’Acres of Diamonds’

Share This Post

18th September, 2023

‘Acres of Diamonds’ was the title of a talk delivered by Russell Conwell in the early part of the twentieth century. Russell was an American Baptist, orator and founder of the Temple University in Philadelphia. His talk became so popular that Russell is reported to have delivered it over 6000 times around the world.

At the heart of the talk is a little story—about acres of diamonds—as relevant today as it was a hundred years ago.

The story goes that many years ago there was this prosperous Persian farmer named Al Hafed.

He had a large tract of land & an even larger heart.

He would play host to visiting traders, travelling salesmen & explorers and priests, and it was from one such priest that he learnt about diamonds.

Diamonds that could make people rich, and make all their dreams come true.

Sensing an opportunity to earn a fortune, Al Hafed decided to go out and hunt for the diamonds.

‘I want them, and I am going to go look for them,’ he told the priest.

He sold his farm, left his family in the care of neighbours & went looking for diamonds.

Unfortunately, even after spending six months —and a lot of money—he did not meet with any success. Broke & heartbroken, he died soon after.

Meanwhile, back on the land Al Hafed had sold, the new owner was watering the plants one evening, when he suddenly saw something glistening. It was a large stone and, seeing its radiance, he picked it up and put it on his mantelpiece at home.

That night, the old priest happened to stop by.

Seeing the large stone, he exclaimed: ‘Ah, a diamond! Is Al Hafed back?’

‘No,’ said the new owner, ‘I just picked it up from the garden.

In fact, there are lots of such stones all over the garden!’

Yes, there were literally thousands of diamonds in the plot of land which Al Hafed had sold and gone away from, in his search for diamonds.

It’s an old story but the lessons are as valid today. For individuals and organizations. The goals we seek, the wealth we lust for, they are all there—right beneath our feet. Often in our quest for more, we believe we need to abandon our current position and go out looking for success.

We think a change of job or a change of industry or even a change of location is essential for success.

Why do we fail to recognize the diamonds in our own backyard, under our own feet?

That’s probably because diamonds often appear in their rough, uncut form. And polishing those uncut stones is hard work. Very hard work in most cases.

Like diamonds in their rough form, we fail to recognize the opportunities that come our way, because opportunities often come disguised as hard work.

Large corporations too are guilty of ignoring their acres of diamonds. Starved for growth they think they’ve hit a wall, and go into unrelated diversifications, exposing their traditional areas of strength. Only to find a newcomer come in and mint a fortune—in a market considered non-existent by the leader.

Good lesson to remember, in times good and bad. We all have acres of diamonds right beneath our feet. We only need to learn to look!

To start mining for your own acres of diamonds, it’s important to stand off and observe your own work from an outsider’s perspective.

To help uncover your own acres of diamonds, make a habit of asking yourself the following questions each and every morning:

How can I serve more effectively today?

How can I serve at the highest level today?

How can I bring more value to my customers and clients; to my family and friends?

I’m surrounded by hidden diamonds right where I stand—Have I been looking for them – Have I examined every element of my work and my industry?

There are better ways to do what you’re doing—no matter what it is, what are they?

How will our work be performed 5 years, 10 years or 20 years from today?

Will it even exist?

Could there be some sort of opportunity ahead, somewhere in the near-future, that others don’t see—but you do?

How can you exploit that opportunity?

Don’t go looking, look out for your own ‘Acre of Diamonds’ and study blessed forever.