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How many times do we overlook or devalue our own incredible gifts?

Forest of Gold

June 3rd 2011

Welcome to this introductory message of the Durango Chamber of Commerce and Mastery Link International's Professional Development Program! A quote by Les Brown sets the stage for this program.  He says:  "To achieve something you've never achieved before, you must become someone you've never been before."

Each week we will provide a short message of instruction and inspiration.  Through these messages we will help you become the individual and organization that you desire -- one that consistently achieves higher levels of excellence.  We hope you enjoy this first message that provides the foundation upon which we will continue to build. 

Click Here to listen to Today's Message or, you will find the written version below.

Once you have listened to or read Today's Message please return and click on the following link The Power of a Dream to watch an associated video presented by 'The Foundation for a Better Life.'

The Pau Brasil Tree

A critical starting point in our series of messages is for you to understand that you have incredible value. The influence for good that you can have in others lives is immeasurable. You must NEVER underestimate or minimize your ability to make a difference.

A story in the National Geographic was written about Pernambuco, the famous and rare wood of the pau brasil tree. For hundreds of years, this precious material from Brazil has been used to make the finest musical instruments in the world. In fact, Joshua Bell, a renowned violinist, uses a 200-year-old bow made from this natural resource. The value of this piece of wood, not much bigger than a standard ruler, is over $40,000. Many of the locals in the communities where this wood is found, however, do not recognize the value in this treasure. They use this 'Forest of Gold' for common uses such as fence posts and even firewood.

This oversight is a typical experience in many of our lives, whether we’re looking at the precious Pernambuco or at our own talents and abilities. How many times do we overlook or devalue our own incredible gifts? We view them as ordinary or common instead of using them to create the kind of life and career we want.

Let me give you an example: Just a little over two years ago, the Washington Post organized an event to see if people would recognize beauty in a commonplace environment? Similar to that of the Brazilian's who did not know the value of the Pernambuco as they walked by it every day, people of Washington DC, by the thousands did the same thing.

A Violinist in the Metro Subway

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in without stopping and continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. He stopped to look at the violinist but shortly, his mother pushed him along. As they walked away, the child continued to turn his head to watch.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32.00. When he finished playing and silence took over - no one noticed it. No one applauded.

The violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world, playing one the most intricate pieces ever written for the violin. The violin with which he played was worth 3.5 million dollars (and, as mentioned earlier, the $40,000 bow was made from the pau brasil tree)

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell played to a sold out crowd at a theater in Boston where the seats sold for an average of $100.00. This test demonstrated that we often pass by or don't notice some of the most beautiful things in this world.

We all have priceless gifts—our own Forest of Gold. It is up to us to recognize, develop and use our talents and abilities for what they are instead of building fences, making fires or missing out entirely on their beauty.

Of course, we face the big enemies of fear and doubt, but something far more insidious and wasteful is when we allow ourselves to walk by what could be our best, and not notice the contribution we can make. Instead of creating masterpieces in our lives with our Forest of Gold, we use our gifts and talents for fence posts or firewood.

Take heart—have faith in yourself and recognize that you’ve got more power, talent and ability than you could use in a hundred lifetimes! Understand that the most successful people in the world accomplished what they did, not because they were gifted beyond their piers, but because they learned to use and develop their gifts through struggles, heartaches and failures.

Please.....Never doubt your value --- You are a Forest of Gold!

“Your success depends mainly upon what you think of yourself and whether you believe in yourself. You can succeed if nobody else believes it, but you will never succeed if you don’t believe in yourself.”
William J.H. Boetcker

(Thoughts for this message were contributed by articles written in National Geographic, snopes.com, the Washington Post, and by D.J. Vanas)