This probably seems hard to believe and even outlandish, so let me explain. We all have unique talents and abilities that distinguish us from our friends. Maybe you’re a great artist, perhaps you hold the power of persuasion, or the ability to persist during tumultuous times. In some areas of life, you hold an advantage over the people around you.
In Russell H. Conwell’s book Acres of Diamonds, he gives several examples of wealth you can find in your own backyard–both literally and figuratively. The problem is that most people stop short of realizing their potential. One person might find a waste of time and money, where another person finds a fortune. To bring out your talent, to find your Acre of Diamonds, you need to equip yourself with tools that will help you dig deep. This article will teach you how to cultivate the right mind-set and take deliberate action to exploit your abilities.
Have you ever tried counting to 7.8 billion?
That’s how many people are alive on planet Earth today. It would take two lifetimes to count that high if all you did was count the entire time you were alive. Even with this example, it’s probably still very difficult to conceptualize a number that large. I find it fascinating that despite having billions of people on Earth, there’s only one of you and one of me.
In small ways, and in big ways, your life has a specific purpose. Every interaction you have with others reshapes the present state of life as well as future outcomes. Take for example a barista at Starbucks who was having a bad day. All of a sudden you come to the register and smile while placing an order (check out the Green Tea Matcha Latte). This could put her in a better mood which then gets her more tips, or simply makes her happier throughout the day. All of this from a simple act of kindness without words. You have a far bigger impact on life than you could ever imagine.
Other people see your greatness on a regular basis, but I’ve found that it’s much harder to look within. To find your purpose in life, think about the good things you find yourself constantly doing. It can be as simple as smiling to a barista or as large as transforming an entire industry. What’s great is that little things and big things can have monumental impacts. When you begin to find the good within yourself, you will begin to see your greatness manifest externally.
The biggest obstacle to success is overcoming self doubt. Somewhere in our subconscious, the primitive brain (the amygdala) still rules, this is where our fears come from. Whenever I push my comfort zone, thoughts like “I’m not good enough to do this” or “what if I don’t succeed?” come to my head. Although fear can sometimes protect us from danger, it can also hold us back from greatness.
In case you haven’t heard of him, he also goes by the G.O.A.T (greatest of all time) for short. Tom is the most accomplished NFL player with 6 Super Bowl rings, countless MVPs, and other titles. It didn’t start that way for him, though. He shared time as a starter in college (never a good sign for quarterbacks) and then got drafted in the 6th round of the NFL draft. With this resume, Tom was destined to be a career backup at best. His confidence was probably at an all time low, right?
Wrong. When interviewing with the Patriots before he had ever set foot on the field, he shook Robert Kraft’s (the owner of the Patriots) hand and said “this is the best decision you’ve ever made.” Despite all the things that seemingly went wrong, Tom had a chip on his shoulder and backed it up with his play. Looking back, it really was the best decision the Patriots have ever made.
To overcome self doubt, we need to employ the same mentality as Tom Brady. Each day, remind yourself that you are great at something you do. It’s amazing how this confidence at one thing seeps into other aspects of life and snowballs. When you adopt a positive mindset, you will recover from losses quicker and build upon your successes faster. As Napoleon Hill would say, “you can do it if you believe you can!”
Would you rather have a bar of lead or a bar of gold?
Alchemy is a medieval concept that describes how some people were believed to have been able to transform lead into gold. Unless you’re making bullets or old school pencils, lead is a relatively useless metal when compared to the value of gold. Alchemists were able to take something of seemingly little value, combine it with other elements, and create one of the most precious metals on Earth. Like lead, many of our innate talents may seem unimportant, but with enough practice we can turn them into gold.
As a kid, a good friend of mine struggled with a speech impediment.He was always very likable and had a lot of friends, but sometimes he struggled to get the point across. At a young age, he was forced to learn how to use technology while also practicing techniques for expressing himself. This deficit turned out to be his greatest asset. Over time, he became incredibly gifted with technology. He could code, do web design, and was even familiar with tools that most people don’t even know exist. As an adult, he used his skill with technology plus his great personality to find a mentor. Then, he became a recruiter for AI companies and makes hundreds of thousands of dollars doing it.
By itself, having a great personality would make him fun to hangout with at parties, but might not have financial benefits. His technology skills on the other hand were great assets, but he was never as good a coder as someone who went to school for it. It didn’t matter because he had two good talents that blended into something great. Gradual experimentation with different jobs and skills led him to find the perfect career. This is his equivalent of turning lead to gold.
No single skill may appear all that impressive on its own, but when coupled with other skills it becomes invaluable. Think about different talents that you have. Come up with a list and even ask your friends what they think you’re good at. If you’re willing to experiment, you will eventually find a combination that leads to success.
In life, we are often blinded by our own raw abilities. We look to become good at things that aren’t natural to us, or pursue passions only to give up right before the finish line. Rather than trying to fulfill personal inadequacies, we need to leverage the gifts we already possess. There’s acres of diamonds waiting to be found in our own backyards.