The Parable of the Touchstone

The Great Library of Alexandria once held the wisdom of the ancient world. When it burned down, billions of invaluable thoughts perished. One book, however, survived. Since it wasn't considered a valuable book, a poor man bought it for a few coppers. He was not very literate and thought the book dull. The only thing of interest to him was a thin strip of vellum. Written on it was the secret known as the "Touchstone."

The touchstone, the writing on the vellum strip explained, was a small pebble with magical powers. The pebble could turn any common metal into pure gold. Unfortunately, this pebble looked exactly like any other on the shores of the Black Sea. But the secret was that the touchstone would feel extraordinarily warm. Ordinary pebbles, by contrast, were relatively cold.

In a matter of days after purchasing the book, the man had hastily sold his few belongings. He used the money to buy some simple supplies for his travel to the shores of the Black Sea.

He began testing pebbles on the first day he arrived. He devised a simple but effective plan to avoid picking up the same pebble over again. When he picked up a cold pebble, he would throw it into the sea.

Years passed. Every day, he picked up pebbles and threw them into the sea. He made his living by fishing and spent his nights sleeping under his torn, damp blanket on the cold beach. With each pebble that he threw into the sea, his hopes diminished. One day, one fine day, indistinguishable from the blur of other days that had passed before, he picked up a pebble, a warm pebble, an extraordinarily warm pebble-and threw it into the sea.

The Success Principle

Your mind, once filled with inspiration, can become dull and useless once you lose touch with your attention and awareness.

The Principle at Work

In the parable, after years of picking up pebbles and throwing them into the sea, his mind had become dull with conditioning, his motion of throwing automatic. Lulled into habit, his senses had become dull, his sense of discrimination tarnished. Because he had become the slave of autonomic responses, he lost what he had spent years looking for.

The poor man ended up becoming poorer still-although he had found a secret which would have made him fabulously rich. He should have succeeded because he followed numerous success principles. He took a risk when he bought the book. He focused on its most vital information. He acted on this information by gathering his resources and heading out to the scene of the action.

On the shore, he devised a simple and elegant strategy. And, with single-minded intensity, he persisted, working on his chosen task methodically, relentlessly.

He made only one single mistake: he succumbed to habit and he did not think about what he was doing. His attention had wavered, his focus lost. His loss of awareness was his undoing.

Awareness, then, is the key ingredient to making all the success principles come to life.

You can do everything right but still fail if your mind has lost its sharpness and become dulled by routine.

The hero of the story had no-one and nothing to blame but himself, and his only failing was that he had failed to be awake, alert to his golden moment. Similarly, we are all responsible for ourselves, and cannot blame others for our loss of opportunity. It is our alertness, our depth of awareness that makes for success or failure, happiness or despair.

Resource Box

Saleem Rana got his Masters degree in psychotherapy from California Lutheran University. His articles on the internet have inspired over ten thousand people from around the world. Discover how to create a remarkable life

Copyright 2004 Saleem Rana. Please feel free to pass this article on to your friends, or use it in your ezine or newsletter. It's a shareware article.

In The News:

Ariane success for SkyPerfect |  Advanced Television
Dressing for Success  Mississippi State Newsroom
Atoskewin Success Gathering draws crowd to WDM  The Battlefords News-Optimist
NSWRL reveals season of success at AGM  New South Wales Rugby League
Wrestling team 'hungry' for more success  Akron Leader Publications
JMC hailed a success  Jamaica Observer

From Rags To Riches

Nicholas Darvas, escaping his war-torn homeland, Hungary, sought refuge in... Read More

Action Speaks Louder Than Words

I have written much about how, in order to have... Read More

7.9 Things I Learned About Success From Darth Vader

Unless you have been living in a cave, you have... Read More

The Secret of Lasting Personal Change

Why do diets end up in gained weight? Why do... Read More

Imagine That

"See, I told you so," she emailed me, "it turned... Read More

Characteristics of Successful People

Each human being, who exists above the level of simple... Read More

Are You the Reason for Your Lack of Success?

Have you ever noticed when playing a video game, or... Read More

Life Issues Pt. 1 - Success

Hello everybody and a good day (or night !) to... Read More

Take Care of Yourself to Achieve Maximum Results (part 1)

All too often, we push ourselves past the limits of... Read More

Career Management and Life Planning Tools: Eight Powerful Questions About Your Future

"Most people don't plan to fail. They just fail to... Read More

Preparing For Success

Everyone wants to be successful. Everyone wants to have more,... Read More

Will You Be Successful?

We all want success. You do. So do I. Some... Read More

You Are What You Think You Are

Think out of the box, they say. But what's a... Read More

Amazing Mind Control Secret... Your Key to Ultimate Success

Understand and apply this one secret to your own life,... Read More

Do You Really Think So?

It's not new news. It's not some ethereal theory. It's... Read More

Seven Steps for Success

"The secret of success is to make what you are... Read More

Do You Want to Just Survive or Thrive? (Part 2)

"Fighting to pay the bills is hardly worth it? fight... Read More

Opening Your Unlimited Potential

It is high time you know the truth about yourselves.... Read More

Success Analysis - The Concept of Critical Mass

How many times have you thought about being successful, famous,... Read More

How to Lose Your Money, Fake Your Destiny with Great Success

Everyone talks about how to be successful through hard work... Read More

The Need To Be Successful

The need to be successful. This is the bottom line... Read More

Discover Your Path to Success - Part 3

If you have read this far, we both know you... Read More

Raise Your Bar: The Power of Yes

Every one of us lives with a ceiling, a belief... Read More

The Fastest Way to Success

Your mind is the only tool that can create success... Read More

Inoculate Yourself Against Negativity

Unfortunately we come into contact with negativity everyday. We can't... Read More