibilities and 9-5 pm routine jobs, our passions and dreams take a back seat.” Thank God, it’s Friday” is still a way of life for many people. A fun-loving, healthy environment can help them make a difference. The fish philosophy prevents burnout as it keeps you excited about what you do.


This book is a love story, a parable about finding the deep source of creativity, energy, passion hidden inside each of us. The story begins with “It was a wet, cold, dark, dreary, Monday in Seattle inside and out.” The main character Mary Jane was known for her “can do” attitude. She meticulously conducted her work and others tried to make sure their work met her standards. She was also a good person to work for. Mary Jane’s mind was ablaze as the words played in her mind over and over. As she walked along the famous Pike place fish market, she wondered if her eyes were playing tricks on her. Was that a fish floating in the air? Then it happened again “One salmon flying away to Minnesota” The workers repeated in chorus. The guy behind the counter made an unbelievable one-handed catch, bowed his head to the people applauding his skill. A guy was dancing behind the register. It was a controlled madhouse all around her like the rides in the fair only getting better. Wouldn’t the possibility of an energized department make it worthwhile for her to learn the lessons? If the fish market has anything it has energy. There came the Aha moment...There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is no choice about the work itself. Either you bring a sunny, cheerful, playful attitude and have a great day or sulk in resentment for the years gone by. Simple to understand but difficult to put into practice.

She realized; she had invested too much in being a victim. Something was holding her back. It might be wise to learn more. With the pressures of being a single mom, she had lost faith in her ability to survive after her husband’s death. She was afraid of taking risks for what if she failed and would not be able to support her children? Leading a change is not an easy task. The risk of doing nothing was far more than the risk of acting. Everybody could lose their jobs. Faith can move mountains. She decided to choose faith. Whatever happens, it will be alright. The walls of the prison were created due to a lack of faith in myself. She reminded herself, “Your authenticity is to leave an incredible mark on the world with a unique piece of work you are creating” What a profound wisdom and insight which all of us can resonate to at some turning point in our life? We can only carry the lessons and the blessings with us; but, how many of us integrate them into our lives?

Her inner voice asked her to slow down and be patient. Something beautiful was unfolding for her. Incredible strength and resources of energy, untapped talent within were trying to burst out. She had more strength than was ever tested and more to give than ever given. Life is too precious to be passing through to retirement. Her security was threatened because she went with the flow.


She started with a renewed spirit and decided to wind up her clock and get ready to enjoy learning and growing by 'choosing her attitude', confidence, trust, and faith. The second ingredient of the fish market was 'play'. Let things flow, be serious about the business, and still respectfully have fun. The third ingredient is to 'make their day'. The playful work allows ways to creatively engage the customers. Focusing the attention on ways to make other person’s day provides a constant flow of positivity boosts the team morale to do their best. The final ingredient was 'be present'. The fish guys were fully present and talked to Mary Jane as if she was a long-lost friend. When we engage in Choice, the fear-based response of the amygdala or the reptilian brain is suppressed which leads to more creativity, fun, and productivity.


The four ingredients of transformation in personal and professional life have plagued my mind. “It had been a cold, dark, dreary day in Seattle on the outside. But something far different had been chosen from the inside”




Disclaimer: The book summary is an authentic expression to inspire the audience to read the book and transform their lives, despite the struggles and challenges.


Author: Pranoti Gupta





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