This morning it begins.
The first article in “A Search for a Better Life” begins with a personal glimpse and a personal challenge.
The words that follow are not meant to be a self-proclamation, but a simple revealing of someone trying to get better. While not perfect, I seek to do better.
These are not anyone’s word or thoughts but mine.
Grab your cup of coffee and hopefully enjoy.
For years, Russell Conwell traveled the world sharing one simple story, “Acres of Diamonds” It would be this one story which challenged the
As the story goes, a man became infatuated with diamonds and sold all he had to search for the diamonds his heart desired. The man’s name was Ali Hafed.
Upon a lifetime of searching, Ali did not find the diamonds he desired. In the process, he lost his health and all that he possessed. Finally, discontent with his search and his failure, he took his own life in the sea.
In the meantime, the farmer who purchased Ali Hafed’s farm stumbled across an object in the garden brook. Upon inspection, the new landowner noticed the beautiful colors reflected from the stone. He decided to set the stone his mantle.
A little while later and village priest noticed that stone on the mantle. “It’s a diamond!” shouted the priest.
Sure enough, the new landowner had bought a farm full of diamonds.
Ali Hafed, while searching the world for the diamonds his heart desired, sold they very field that possessed all the diamonds he would ever need.
As simple as the story Russell Conwell traveled the world sharing, the principle is true. Many people will travel the world searching for a better life when they are standing in the middle of the best life available. The problem is, they do not recognize the opportunity.
Searching for a better life amid a chaotic world means one should do so with open eyes. Some of our greatest opportunities to improve our lives are right before us; all we must do is notice.
In my search for a better life, I have been made uncomfortable.
Honestly, I do not like to be uncomfortable. I like to find myself doing what I want to do, in the routine I want to do it, at the time that I want to do it. I like things to fit my comfort. The things that I find uncomfortable frustrate me. They break me out of my shell and force me to reach beyond my abilities into areas I do not want to go.
I still dislike being uncomfortable. I must leave what I know and begin a journey into the unknown. But guess what, 99% of times, I learn something I never had before.
Life is Uncomfortable
I hated learning to ride a bike.
My first bike was an old painted green bike bought a garage sale. I thought I could just hop on the seat and start pedaling away. Little did I know there is more to a bike than hopping on it and riding. You must learn balance.
Balance was more than sitting on the seat. Balance had to do with body position, steering the bike and moving your feet – all at the same time.
Well, my frustration of five minutes turned to anger. I remember taking the bike and slamming it into the retaining wall at my grandparents’ house and asking God to reign down fire upon the bike. I hate it.
In my mind, I not only hated riding a bike. I figured riding a bike was the dumbest thing known to man. I was done.
Well, a few weeks later, I was back on the bike and flying down my grandparent’s driveway toward the ramp I had made from scrap wood. What changed?
I had decided that riding a bike was not as bad as I first thought. I knew that once I got going, I could go places faster, jump from ramps, do wheelies and even wreck. It would take a little while, but being uncomfortable for a better reward was worth it.
Life makes us uncomfortable, but the rewards are worth it.
Searching for a Better Life is Uncomfortable
When I first started searching for a better life, it was uncomfortable. Not only did I had to leave what I found to be pleasing to what I wanted and liked, but I also had to begin making sacrifices.
Sacrifice is not a word we typically associated with a better life. Usually, when we hear the word “sacrifice” we know what we are going to give something up, and sometimes it might hurt.
However, a sacrifice is not always negative. Many times, when we see the opportunity, the sacrifices we make are worth it. We may not see an immediate benefit, but the long-range benefit outweighs the short-term sacrifice.
When I learned to ride a bike, I made a sacrifice of time as well as skinned knees and hands. Those sacrifices led to knowledge that would benefit me later in life. Those short weeks of learning to ride propelled me into times spent riding around town with my friends, and even jumping a ravine at the local city park which did not turn out too well, but makes for a great story.
Making a sacrifice to reap long-term results is something we all have made at various times in our lives. It is also something we will do again.
My Sacrifice While Searching for Truth
At various points, I decided to give up certain things was well worth the cost of a better life.
See, I grew up in a conservative, non-political, religious home. I am the oldest child, which means I am the first to travel many paths in life. My upbringing was unique, and I would not trade it for any other. There were struggles along the path, but I look back now and see that each struggle was just me finding my way in the world.
Growing up in the time and place I did, was different than most people I know, but that does not make it any less significant. I am thankful for the way that I was raised, and it made me into the person I am today.
However, I was always a searching child. I always asked the question, “Why?” because I wanted to know. I was and still am intrigued by the small things of life, and I stand in awe of many other things.
Each one of us has asked the question, “Why?” Because you are reading this series, “A Search for Truth,” I have a feeling you are looking to find some answers to the questions you have had and will have in the future.
Where Your Search Begins
Your search begins when you start to answer a few questions. The questions below are for you to find your starting point. Every journey begins somewhere, and yours can begin today at the very place you are currently.
Let these questions be the beginning of “A Search for a Better Life.”
What are you searching for today?
In the story, Acres of Diamonds, Ali Hafed wanted earthly wealth, and when he found himself dissatisfied, he lost all that he had; including his life.
I am not searching for earthly wealth, and I do not think you are either. I am searching for meaning and purpose, but also a legacy. I want to leave a legacy for my children, grandchildren, and generations to come. I prefer, in my self-interest, not to die and be forgotten. I desire to be someone who leaves a legacy for others to see and learn from my success and failures.
Simply put, I want to leave an influence for the better.
Where are you searching?
Many times, like Ali Hafed in Acres of Diamonds, people search far and wide, and the answers are right in front of them. In my search, I simply looked at my starting place and all the opportunities around me to find where I needed to go next.
I did not have to look very far to see where I needed to be. I suspect you will not have to look very far either.
Where do you want to go?
I want to go far. Not physically far, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually far. Distance is not in physical miles but mental clarity. I know people who have only traveled several hundred miles from where they grew up, and they have a greater focus and clarity than other I know who have traveled the world.
By the way, education is not always an indicator of how far you will go. As Mark Twain is credited as saying, “Do not let school get in the way of your education.”
Still with Me?
I hope I have not lost you yet. I hope you are still with me.
This series is an open-hearted look at life by a struggling, rambunctious and searching adult who wants to leave the world a little bit better than when he first arrived. There is no perfection here. In fact, if you stick around long enough you will see the imperfections for what they are worth.
Many people write only about success, but now and then we need some to write about their failures, so we all can learn together.
Next Week, let’s talk about choices and consequences.
Just some thoughts,