An African farmer heard tales about people who had made millions by discovering diamond mines. These tales so excited the farmer that he could hardly wait to 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 a 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 turned out to be one of the largest diamonds ever discovered.
And his creek was full of such stones, not all as large, but nonetheless valuable… 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.
That first farmer had owned, literally, acres of diamonds, but he didn’t look there.
— Update, from a reader: From a lecture by Russell Conwell and popularized by Earl Nightingale many years ago. Thanks Deb!
This is a pretty well-traveled story, with a pretty straightforward lesson.
Before you look out, look in. You may already have what you need to accomplish what you want.
I’m going to “mine” this differently.
There are diamonds of a sort all around you now. Can you see them?
Look outside your office. Down the hallway. In the cafeteria. Every single meeting you go to. And all the ones you don’t.
Jerry, the financial analyst, can make a mean bouillabaisse. Mary, the executive admin, is a Toastmasters organizer. Julie, in inside sales, does graphic design for her church’s marketing pieces. Peggy, in tech support, is a stand up comedian. Bill, in logistics, does resumes on the side for family and friends. Susan, in customer support, is on the board of a local non-profit. Judy, a software tester, volunteers at the local hospice. Christian, a call center agent, paints. John, an industrial engineering manager, blogs. Damian, a research analyst, is an actor in a local drama troupe.
Our people are our greatest asset.
Too bad their added value is off the books.
Undiscovered, in cubicles, unmined.