There’s an unattributed quote that I’ve seen on the signature line of correspondence from IMA® staff. It reads: “I think that when the dust settles, we will realize how little we need, how very much we actually have, and the true value of human connection.” Those words—which have resonated widely during the global pandemic—got me thinking, most pointedly about being grateful for what we have rather than bemoaning the loss of what we once had. In these challenging times, many of us may be finding it difficult to be thankful. Or we may be earnestly, perhaps myopically, looking forward to the day when we return to normal—whatever that may be, or whether that’s even possible. Yet I say, don’t lose sight of what you have, of what’s in front of you right now.
This perspective is aptly illustrated in an essay, titled “Acres of Diamonds,” by Russell H. Conwell, a minister and the founder of Temple University. The essay tells the true story of a wealthy man who owned a large farm but who wasn’t satisfied and became obsessed with searching for diamonds to grow his wealth. Ultimately, the man spent all his money and died penniless and despondent. Meanwhile, the new owner of his farm noticed a brightly colored rock glinting in the brook that, upon further inspection, turned out to be a large diamond in the rough leading to the discovery of one of the world’s most magnificent diamond mines. The lesson here is simple: You don’t need to look too far to find something that may have great value and for which you should be thankful—you might need to look around close to home. (It’s the same sentiment uttered by Dorothy Gale at the conclusion of The Wizard of Oz: “There’s no place like home.”)
During this difficult period, which has brought many of us deep uncertainty, discomfort, and fear, take the time to look around for what you truly value. Maybe it’s family or friends. Maybe it’s a job that you enjoy or a hobby that makes your heart sing. And maybe, for some, it’s also the value you get from being an IMA member and the resources IMA continues to offer in support of your professional journey. I know that staying engaged with our careers, pursuing continuing education and certification, and remaining connected to our peer community not only brings professional rewards, but it also builds up our belief in ourselves and can give us a sense of personal accomplishment in the midst of tragedy and turmoil.
Personally, I plan on making more of an effort to practice gratitude for the things that are around me right now. And I’d love to hear your stories of the ways you’ve looked around to discover a new appreciation and hope in something you may not have noticed before. Please share your thoughts with me on this or any other topic at firstname.lastname@example.org.