I have republished Russell Conwell’s Acres of Diamonds below. Conwell delivered this speech over 5,000 times between 1900 and 1925. It is one of the greatest pieces on finding opportunity that I have ever read. –Harrison Acres of Diamonds When...Filed under Featured, Self Improvement Books Leave a Comment
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In this article, Harrison explains how the company you keep will inevitably be a major cause of success or failure in your career and life. Wrong associations can be harmful and although you cannot really avoid it all the time, you need to distance yourself from it. Unethical people can repeatedly injure your progress and you need to be aware of and understand the people you deal with, to protect yourself from those who could taint you and drag you down.
In this article Harrison talks about making rules that represent success and not failure. You make rules and interpret the things happening around you accordingly. Rules control how you feel about yourself. You need to have rules for your life and career that empower you. Your rules for what it means to be successful will largely control how you feel about yourself and your job. People who feel the most successful typically have the fewest rules. If you set rules for yourself that are easy to meet you will experience lots of fulfillment. Use rules to make yourself happy. A person who has the least stringent rules to meet is the happiest. You need to feel good about your life, so do not allow your rules to hold you back.
In order for you to be effective in your position and successfully obtain new ones, you must express gratitude, and appreciate both what you have achieved and what you are becoming. Believe in positive things. Your career has great potential and so do you, and only by realizing this can you perceive the world around you as supporting your belief system.
When you are successful, many around you will envy your success rather than being happy for you. The ability to deal with criticism, therefore, is crucial to your success. Most people recoil in the face of criticism, or remain inert for fear of attracting criticism; you must learn to avoid such inaction and fear in order to achieve your full potential.
Your thought process is a powerful determinant of your success or failure. Find a connection or unifying bond among the millions of thoughts that cross your mind every day, and use them to the greatest possible effect. Rather than dwell on negative thoughts that could undermine you, strengthen your mindset by asking yourself empowering questions; you will find that the answers to these questions constitute excellent career advice.
You must accept responsibility for your actions and their consequences, rather than blaming others. The system is rarely responsible for your problems, and much happiness and success will come from accepting full responsibility for your current position. By doing so, you will be much more likely to make better decisions leading to greater future success.
In this article Harrison discusses the importance of first tending to the smaller tasks in life in order to be able to focus on the real large ones. Harrison believes that the inability to keep small details organized in your life is a reflection of your ability to master details in your work. If you cannot keep your surroundings organized, in all probability you will never be able to master your work. There is a certain level of discipline that is required to keep things neat, clean, and organized. If someone does not have this level of discipline on their desk, in their office, in their homes, then they are certainly people who will be incapable of keeping their careers and lives organized. Our surroundings are a reflection of what is going on in our minds.
Concentrate on the process, not the results, in order to succeed in your career. Focus on the entire process of what you are doing, refine each step of that process, and make sure to constantly improve each step. Pay attention to the small, seemingly insignificant details, because they will add up to make a huge difference.
Recruiters use a variety of approaches, each of which has its merits; the best recruiters, however, use a combination of established methods. You need to work with a recruiter who understands these various methods, and supports your job search on multiple fronts. Exceptional recruiters are even more valuable in a bad job market, as their approach or combination of approaches will make the difference in whether or not you find employment.
In this article Harrison explains how personal relationships and connections are incredibly useful. You need to get out there and do everything you can to meet people, form alliances and establish connections with people. Whether it is Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, or more — these and other tools that help you connect can make a giant difference. You need connections to make the most of your career. When you are looking for a job, it is effective if you are applying to a variety of places and really getting your message out there. You need to be seen in order to be hired. The more you get your information out there, the more likely you are to get hired. Connections matter. Connections cut through the clutter of advertisements and other interruptions that decision makers are faced with throughout the day. When a connection is at issue then things can really get done.
In this article, Harrison advises you to live the lives you wish to have, do the jobs you want to do, and basically live your dreams to your best possible ability. Life is fleeting and no one knows what tomorrow holds. So Harrison puts forward certain questions – when are you going to start living the life you want and when are you going to take charge of your life. The time to have the career you want is right now, not tomorrow, and not later. You need to take charge of your career and life and no one else is going to do it for you. Your entire life and the quality of it is a product of your decisions. You can have, do, or be anything you want. Do not create alibis for making comprises in life. What separates the best and the happiest people is the ability to stop to making excuses and Harrison wants you to be this person.
Punishment and how you react to it are important determinants of your success. Never put yourself in a position where you cannot be forgiven and move on. Guilt leads to self-punishment, which is insidious and damaging; determine whether you are punishing yourself for something in the past, or if you are allowing others to unjustly punish you for long-ago transgressions. Such punishment can undermine your life and success.
Your greatest successes will come from some of the smallest actions in terms of meeting people. You will cause a “stacking effect” the more you meet and connect with people; conversely, people cannot connect with you when you are withdrawn and nothing will happen. You must do everything in your power to connect with as many people as possible.
You must face cold, hard reality in order to truly determine your situation; despite the benefits of doing so, facing reality is sometimes one of the most painful and difficult things you can do. People do not like to admit their limitations and failures, but doing so is imperative for facing the people and things that constitute your reality. When you face reality you realize where you can go, and you gain the power to change your situation for the better.
Being present is crucial to your career’s success and longevity. The more that you are present in your career, the more valuable you will be to your employer, and thus the more likely you will be to keep your job. Employers want commitment and presence in their employees, and those possessing such attributes will always prevail over those who do not.
No organization or person will succeed for long without a strategy; be part of a company with a strategic objective. Furthermore, you must develop your own overall strategic objectives for you life and career. Create daily to-do lists that will bring you closer to your goals; such tools keep you focused and enable you to accomplish far more than those without a strategy.
