The Tribune - Spectrum

, April 7, 2002

Acres of diamonds
I.M. Soni

WHEN I was young, I read a story, Acres of Diamonds. It left a deep impression on my mind.

As I grew older, the story lost its sheen but it had sunk in my subconscious mind. Now, when I dig into the depths of my mind to find a tangible idea, the subconscious throws up some nuggets. Today I thought of the aforementioned story.

It deals with a farmer given to lassitude and laziness. He owns several acres of land which lie fallow and are overgrown with thistles and thorns. The farmer, in sheer despair, sells the land at a throwaway price.

The new owner is a digger. He tills the land day and night, every inch of it. Acre by acre, he proceeds to plough and turn his land. His sweat and labour bear fruit.

Most of what was previously infertile, becomes fertile and yields rich crops. He finds a hidden treasure — acres of diamonds. There are diamond mines underneath in the fallow lands.

The fable unfolds a moral: the land that was once thought to be fallow was, in fact, rich with diamonds. It was fallow because it had not been ploughed.


The American steel magnate, Andrew Carnegie, has postulated this philosophy: "To get one ounce of gold, you have to move mountains of dirt."

His philosophy basically says that if we want to find the ‘diamonds’ hidden within us, we have to dig deep and remove the debris from inside us. The mind will soon start yielding diamonds.

Of course, that does not mean that there will be no setbacks, obstacles or difficulties. There will be plenty of these. They are, in fact, like the coal that miners come across which indicate that the gold is near.

Obstacles on the path to success are like milestones. They should not be looked upon as mill-stones round the neck. Hardships and difficulties test one’s character and moral stamina.

A person who detests hard work can never succeed.

Many rich parents pamper their children. They spare no expense in giving them necessities, comforts and luxuries. One may say that there is nothing wrong with this. But the truth is that these parents are depriving their children of the ability to cultivate fortitude.

Hard work is a blessing, not a curse. It is an instrument with which we can chisel our fate and personality.

Luther, when translating the Bible, took for his motto: "No day without some work accomplished."

Those who have excelled in their work whatever the sphere, have worked hard day after day. Hard labour it was, but it brought its reward.

Peter the Great laid aside his royal robes, and put on workman’s clothes. At 26, disdaining luxury, he went on a tour to educate himself. He served as an apprentice to a ship-builder in Holland. In England, he slogged in paper and saw mills, getting the treatment meted out to an ordinary worker.

Many deceive themselves thinking that they are born genius. If they are, they are lucky. Others may do well to ‘undeceive’ themselves, by making up their mind that industry is the price of all that they want to achieve and they must at once begin to pay it.

Genius needs industry as much as industry needs genius.

Oliver Goldsmith, however, thought four lines a day was good enough for a day’s work. He took seven years to write The Deserted Village.

He records, "By a long habit of writing, one acquires a greatness of thinking, and a mastery of manner, which holiday writers, with ten times the genius, may vainly attempt to equal."

If you have set your sight at achieving something worthwhile, nurse your desire daily on constructive thoughts about it. A word of caution: Don’t let it remain a mere idle desire. Convert it into a goal. Emerson observes: Small minds have desires; great minds have goals.