A man was speaking to a small group of people, and he asked how many would like the chance to win a diamond. Everyone volunteered. He put out 50 diamonds on the table. Forty nine of them were fake and one was real. Each person would get 60 seconds to examine them. If they found the real diamond, they got to keep it. A magnifying glass was also provided so they could inspect each one.

Each person examined the diamonds and none of them were able to discover the real one. Once they were finished, the man started the timer to give himself 60 seconds. In just 55 seconds, he lined them all up. With five seconds to spare, he said "This is the real diamond" and held it up.

How could he tell the difference? Since the fakes were all identical, they all looked perfect and flawless. The one real diamond had a small imperfection in it because natural stones do. Once they were all lined up, it was obvious to the naked eye.

What's the moral of the story? A whole group of people tried to find a diamond, and they couldn't. Why? Because they didn't have a plan. The speaker did have a plan, and because of his plan, he was able to execute the action swiftly and successfully.

I love this story because that's exactly how life is. No matter what it is you want to accomplish, you must understand the system, and you must have a plan. Sure, there are some people who do get lucky. Fate makes a crazy twist and people become wildly successful. But even then, the moment can be fleeting, because once you get to the top, you still need a plan to stay there.

Often times, I'll hear people complain about their lives. Something's always wrong, isn't it? You hate your job; you don't have enough money; your relationships are miserable. If you're looking for something to be wrong, I promise you'll always find it.

But for every bad situation, there is a plan to make it better. Don't like your job? Quit and do what you really love. Don't have enough money? Find a way to make more. Don't like your relationships? Well... have you ever thought about the people you're attracting into your life? If you don't have a plan, how will you go about finding what you want?

I understand this can be a sensitive topic for people. When they tell me what's wrong with their life, I like to ask what's stopping them from making it better. They often seem perplexed and surprised that I'd suggest such a thing. Make it better? How absurd. It makes much more sense to wallow in self-pity and play the victim.

A good plan will get you anywhere in life. Some people are born lucky. But most of us work to get where we want to be. Make a plan for your best life, and watch as it all becomes reality.

*The diamonds story was loosely translated from a story I read in a book called One Minute Millionaire by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen.

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This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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