You can make the most out of any situation by using your mind creatively. Your imagination is your most important tool, and your strongest skill is your ability to imagine what you want. Imagine the person you wish to become and the career you wish to have, and stay focused on this vision. Use your imagination, and never stop dreaming about what you want to accomplish.
To determine the sort of career you should be pursuing, you need to determine whether you are a tangible or intangible-oriented person. Many people fail in jobs simply because those jobs did not cater to their specific skills and interests. Tangible-oriented people seek work within clear guidelines, whereas people interested in the intangible are more comfortable around new and unproven concepts. To succeed in your career, you need to understand you inner nature and choose a workplace accordingly.
Many people are in a situation in their own lives where they have given up. After enough discouragement, pain and suffering they have concluded that trying anymore is worthless–that no matter what they do, they are not going to get the result they want. Instead of trying, fighting and moving forward, they stop.
To be happy, you must create the life that you want on your own terms. Structure your life in a manner that is fulfilling to you, rather than a vision of what you want to be or a vision that outside influences have created for you. The inability to design your own life is one of the worst tragedies that can befall you. When you design your own life you are in complete charge of your life’s events, and you set the rules any way you choose.
One Saturday night when I was around 14, one of my neighbors, a 16-year-old boy who was a well-liked athlete at the local high school, went out with friends to a local party, got very drunk, and had someone give him a ride home. How drunk was he? He was so drunk he somehow walked into his neighbor’s house through the front door, instead of his own. The owner of the house awoke, and, greatly alarmed, pulled a pistol out of his nightstand, went downstairs, and shot the boy in the head, killing him instantly.
In this article Harrison discusses that the meaning you give to things will control the quality of your life. How we feel about ourselves is all due to what we tell ourselves certain things will mean. The meaning you give things is crucial for your career success. You need to choose meanings that make you stronger. You need to ensure you interpret things in a way that serves you and does not hurt you. You need to reach your full potential. Don’t classify yourself as someone who is not fit to succeed at the level at which you’re capable. You need to take charge of your mind to have the career and the life that you deserve.
In this article Harrison discusses the importance of ‘energy’ over technical skills. When people are hiring you they are purchasing your “energy” more than they are purchasing your technical skills. They are interested in your ability to influence the world around you through your energy. When you are marketing yourself and seeking a job, or working in a job, there are essentially two things you are marketing. You are marketing your technical skills, but more importantly you are marketing an intangible sort of energy. The most successful people have mastered the art of projecting positive energy. The better your energy, the more employable you will be and the farther you will go.
The most successful people in the world share the common characteristic of sharing, or concentrating on the value that they give back to others rather than on their own growth and profit. Focusing on yourself never leads to long-term success, but leads instead to unhappiness as well as emotional and financial challenges. Your greatest consideration, therefore, should be how you can contribute to others, and how your actions can impact their lives.
Everything you do is a form of preparation for your job interviews, as you are always under some form of scrutiny. The best employees can always spot other good employees, and you cannot “fake it”; merely doing a good job in your work is a form of interview preparation. Always put your all into your work, therefore, even if you do not have long-term plans to remain at your current employment. Switch jobs as infrequently as possible. The time to prepare for a job search is before you even realize that you need to do so.
In this article Harrison discusses that you absolutely and positively need a mission and it is going to change your life. When you find something you are good at, and approach it like a mission, everything changes. A mission is much more powerful than being good at lots of things. Employers want to hire people on a mission. Your career needs to be a mission. This is the most important career advice you will ever receive. The highest state of work is when you are on a mission. The difference between having a job, or career and having a mission is huge. A mission will propel you forward. A mission will bring you everything you ever wanted. A mission will open up opportunities and will transform your life and career. There is nothing more important than a mission. You need to be on a mission.
When myriad candidates are applying to limited positions, practicing unusual tactics in your job hunt will prove far more helpful than following the established routine and waiting for positions to come to you. Much like in military strategy, well-planned and unconventional moves can help you conquer your goals without suffering significant losses. You can land an excellent position by focusing on companies’ needs, rather than depending on job and recruiting advertisements.
Think about your ultimate purpose in life, and what you are currently doing to accomplish it. Everyone is gifted with unique talents, and a failure to identify and utilize yours would be tragic for your life and career. The greater purpose you identify in your life, the greater the obstacles you will face. If you persevere and push through these hurdles, you will find the rewards to also be correspondingly greater.
Two fundamental laws of the universe are that order leads to disorder, and disorder leads to order. Since disorder always leads to order, you must always view disorder as a positive rather than a negative; disorder in your life is an opportunity to reorganize your life and career into something better. Making both order and disorder work for you will enhance your chances of success in career and life.
Going after companies on an “explosive growth” trend is among the most interesting and beneficial things you can do in your job search, as many such companies will hire you even if they do not have openings. Similarly, you can get hired in booming industries and geographical areas even if there are no openings, simply by showing up. Apply to growing companies, even if they do not have open positions.
In this article Harrison discusses the significance of conditioning yourself to develop behaviors that will elevate you in your life. One of the most difficult things for anyone to do is to get leverage over themselves and condition themselves to go in a new direction. Very few people are ever able to make very fundamental transformations in their lives and become someone completely new and completely improved—and stick with it. Major improvements in our lives come only when we condition ourselves over and over again in one direction. You need to get leverage over yourself and condition new habits and behaviors within yourself to make any sort of fundamental and lasting change. The conditioning needs to be part of your lifestyle. You need to condition yourself to adopt new patterns in your life.