Over three hundred years ago, the Burmese army planned to invade Thailand. At the time, Thailand was known as Siam. Hearing of the impending attack, Siamese monks at a large monastery were determined to protect their shrine and the prized object it contained: an amazing 10 foot high solid gold Buddha statue. While it was priceless to them for reasons that transcend money, the monks knew the Burmese soldiers would stop at nothing to steal the statue because of its tremendous value.
The monks quickly covered the Golden Buddha with 12 inches of clay knowing that the foreign invaders would totally ignore it and think it worthless. Sadly, the members of the monastery were slaughtered in the ensuing attack and the secret of the Golden Buddha stayed hidden for two hundred years.
In the mid 1950′s, the government of Thailand set out to relocate the monastery to make room for a new highway. The resident monks arranged for a crane to come and move the clay Buddha to a new location. However, when the crane started to lift the statue, it was much heavier than expected and it began to crack. Wanting to protect the ancient shrine, the monks ordered the crane operator to lower the statue back to the ground as they awaited the arrival of more powerful equipment.
That evening, a torrential monsoon rain descended on the area. So the local monks lovingly and painstakingly set out to cover the statue with tarps to keep the moisture away. In the dark of night, with the rain still raging, the lead monk took his flashlight and went out to ensure the Buddha was adequately covered. When the light of his flashlight shone into a crack in the clay, he saw a glimmer…a reflection of something of potential value buried beneath the shroud of clay.
In order to find the source of the reflection, he started carefully chiseling away shards of clay. The more clay he proceeded to chip away, the brighter the glimmer grew. Hours later, and with all the clay removed, the stunned monk stood speechless in the presence of a Buddha made of solid gold.
Today, the statue resides in The Temple of the Golden Buddha in Bangkok, Thailand. Weighing in excess of 6 tons and valued at over $200 Million dollars, it is the largest solid gold statue in the world. And to think such an amazing treasure was buried there all those years—invisible in plain sight—but no one knew it.
We are all a lot like this one-time clay covered statue. Our real value is inside us. The internal treasure of our true potential remains hidden from view. Unless we are willing to chip away our common way of living to reveal the golden future waiting to be revealed to those around us.
Here are five self-improvement ideas to consider if you want your true value to be known to the world.
Remind yourself you have immense power: Settling for less than we are capable of being or doing, or staying right where we are indefinitely, won’t get us very far. We each possess the power to make our moments more productive and enjoyable simply by realizing that where we are is a great beginning point for where we want to be.
Ask yourself, “Am I satisfied with the direction I am currently going?
Conquer Yourself: Keep in mind that being true to yourself is the foundation of happiness and success in life. Knowing yourself is the foundation of wisdom. Pushing yourself builds a foundation for success. It is more important to conquer yourself in these ways, than it is to win dozens of battles elsewhere in life.
Ask yourself, “Am I acting consistent with my values? Am I pursuing my path, or a path someone has prescribed for me?”
Expect Speed Bumps: The path to success is littered with missteps and mistakes. Avoiding them is impossible. What will ultimately define your success or failure won’t be the number of challenges and difficulties you encounter, but how you overcome them.
Ask yourself, “Am I responding to life’s speed bumps and hurdles in ways that enable me to grow into my full potential?
Resolve to Make a Difference: All of us want to lead lives of meaning and significance. Choose to do what you do because you believe it’s the right thing to do. Be a difference maker.
Ask yourself, “Am I doing what I can to leave the world a little better than I found it.”
Our daily lives overflow with opportunities to learn, grow, develop our strengths, and move forward. Every day provides a new opportunity to allow our very best self to see the light of day. But it is up to each of us to do the work required to reveal our potential to those around us.
Don’t keep such an amazing treasure buried, invisible in plain sight. Resolve today to use your talents, gifts and skills to add unique value to your surroundings.
No torrential monsoon rain required to get started.