Legend of the Touchstone

A poor man once bought an old book at an open market for a few coppers. Between its pages he found something very interesting indeed: a thin strip of parchment on which was written the legend of the touchstone.

The touchstone, according to the document, was a small pebble that could turn any common metal into pure gold.

The writing explained that it was lying among thousands and thousands of other pebbles on a beach. The real stone would feel warm to the touch, while ordinary pebbles are cold.

The man sold his few belongings, set out for the seashore, and began testing pebbles. He realized if he picked up ordinary pebbles and threw them down again because they were cold, he might inadvertently pick up the same pebble hundreds of times. So, each time he felt one that was cold, he threw it far into the sea.

He spent days at his search, picking up a pebble— cold —then throwing it into the sea... then, picking up another... and throwing it into the sea...

One day, after months and months, the man picked up a pebble and threw it into the sea. As it left his hand, he realized that the pebble had been warm. It was the touchstone!

However, by then, he had formed such a strong habit of throwing each pebble into the sea that when the one he wanted came along, he still threw it away without taking time to feel its warmth.

Don’t let your habits trick you into throwing away your opportunities.

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