Black and white photo of people walking on a beach - The Acres of Diamonds Story

The Acres of Diamonds Story

Searching for Diamonds

In 1882 Russell Conwell wrote the “Acres of Diamonds” sermon that later became a book. It is a story based on a legend from India, involving a man by the name of Al Hafed and a place known as Golgonda, which is where the Golgonda diamond mine in India is located.

Al Hafed, as the legend goes, was a land owner who was told by a visiting priest of the existence of diamonds and their worth. Hafed was a wealthy man but the thought of the worth of diamonds made him feel poor. He hadn’t lost any of his wealth, it was just his mental reflection of what he had, compared to the worth of diamonds.

Feeling discontented, Hafed decided to sell his farm and, leaving his family behind, began to travel the world in search of diamonds. After years of failure and degrading health and wealth, he threw himself into the sea.

The man who bought the land, whilst getting water for his camel from a stream running through his property, noticed a sparkling stone which turned out to be a diamond. Hafed sold his land to go searching for diamonds, which were, literally, under foot the whole time.

The parable of the story is that people tend to look for “diamonds” elsewhere, never realising that they are in possession of them already – they just need to become aware of them.


If you have read the story, then you are aware of the meaning behind the parable. If you haven’t you can probably guess – it’s about our inability to see what we are capable of and finding our ability to do better in our life, just by looking at ourselves and drawing out our talents.

Most of us have this innate ability to admire others and their achievements, wondering how they do what they do and got to where they have got, never considering that we are just as able to achieve those levels of success. We believe that others can but we can’t. “He can who thinks he can”, wrote Orison Swett Marden.

And that couldn’t be further from the truth. We don’t believe in ourselves and lack the confidence to make it happen.

The key here is to recognise that you can do so much better in the position you are in that you realise. And if the work you do doesn’t fulfil you, then you might consider changing it – but not before considering the opportunities in your current employment, job or career.

Regardless what business you are in, you will find ways to improve your current position, if you allow yourself the opportunity to consider the possibility that you can achieve more. In other words, don’t go chasing success and achievement by swapping and changing the job you do because that type of job seems more profitable, but rather realise that success and profitability can come from looking at your current job differently.

Seeing the diamonds

Stop looking outside of yourself for the answers to your problems and start looking inside.

This is easier said than done for most of us, because of the number of limiting beliefs we carry. But even once you’ve read this story, it’s still a challenge to see where you are at the moment, you’re unable to see – you have to look into the bubble even if you are the one inside it.

You have to change your perception and your limiting beliefs. You have to set goals that take you outside your comfort zone and into the zone of fear. Look at fear as a marker rather than a deterrent; it tells you what you fear to do because you haven’t done it before.

Ego and our self-image also have to be assessed. Do we think we’re too good to do something? Do you think you are a better human being than others? That you can do things better than others? There will be skills you have that you can do better than other people; each of us has those unique skills. But it doesn’t mean that we are better people.

Our self-image, who we think we are, to ourselves, must be looked at and changed if need be. If you are not getting the results you want you may need to look at who you think you are. The majority of the time we underestimate what we can do and overestimate what others can, never giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt that we can achieve what we want to achieve.

Uncut diamond

I’m sure you know that diamonds in their rough state just look like broken bits of glass. Their beauty comes out after they are cut. Cutting a diamond, however, is a specialised skill, requiring specialised knowledge, tools and equipment because of the extreme difficulty of the process.

Diamonds can be cut in a number of ways, depending on the shape of the rough diamond. That means that each one is unique and what appears at the end will also be unique.

Each of us is a rough diamond but we do not require anyone outside of us to draw that out. We get help to improve ourselves, through a coach or a mentor, but the formation of the self is a self-dominated action – no-one can do that for you; it has to be a choice.

And that’s where you start, by deciding that you will draw that diamond out of the rough and that you will find the acres of diamonds that you yourself have in abundance, within the miraculous thing we call our mind.

Now right here we come to a rather strange fact; We tend to minimize the things we can do, the goals we can accomplish, and for some equally strange reason we think other people can accomplish things that we cannot.
Earl Nightingale

Photograph by: Mario Cabrera on Unsplash

“Acres of Diamonds” by Russell ConwellBack to top

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