Initial Thoughts on Acres of Diamonds by Russell Conwell
I reviewed Acres of Diamonds by Russell Conwell years ago, but I thought that I would post it again because today too many of us are thinking that the grass is greener on the other side, and that the solution to our problems and challenges reside outside of our domain. This review is equally a reminder to you as it is to me that our own “acres of diamonds” is in our backyard.
I made changes to this review, and I have added a YouTube video (12 minutes) of Earl Nightingale speaking about Acres of Diamonds, and in it, he suggests ways to find your acres of diamonds.
Russell Herman Conwell, a lawyer for about fifteen years until he became a clergyman, relates a story told to him by an Arab guide. The story intrigued Conwell so much, with its timeless moral, that he subsequently used the theme as the foundation for his many speeches.
What is Acres of Diamonds by Russell Conwell About?
According to the story, as told by the guide, while Conwell was travelling down the Tigris and Euphrates rivers with a party of English travelers, there was a farmer, Ali Hafed, from ancient Persia now known as Iran. Ali Hafed was very wealthy. He owned a very large farm with orchards, grain-fields, and gardens. He was a wealthy and contented man.
One day, a Buddhist priest visited Ali Hafed. During the conversation, this wise priest from the East told Hafed about diamonds. The priest told Ali Hafed that if he had one diamond the size of his thumb, he could purchase the county, and if he had a mine of diamonds he could place his children upon thrones through the influence of their great wealth.
Ali Hafed heard all about diamonds, and how much they were worth. Though nothing in Hafed’s life had changed, he went to his bed that night feeling poor and discontented. Because of the stories of the diamonds, he started to feel like he was a poor man, which made him very discontented.
Ali Hafed decided that he wanted a diamond mine, and the next day he rushed to see the priest and asked where he could find diamonds. He explained to the priest that he wanted to be immensely rich. Hafed sold his farm, collected the money, left his family with a neighbour and went off in search of diamonds.
Hafed wandered around Palestine and Europe until he ran out of money. He was in rags, feeling wretched and now truly poor. He stood on the shore of a bay in Barcelona, Spain and when a great tidal wave came rolling in, he threw himself in, never to rise again. Hafed reminds me of the story of the Prodigal Son in the Bible, but the Prodigal Son had the common sense to return home and ask for forgiveness.
Meanwhile back at the farm, one day, the new owner picked up an unusual rock about the size of an egg and placed it on his mantle. A few days later, the same old priest visited the farm and immediately realized that the unusual rock was indeed a diamond. The priest and the new owner rushed outside to the place where the owner found the unusual rock. That day, they discovered the diamond mines of Golconda.
Al Hafed had been standing on his own “Acres of Diamonds” until he sold his farm.
In Acres of Diamonds, Conwell relates countless stories of people who went in search of what they already had. For example, he talks about a farmer in Pennsylvania who sold his farm for $833 and went to work for his cousin in Canada, collecting oil. Shortly after, the man who purchased the farm found oil worth millions of dollars.
Six Common Sense Ideas from Acres of Diamonds by Russell Conwell
- Each of us is right in the middle of our own “Acre of Diamonds”, if only we would realize it and develop the ground we are standing on before charging off in search of greener pastures.
- Opportunity does not just come along – it is there all the time – we just have to see it.
- In life, when we go searching for “something,” we should know what that “something” looks, smells and tastes like so that we can recognize it when we find it.
- The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
- Before we give up what we already have, make sure that what we’re getting is better than what we already have.
- It’s good to aspire for more because life is about moving forward, but don’t let greed dictate how you value and feel about yourself.
“Your diamonds are not in far-away mountains or in distant seas; they are usually in your own back yard if you will take the time to look for them.”
In the video, Earl Nightingale suggests that every day we should ask ourselves, “How can I increase my service today?” And your clients could be either inside or outside of your company. He puts the Acres of Diamonds in context, and teaches you how to use it in your every day life.
UPDATE: Published November 2011
Earl Nightingale Books
Acres of DiamondsThe Strangest SecretThe Essence of SuccessLead the FieldHow to Completely Change Your Life in 30 SecondsEarl Nightingale’s Greatest Discovery: Six Words that Changed the Author’s Life