Week 17: Acres of Diamonds.
I have a short story I’d like to share with you this week.
I love a good book but I am known to use my travel time and apartment-cleaning time to listen to audiobooks (how else could I consume this many books?). My favourite is tried and true: The Psychology of Achievement by Brian Tracy. I highly, highly recommend if you haven’t listened to it yet, that you do so - immediately. If you have, now’s probably a good time to give it another go.
This week’s post is not about the whole audiobook, however; we’re focussing on one short story, that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, called “Acres of Diamonds”. I’ve copied the story from personal development site Nightingale. Give it a read and take some time to reflect on your own situation. If you don’t have time to read it, you can listen to the track on Grooveshark from The Psychology of Achievement, or even listen to the original inspirational speech by Russell H. Conwell on this YouTube clip. I’ve listed a few questions at the end to prompt you to examine your own life: are you standing on acres of diamonds?
ACRES OF DIAMONDS
The story — a true one — is told of an African farmer who heard tales about other farmers who had made millions by discovering diamond mines. These tales so excited the farmer that he could hardly wait to sell his farm and go prospecting for diamonds himself. He sold the farm and spent the rest of his life wandering the African continent searching unsuccessfully for the gleaming gems that brought such high prices on the markets of the world. Finally, worn out and in a fit of despondency, he threw himself into a river and drowned.
Meanwhile, the man who had bought his farm happened to be crossing the small stream on the property one day, when suddenly there was a bright flash of blue and red light from the stream bottom. He bent down and picked up a stone. It was a good-sized stone, and admiring it, he brought it home and put it on his fireplace mantel as an interesting curiosity.
Several weeks later a visitor picked up the stone, looked closely at it, hefted it in his hand, and nearly fainted. He asked the farmer if he knew what he’d found. When the farmer said, no, that he thought it was a piece of crystal, the visitor told him he had found one of the largest diamonds ever discovered. The farmer had trouble believing that. He told the man that his creek was full of such stones, not all as large as the one on the mantel, but sprinkled generously throughout the creek bottom.
The farm the first farmer had sold, so that he might find a diamond mine, turned out to be one of the most productive diamond mines on the entire African continent.The first farmer had owned, free and clear … acres of diamonds. But he had sold them for practically nothing, in order to look for them elsewhere. The moral is clear: If the first farmer had only taken the time to study and prepare himself to learn what diamonds looked like in their rough state, and to thoroughly explore the property he had before looking elsewhere, all of his wildest dreams would have come true.
The thing about this story that has so profoundly affected millions of people is the idea that each of us is, at this very moment, standing in the middle of our own acres of diamonds. If we had only had the wisdom and patience to intelligently and effectively explore the work in which we’re now engaged, to explore ourselves, we would most likely find the riches we seek, whether they be financial or intangible or both.
Before you go running off to what you think are greener pastures, make sure that your own is not just as green or perhaps even greener. It has been said that if the other guy’s pasture appears to be greener than ours, it’s quite possible that it’s getting better care. Besides, while you’re looking at other pastures, other people are looking at yours.
So there you have it. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
Spend time developing your vision for your ideal life, your ten year goals and beyond.
As you contemplate your next move, be it personal or career, take the time to consider how it fits into the grand scheme of your life.
Consider your motivation.
Think about what is driving you towards change. Are you motivated by seeing the “greener pastures” of others? Be present to your motivation and the reasons behind it.
With a little work, you might realize you’re living on acres of diamonds, too.