27 May 2016

Earlier this week my wife Gail, who is due to deliver our fourth daughter at any time, and I took some time out of the office to get out into the fresh air and enjoy the sunshine. As we walked around Dunham Massey reminiscing about the last time we were in this position, awaiting arrival of our now four -year-old daughter, I realised just how precious these stories are.

The Jones Family at Disney

Disney and children – both great storytellers!

It is fascinating when you think about it. Our worlds are built upon stories. They weave into every area of life, come in all shapes and sizes, and hearing one that resonates can have a profound impact on your life.

One such story, and one of my favourites that I often reference as one of my inspirations, is a true tale shared by Earl Nightingale. Earl describes the story of an African farmer who was fascinated by diamonds, having been told by a visitor of the wealth that they bring and of their discovery all over the continent.

The farmer sold his farm to head out to the diamond line and spent years searching for wealth that he never found. Meanwhile the new owner of the farm had picked up an unusual looking rock about the size of an egg and put it on his mantle. A visitor upon seeing the egg-sized rock told the new owner of the farm that it was, in fact, the biggest diamond that had ever been found.

To which the new owner of the farm replied, ‘Heck, the whole farm is covered with them’ – and sure enough it was.

The farm turned out to be the Kimberly Diamond Mine and the richest the world has ever known. The original farmer was literally standing on ‘Acres of Diamonds’ until he sold his farm.

The moral, of course, is that each of us could be standing on our own field of diamonds if only we took the time to appreciate and develop what we have.

You may well be, at this very moment, standing in your own field of diamonds!

Stories like these are the greatest communication tool that we have as people. Equally, hearing stories from grandparents describing the world “back in my day”, bedtime stories as children, or anecdotes from colleagues and friends all help us to understand the world a little better.

We learn from people who share their experience. We remember other people and make friends thanks to their stories; in that sense, they also make us memorable when making friends and networking.

In business this is also true. Stories help us find common ground and bring humanity into what can be a cold corporate world at times.

Whilst it is often said that we should leave the past behind and live in the present, I don’t think that that is 100% accurate; it is the past that gives us experience and helps us to learn from our mistakes.

Taking the time to reminisce, to sift through memories is a wonderful experience

Of course, there is little that beats the stories of new arrivals in the family and they’re the ones I will always treasure the most.

I’d love to hear your stories, whether personal or business, fables or experience. 

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