Hafiz 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 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 buy your own city. If you had a diamond the size of your fist, you could probably buy your own country.” And then the wise man left.
That night, Hafiz couldn’t sleep. He was unhappy and he was discontented. He was unhappy because he was discontented and discontented because he was unhappy. The next morning Hafiz made arrangements to sell his farm, took care of his family and went off in search of diamonds. He looked all over Africa and couldn’t find any. He looked all through Europe and couldn’t find any. By the time he got to Spain, he was emotionally, physically and financially broke. He was 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 the 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 the stone would look good in his living room. He picked up the stone and put it on his mantle piece. 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 recognise 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 many morals:
1. When our attitude is right, we realise that we are all walking on acres of diamonds. Opportunities are always under our feet. We don’t have to go anywhere.
2. When we don’t know how to recognize opportunity, it could slap us on our face and we would still not be able to recognize it. All we need to do is to learn to recognize opportunities.
3. People, who don’t know how to recognise opportunities, complain of noise when they knock.
4. Lost opportunities are easier recognised when they are leaving rather than when they are coming.
5. An opportunity only knocks once. The next one may be better or worse, but never the same one. That is why it is so crucial to make the right decision at the right time. A right decision at the wrong time becomes a wrong decision.
6. The grass on the other side always looks greener. There are two dimensions to the greener grass: a. It may be possible that the other farmer is taking better care of his grass and it is actually greener. b. Most of the time, however, it is only an illusion. Many times in life, while chasing an illusion, we lose out the opportunity right under our own feet.
7. While we are eyeing the grass on the other side, there are others who are eyeing the grass on our side. They would be happy to trade places with us.