An African farmer had heard tales about other farmers who had made millions of dollars by discovering diamond mines.
These tales so excited the farmer that he could hardly wait to sell his farm and go prospecting for diamonds himself. So 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, broke, worn out, and in a fit of despondency, he threw himself into a river and drowned.
Meanwhile, back at the farm, the man who had bought his farm happened to be crossing a small stream on the property one day when he saw something gleaming at the bottom of the stream.
He picked it up. It was a sparkling stone - a good size stone - and, admiring it, he later put it on his fireplace mantel as an interesting curiosity.
Several weeks later, a visitor admired the stone, looked closely at it, hefted it in his hand and nearly fainted. He asked the farmer if he knew what he'd found. When the farmer said no, that he thought it was just a piece of crystal, the visitor told him he had found one of the largest diamonds ever discovered.
The farmer was astonished. He told the man that his creek was full of these brilliant stones, and his farmland was covered with them. Not all were as large, perhaps, as the one on his mantel, but they were sprinkled generously throughout his property.
Needless to say, the farm the first farmer had sold, so that he could search for a diamond mine, turned out to be the most productive diamond mine on the entire African continent.
The first farmer had owned, free and clear, acres of diamonds, but had sold them for practically nothing in order to look for them elsewhere.
The moral is clear: If the first farmer had only taken the time to study and prepare himself - to learn what diamonds looked like in their rough state - and, since he had already owned a piece of land, to thoroughly explore the property he had before looking elsewhere, his wildest dreams would have come true.
EACH OF US IS, AT THIS MOMENT, STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS OR HER OWN ACRE OF DIAMONDS. If each of us will only have the wisdom and patience to begin by exploring ourselves, we will find that we contain all the riches necessary to be able to succeed in whatever endeavors to which we may set our minds and hearts.
-- Russel H. Conwell (Acres of Diamond)