During the 1800’s, clergyman Dr Russell H Conwell single handedly raised millions of dollars to fund the building of Temple University – a renowned school for young people who wanted to go onto further education but lacked the money to do so.
Dr Conwell raised this money by giving over 6,000 lectures across the USA, and in each one he told a story called ‘Acres Of Diamonds’, to convey his central message: that everyone has the opportunity to make more of themselves, with their own skill, with their own energy, and with their own friends.
The story was the tale of an African farmer who had heard stories about other farmers on the continent who had made millions by discovering diamond mines.
The farmer was so excited by these stories that he could hardly wait to sell his farm and go prospecting himself.
Selling the farm, he spent the rest of his life wandering the African continent, searching unsuccessfully for the priceless diamonds that he hoped would bring him his fortune.
Finally, worn out and in a fit of dispair, he threw himself into a river and drowned.
In the mean time, the man who had bought the farm from the unfortunate farmer happened to be crossing a small stream on the land when he caught a fleeting glimpse of a bright blue and red light from the between the rocks in the stream bed.
Bending down, he picked up the large stone and, admiring it, placed it on his mantel piece as an interesting ornament.
A few weeks later, a visitor to his home picked up the stone, looked closely at it, weighed it in his hand, and almost passed out.
He asked the farmer if he knew what it was.
When the farmer said that he thought it was a piece of crystal, to his astonishment, the visitor advised him he’d found one of the largest diamonds ever discovered.
The farmer didn’t believe this at first.
He told the man that there were stones just like this one sprinkled generously throughout the bottom of the stream.
Needless to say, the farm the first farmer had sold so that he might find a diamond mine turned out to be the most productive diamond mine on the entire African continent.
The first farmer had unknowingly owned outright acres of diamonds, but he had sold them for practically nothing in order to go looking for them elsewhere.
The moral is clear: if only the first farmer had taken the time to research his desire for a diamond mine…
To find out what diamonds looked like in their rough state.
And to thoroughly explore the land he already owned before going to look elsewhere…
All his dreams would have come true.
Instead, acting on a whim he died without achieving the thing he wanted most in all the world.
The thing about this same story that so profoundly affected Dr. Conwell, and subsequently, millions of others, was the idea that each of us is, at this moment, unbeknown to them, standing in the middle of his or her own acres of diamonds.
As Earl Nightingale noted when recounting this story in his own highly acclaimed book Lead The Field,
“If only we will have the wisdom and patience to intelligently and effectively explore the work in which we are now engaged, to explore ourselves, we’ll usually find the riches we seek, whether they be financial or intangible, or both.
Before we go running off to what we think are greener pastures, let’s make sure that our own is not just as green or, perhaps, even greener.
It’s 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 we’re looking at other pastures, other people are looking at ours!
To my mind, there are few things more pitiful than the person who wastes his life running from one thing to another, forever looking for the pot of gold at the end of the ainbow and never staying with one thing long enough to find it.”
There were undoubtedly good reasons for your having chosen your present work in the beginning.
If there weren’t, and if you’re unhappy in the field you’re in, hen perhaps it’s time for some serious exploration.
But first let your magnificent, miraculous mind thoroughly explore the possibilities lurking in what you’re presently doing before turning to something new.
Lead The Field – Earl Nightingale