Acres of Diamonds

I’m still working on my next book, about conscious aging. It’s taken longer to finish than I’d expected, and part of the reason is I keep doing more research and more reading. I was about to order a few more books that were mentioned by Ashton Applewhite, the advocate against ageism. They were really good titles and the descriptions compelled me to add them to my cart on Amazon. Before placing the order, I paused and decided to take inventory of the books on aging that I had already read. What amazed me was not only the number of volumes, but the wealth of information already sitting in my bookcase.

Since I became interested in what aging was about, I’ve read at least 54 books on the topic. Some were textbooks or required readings for my gerontology courses. Others were mentioned in articles or other books. Some focused on the social and global phenomenon of aging. Some examined the economic and political aspects. Others explored the mental, emotional, and physical changes from a personal view.

While I read the majority of those books cover to cover, there were a few that I never finished. So I put a hold on my Amazon order for now. When you read a lot, it’s easy to forget the range of material already at your fingertips.

That made me think about the classic Russell Conwell speech. Called “Acres of Diamonds,” it was the story of a farmer who sells his land and goes in search of great wealth in the diamond mines but never has any success. He dies without ever finding any diamonds. Meantime, the man who bought his farm was surprised to discover that there were diamonds on the property. The farmer who had traveled far and wide seeking wealth never knew that what he sought had been in his own backyard all the time.

Maybe I don’t need to do any more research or read any more books before completing this project. Rushing to find one more source might simply be a distraction—or a sign of procrastination. Maybe I should use what I have and work with that.

There comes a time to stop reaching beyond ourselves. A time to stop looking out and instead go within. A time to recognize that what we’ve been looking for, we already have. Try looking for the diamonds in your work. In your community. In your life. As Earl Nightingale wrote, “Prevail right where you are.”

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