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Why the Answers You Seek are Always Closer than You Think

By: Brian Kim - February 3, 2009

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I’m sure most of you reading this have heard of Russell Conwell’s famous lecture, Acres of Diamonds.

For those of you who haven’t heard of that lecture, here’s a brief overview of it.

It’s the story of a farmer who sells his farm and goes out in search for diamonds in far and distant lands but as much as he searches, he never finds them. The new owner of the land looks in the riverbed one day and sees these rocks that seem to have a sparkle to them. Upon closer look, he found they were diamonds. And he didn’t find just a couple diamonds. He found a whole bunch of them. Mines of diamonds. The diamonds the farmer sought were in his own backyard this entire time.

It’s a powerful message that makes us think of looking at what’s right in front of us right now, instead of squinting our eyes way out there. The answer we seek may be right in front of you, closer than you think.


First off, what kind of answers am I talking about?

Answers to any questions you’re facing right now.

Answers to financial problems. Answers to another type of problem. Answers to finding your lifelong mate.

Those types of answers.

Let’s tackle the financial aspect as an example.

Let’s say for whatever reason, you got laid off, you hate your job, you don’t like your career, you’re just basically looking for a new way to make money so you consider taking on a whole new industry with no knowledge or experience. That can be daunting task in it of itself as you’re basically starting from scratch.

But look a little closer.

Maybe you have a rock in front of you right now that doesn’t look like a diamond yet.

I remember reading of a story of a man who hated his job, something most people can relate to. One day, his boss asked him to sell his old truck to the junkyard dealer for $500. He did just that. Then, his boss asked him to buy an engine from an old truck from that same junkyard dealer. The dealer sold the engine back to him for $500.

A light bulb went off in his head.

He just sold the ENTIRE truck for $500 to this exact same dealer, and here’s the exact same dealer selling him an engine, just one part from an old truck, for $500.

He realized how much of a killing the dealer was making so he started his own junkyard but instead of specializing in automobiles, he specialized in tractors. He succeeded beyond his wildest dreams and never looked back.

Most people who hate their jobs want to get away as far as possible from it.

My advice to those who hate their jobs is to simply do the best you can – that alone can open up doors for you and while you do the best you can, look for opportunities. Look closer and you’ll see them. Open your eyes. Stop squinting afar. Look around you. CLOSER. The answers you seek are always closer than you think.

The answers to other problems you have may be closer too. Maybe you have some marriage troubles and instead of going to bookstore, you ask a friend or a person from work who gives you exact answer you need as they went through the same problem themselves.

The same thing could be true of dating. Instead of trying online dating and blind dates, how about looking in your own social circle and/or extended social circle? The person you seek may only be one degree away.

So why are the answers always closer than we think?

First off, we rarely give what’s close to us the attention it deserves. We take it for granted. It’s there everyday so it just becomes part of the background. It does not POP into our field of vision and radar, BUT when we DO give it the attention it deserves, we are at a greater advantage to “milk” all the potential that’s there for all it’s worth simply because we are very familiar with it.

That brings us to the second point:

The more something is closer to us, the more “leverage” we tend to have.

Leverage in terms of time spent, knowledge, experience, relationships built, familiarity, which only gives you a head start to make it easier for you to pursue the answer you find.

For example, going back to the dating example, if you look for someone in your social circle, you have that element of familiarity working for you, you have some sort of foundation set that you can build upon or if you look at your extended circle, you have someone in common to connect you and relate to as well.

Things that are close to us can appear brand new when we stop and take a look at them. More importantly, since it’s close to us already, we have some sort of leverage we can use to pursue the answer we find, whether it’s a relationship, knowledge, experience, etc.

What’s more, it’s easy to get excited and enthusiastic, it’s easy to feel we can answer the problem/question we seek because it’s easy – it’s right in front of us, we have leverage, and we can get a head start. There’s no need to start from scratch.

So if you have a question or a problem you need to solve, stop and look around you instead of looking afar.

And you’ll find that the answers you seek are always closer than you think.

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