“Sometimes the things we want most in life are closer than we think, but we’re so busy searching elsewhere that we don’t even see them.”
I was asked the other day whether I had ever read the book, “Acres of Diamonds”, by Russell Cromwell. I said I had read it years ago, and I proceeded to tell the story as best I could. A couple of nights ago, I decided to pull out my copy and read the story again. Its message is so powerful that I thought I would dedicate some time to it here. The book is a classic, and if you ever get a chance, I recommend picking up a copy for yourself.
The book is a true story about a farmer who lived in Africa and through a visitor became very excited about looking for diamonds. It seems that diamonds were in abundance all over the African continent. This farmer got so excited about finding his fortune in diamonds that he sold his farm and headed out to search for the precious stones. For years he wandered all over the continent searching for diamonds, but he never found a single one. Eventually this farmer went completely broke and threw himself into a river and drowned.
Meanwhile, the new owner of the farm was outside one day and picked up an unusual looking rock about the size of a large egg. He liked the way the rock looked so he brought it inside and put it on his mantle. A few days later a friend stopped by the farm. When the friend saw the rock on the mantle, he almost had a heart attack. He told the new owner of the farm that the funny looking rock on the mantle was about the biggest diamond that had ever been found. The new owner of the farm said, “Heck, the whole farm is covered with them!” The new owner was right. The farm turned out to be the Kimberly Diamond Mine…the richest mine the world has ever known. The original farmer was literally sitting on “Acres of Diamonds” when he sold the farm.
Sometimes we are all guilty of being too busy looking all over the place for our fortune in diamonds, and we miss the diamonds right under our feet. God has a way of putting us where we’re supposed to be in life whether we realize it or not. We spend so much time searching everywhere else for the things we desire that we miss out on the goodness He has placed all around us. It’s important to realize that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence.
I challenge you to take some time to notice the diamonds you have in your life right now. Don’t be like the farmer and miss out on something you already own. Nothing is worse than having to live with regrets later on in life. Be happy where you’re at, and search in your own back yard for the things that you desire. You may be surprised to find your own “Acres of Diamonds”.
“Life’s blows cannot break a person whose spirit is warmed at the fire of enthusiasm.”
–Norman Vincent Peale—
During my life, I cannot remember a period of time more difficult than the one we’re living in right now. Each day more and more people are losing their jobs, losing their homes, and losing the fortunes that they’ve worked their entire lives to accumulate. I hear the heartbreaking stories every day in my office. People from all walks of life with tears in their eyes telling me they don’t know what to do or where to turn. It’s frustrating to me because I know in my heart that we always make it through times like this. Not only do we make it through times like this, but we get through them much better off than we were before. However, it’s still a difficult thing to convince people when they’re right in the middle of the crisis. As bad as it is right now, our country has been through tough economic times before. In the seventies, there was gas rationing, unemployment was through the roof, interest rates were over 20%, and people were struggling big time. Nevertheless, those tough years were followed by thirty of the most prosperous years the world has ever seen. We’re Americans. We live in the most incredible nation on the face of the earth. Sure, things might seem hopeless right now, but somehow we’ve got to look inside ourselves and find a way out of this mess. Is it possible? Of course it is. The thing we must guard against is allowing these obstacles to rob us of our enthusiasm for life. It is enthusiasm that drives us forward to achieve bigger and better things, and it is enthusiasm that gives us the self-discipline we need to tackle those problems that we don’t necessarily want to deal with.
Enthusiasm…the word is derived from the ancient Greek word, enthousiasmos, which means, “inspiration by the presence of God”. I got chills when I read that definition. To be enthusiastic is to be inspired by the presence of God. I like it! We may not be able to control everything that goes on in our lives. In fact, the longer I live the more I see we are in control of very little of what happens to us. However, the one thing we are in control of is our attitude and how we deal with the different challenges we face. It’s our choice. It’s easy to sit around and worry about our situation, but the people who make the decision to tackle each and every problem with enthusiasm are the ones who come out ahead every single time. Remember, IT’S OUR CHOICE!!
Enthusiasm is infectious. Just by being enthusiastic, you make the people around you feel better, and in turn, they become enthusiastic as well. It’s much more fun hanging out with an enthusiastic person than someone who is moping around and depressed. In fact, if you find yourself having trouble being enthusiastic, don’t hang out with people like yourself. Find your most enthusiastic friends and family and start hanging out with them. It will be more enjoyable, and you’ll be amazed how, all of a sudden, you’ll start feeling enthusiastic too. If you don’t feel enthusiastic, fake it!!! The more you act enthusiastically, the more you’ll start feeling that way on the inside. Living life with enthusiasm will take you places you never thought you could go. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,” Every great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is due to the triumph of enthusiasm. Nothing great was ever achieved without it.” Now, go out and do great things!