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   Pastor Russell Conwell was a Baptist minister who lived from 1843 to 1925. He became a famous orator by giving a lecture called Acres of Diamonds. This lecture was given over 6,000 times and became a top-selling book. Conwell’s story centered on a man who was so intent on finding diamonds that he left his profitable farm, sold all his possessions in search of diamonds. After exhausting all his money and finding no diamonds, the man was broke and came to learn that the very farm he had sold had become a famous diamond mine.

   Russell Conwell used the proceeds of this lecture to start Temple University in Philadelphia. Conwell’s central philosophy is that the great treasures and wealth of life lie right where we live and in our own backyards.

   Finding treasure and happiness in our own back yard can mean many things to different people. Not everyone will find diamonds or wealth where they live. But each of us can find friendship, a solid trade or someone to love right where we stand this very day. Today’s image is a photo I just took of a babbling creek in a state park just a few miles from my home. While I had been to the park many times, I had never discovered this beautiful site until recently.

   Many of us don’t find beauty, riches or happiness in our own communities because we don’t look in the right places. We may stereotype our neighbors or fail to see potential in the people and places of our youth. All around us lays beauty, talent and opportunity if we will only drop our assumptions and look deeper into the woods.

   I found this special place you see in the woods because I asked the attendant at the gate of the park where he would go if he wanted a quiet place to meditate. He told me that not many people knew about it because it was off the beaten path and was not a marked main attraction. I wonder how many local people have missed this beautiful site or have traveled across the state in search of scenic serenity when it existed right in our own backyard.

   Take the challenge this week to find new treasure, new sights and make new friends right where you are. Don’t sell out and go away and miss the real diamonds that are in the ground beneath your feet.

Joe Turnham has gained a national reputation both as a political figure and tier-one consultant to a myriad of clients. Joe’s services are in demand nationally as a consultant, speaker, political advisor and commentator. Click here to learn more about Joe.

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