Finding Your Acre of Diamonds
“The grass ain’t always greener on the other side, it’s green where you water it”
Back in 1890, Russell Conwell published a book titled Acres of Diamonds. The plot was simple. To Conwell, the opportunity for success is right under the nose of the person who’s looking for it. However, they may not see it right away and go elsewhere to find wealth. Once that happens, the person who left never finds what they’re looking for and the person who filled in for them gets all the success, wealth, etc.
It’s 2017, and there is a plethora of opportunity for everybody. The internet has shaped the world for better and for worse, but great things have happened to those who capitalized on it. Information is so readily available now that you can read about 23 different startup founders in 23 different sectors in minutes (well, maybe hours, depending on how quickly you read).
Since the start of the information age, the technology industry has sat on a pedestal. And with good reason, of course. Guys like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, the late Steve Jobs, Evan Spiegel and countless others have literally shaped the world around us, and their innovations have become a piece of our lives. Coverage of the tech industry isn’t at the forefront anymore, and I think we can chalk that up to the “politics” that are going on in our country.
Regardless of the attention it receives, it’s indisputable that different sectors in tech are hot; app design, SaaS, coding, all that fun stuff. It’s also where the money is — if you’re good at it. If you stop writing fiction — leave your farm, so to speak — and start trying to develop mobile apps, the chances are it won’t immediately work out for you if it works out at all. However, there’s always the chance it does. If that’s the case, congratulations.
For some, that’s a risk worth taking. But it’s not the smartest thing in the world. Here’s why: the 10,000 hours theory is real. After devoting “x” years to writing, you’re already closer to being successful at that because of the work you put it. Abandoning writing (or any craft) means starting from scratch and, in the time you spend thinking that you’re creating the next Facebook, another author can come along, turn an idea that you were thinking about into a story and take your success away from you.
That may seem like an extreme example, but it’s true.
Just because you have a SoundCloud account and a microphone doesn’t mean you’re a rapper.
You’ve heard this a million times — probably two million, honestly — but people who reach a certain level of success have a passion for the industry that they’re in. I can assure you, whether he founded Microsoft or not, Bill Gates was going to be in the computer industry.
The key to finding your acre of diamonds is to look at what you already love doing. When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you think about is where your diamonds are going to lie. Do you wake up each morning at 5:30 to weave baskets? Guess what — your diamonds are there.
Don’t stop weaving baskets to knit yarn just because it’s the hot thing to do.