I’ve always loved the story about the acres of diamonds. An African farmer learns of untold wealth being made by other farmers who have discovered diamond mines. So he sells his farm and wanders the continent of Africa searching for diamonds. After many years of looking with no success, he throws himself into a river and drowns.
Back on the farm, the new owner happens to see a shiny object in the stream crossing his property. He picks up a large, sparkling stone thinking it is a crystal and brings it home to place on his fireplace mantel as a curious ornament. A few weeks later, a visitor excitedly identifies the stone as a huge diamond and the farmer realizes he is literally sitting on acres of diamonds. The farm turned out to be one of the most productive diamond mines in Africa. Sadly, the first farmer who had gone looking for diamonds had neglected to notice the ones right in his own back yard.
If you are searching for something, are you looking in your own back yard first?
I think many of us struggle with identifying the need for an actual change. We are not outwardly unhappy, but we feel like we are drifting and that something is missing in our lives. We are searching for something and we believe we must make a big change to find it. But do we need to go looking for our acre of diamonds somewhere else or is it already staring us in the face? Does our pursuit of happiness necessitate a big change or does it just require us to be mindful of how we can look at our current situation in a different way?
For example, when people become unsettled they often feel the urge to move to a new house and that a change of scenery is what they need. But the fact is that the same problems and stresses just follow them to the new house. Upon further inspection, they might realize a change in decor, a fresh coat of paint, and some new artwork or furniture changes everything. How many times have you rearranged the furniture in a room and found it rejuvenated that stale feeling? We moved the furniture in our bedroom last year and it was like having a whole new room!
Change in circumstance vs. a change in perception
We need to be careful not to fall victim to the pitfalls of wanting to change our circumstances when all we really need is a change in perception or attitude towards our current situation. I think many of us have diamonds in our back yards that we have just overlooked. Of course, sometimes there is a need for full blown change and we have to decide when the timing and reasons are right for that. It needs to be based on a careful assessment of our goals and how these changes will help move us in the right direction.
This week I have received several signs telling me I need to take stock of where I am personally, what my goals are, and how I can get from point A to point B. I read a brilliant blog post by Marquita Herald at Emotionally Resilient Living about living life by default while feeling like something is missing. Then Dawn read me a quote from a book she is currently reading that was along the same lines.
Finally, on the same day I came across a great new tool to explore where I’m at, where I want to be, and how to get there. It’s a new book by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy called Living Forward and focuses on helping you to create a life plan. I’m excited to dive in and see where it takes me!
We’d love to hear from you!
Was there a time when you made a change and it turned out to be the wrong one? What did you learn from that and how did you use that information next time you were faced with a choice? We would love to hear from you in the comments below. It’s nice to know we are not alone on this journey.