Monday, November 26, 2012

Acres of Diamond

There was a farmer in Africa who was happy and content. 
He was happy because he was content. He was content because he was happy.
One day a wise man came to him and told him about the glory of diamonds 
and the power that goes along with them. The wise man said, 

"If you had a diamond the size of your thumb, you could have your own city. 
If you had a diamond the size of your fist, you could probably own your own country." 
And then he went away. That night the farmer couldn't sleep. He was unhappy 
and he was discontent. He was unhappy because he was discontent and 
discontent because he was unhappy.

                            The next morning he made arrangements to sell off his farm, 
took care of his family and went in search of diamonds. 
He looked all over Africa and couldn't find any. He looked all through Europe 
and couldn't find any.  When he got to Spain, he was emotionally, 
physically and financially broke. He got so disheartened that 
he threw himself into the Barcelona River and committed suicide.

                            Back home, the person who had bought his farm was watering 
the camels at a stream that ran through the farm. Across the stream, 
the rays of the morning sun hit a stone and made it sparkle like a rainbow. 
He thought it would look good on the mantle piece. He picked up 
the stone and put it in the living room.

That afternoon the wise man came and saw the stone sparkling. 
He asked, "Is Hafiz back?" The new owner said, "No, why do you ask?" 
The wise man said, "Because that is a diamond. I recognize one when I see one." 
The man said, no, that's just a stone I picked up from the stream. Come, I'll show you.

There are many more." They went and picked some samples and sent them 
for analysis. Sure enough, the stones were diamonds. They found that 
the farm was indeed covered with acres and acres of diamonds.*

What is the moral of this story? There are five morals:

1. When our attitude is right, we realize that we are all walking on acres 
and acres of diamonds. Opportunity is always under our feet. 
We don't have to go anywhere. All we need to do is recognize it.

2. The grass on the other side always looks greener.

3. While we are dyeing the grass on the other side, there are others 
who are dyeing the grass on our side. They would be happy to trade places with us.

4. When people don't know how to recognize opportunity, 
they complain of noise when it knocks.

5. The same opportunity never knocks twice. The next one may be 
better or worse, but it is never the same one.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Life Full of Meaning and Joy Can Be Yours

The following story was written by Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup For the Soul.  I was inspired by it and thought I would share it with you.  Feel free to share with others.

The fastest way to happiness and joy is simple:  Find a way to serve.

Serving OthersBack in 2004 I was honored by the Academy of Achievement for having made a significant contribution to the world. One of the previous recipients who spoke at that event was Ken Behring, the author of Road to Purpose: One Man’s Journey Bringing Hope to Millions and Finding Purpose Along the Way. He was worth about $500 million dollars. During his speech, he told us that his life had gone through four stages. The first stage was about “Stuff.” He though that if he had the right stuff he’d be happy. So he bought the houses, the cars, the boat, the airplane-all of the usual toys-and yet he was not happy.
He described the second stage of his life as the acquisition of “Better Stuff.” He though he’d be happier if he had a better house, a better car, a bigger airplane, and so on. So he bought them. But he still wasn’t happy. Then he figured that maybe he had focused on the wrong stuff, so he embarked on the third stage of his life, which he called “Different Stuff.” This is when he joined with a partner and bought the Seattle Seahawks. He though for sure that if he was the co-owner of a professional football team, he would be happy. But he wasn’t. What to do?
It was at this time that a friend invited ken to join him on his private jet to fly to Europe and hand out wheelchairs to kids who had been born without limbs or who had lost their legs as a result of having stepped on a landmine. Ken accepted the invitation. He said that bringing hope and freedom to these children made him truly happy for the first time in his life. When he returned home, he started the Wheelchair Foundation, which has now given away more than 750,000 wheelchairs to children and adults all over the world.
Ken told us about one of his early trips to give away wheelchairs, when he picked up an eleven-year-old boy in Mexico and gently set him down in a wheelchair. When he went to leave and get another wheelchair for one of the other children, the boy wouldn’t let go of his leg. When Ken turned back around to face him, the boy said through his tears, “Please don’t leave yet. I want to memorize our face, so when we meet again in heaven, I can thank you one more time.” Ken said at that moment he experience pure joy. He later told us, “When I see the happiness in the eyes of the people who get a wheelchair, I feel that this is the greatest thing I have ever achieved in my life.” Contributing to others is the fastest way I know to infuse your life with authentic love and joy.