How often do we look longingly toward others’ backyards to what we believe are greener pastures? In doing so, we often fail to see the riches that are in our own surroundings. The failure to bring our focus to our own backyard can generate frustrating or devastating consequences… as it did for the subject of this story.
An old priest told an ancient Persian farmer, Ali Hafed, that if he had a handful of diamonds he could purchase a whole country, and with a mine of diamonds he could place his children upon thrones through the influence of their great wealth.
After Al Hafed heard all about diamonds and how much they were worth, he went to his bed that night a poor man — not that he had lost anything, but poor because he was discontented and discontented because he thought he was poor. He said, “I want a mine of diamonds!” “I want to be immensely rich.”
So he decided to leave his farm to seek his fortune. He sold his property, took the proceeds, left his family with neighbors, and set out to seek his fortune. He wandered throughout the region and on into Europe, but never once found the diamonds he was seeking. One day, destitute, disappointed and disheartened, he threw himself into the ocean and finally ended his suffering.
Later, the same old priest who told Al Hafed about diamonds came to visit the new owner and he saw a flash of light from the mantel. He rushed up and said, “Here is a diamond –here is a diamond! Has Al Hafed returned?” “No, no; Al Hafed has not returned and that is not a diamond; that is nothing but a stone; we found it right out here in our garden.” “But I know a diamond when I see it,” said he; “that is a diamond!”
It did not look like a diamond because it was in its raw, uncut state. In fact, upon closer inspection, they found that the farmland was rich with diamonds. And thus were discovered the diamond mines of Golconda, the most magnificent diamond mines in all the history of mankind.
From Russell H. Conwell’s “Acre of Diamonds” lecture that he delivered over 6,000 times. The full text of lecture is here, http://www.temple.edu/about/history/acres-diamonds
The sad irony of this story is that Ali Hafed wasted his life seeking what he already had in his own backyard. His wealth and fame were right beneath his feet, but he did not recognize diamonds in their raw form. This story holds a wonderful lesson for us. Often, we spend so much time searching “out there” for our happiness, wealth, and fame that we miss so many golden opportunities that are right in front of us.
Using our talents and abilities in our current workplace may be the right opportunity if we would only ponder the possibilities. Many wonderful opportunities have been lost as we look for “greener” pastures. But beware, as Erma Bombeck once wrote, “The grass is always greener over the septic tank.”
Affirmation for the Week:
“I survey the backyard of my life to find that which I am eagerly searching. I look around me with new eyes and a more receptive attitude. I appreciate those situations and conditions in my life that I may have dismissed because I failed to see the good that they hold for me.”
Have a wonder-filled new vision week!
Mary “Motivator” Rau-Foster