Your Little, Golden Drops of Almond Oil

By Dr. Yomi Garnett

“To trust a man, you must know his house.”
The Caliph

THE SECRET OF HAPPINESSOnce upon a time, in the old Ottoman Empire, there lived a shoe cobbler who loved his only son so much that he wanted the boy to have only the best the world had to offer. So, one fine, wintry morning, he dispatched the young lad to the far reaches of the Empire to seek out the wisest man in the world, to learn about the secret of happiness. After a sojourn lasting sixty days, the boy, whose name was Fahd, finally arrived at the place of abode of the wisest man in the world, a distinguished-looking man called The Caliph, by all who knew him. The Caliph lived in a beautiful and well-appointed palace, high up in the mountains. Fahd found him in the Grand Ballroom of the palace amidst a plethora of activities. Against the background of a small Arabian orchestra, merchants came and went, people engaged in discreet conversations in corners, and another motley crowd converged to partake of a sumptuous banquet of the most delicious food laid out on long tables. The Caliph was obviously hosting an important event, as he was preoccupied with little snatches of animated discussion with one guest after the other. Fahd had to wait for six hours before the great man could give him the slightest attention.

Fahd: “My father has sent me to you to learn the secret of happiness.”

The Caliph: (after listening attentively for a few minutes) “I do not, regrettably, have time yet to explain the secret of happiness. However, I suggest that you take a tour of my palace and return to me in two hours. In the meantime, I crave your indulgence to, as you wander around, carry this spoon with you without allowing the oil to spill.”

With this, he handed the boy a teaspoon that held a drop of almond oil.
Fahd embarked upon his tour, climbing and descending the many staircases of the palace, and traversing its endless maze of elegant hallways and corridors. Throughout this excursion, he kept his eyes fixed on the spoon. Presently, after two hours, he returned to the Grand Ballroom to meet with the wise man.

The Caliph: “Well, I hope you enjoyed the tour. Did you see the exquisite Persian blinds in the Sun Room? Did you see the magnificent gardens that took my Babylonian master gardener five years to create? Did you see the beautiful, leather-bound volumes of ancient writings in my library?”

Fahd: (shuffling his feet in acute embarrassment and discomfiture) “I confess, O Caliph, that I observed nothing. My only preoccupation was not to spill the oil you entrusted in my care.”

The Caliph: “In that case, you must go back to observe and savor the delights of my world, for to trust a man, you must know his house.”

Relieved at the minimal censure he got from the wise man, Fahd picked up the spoon and resumed his exploration of The Caliph’s palace. This time, he observed all the objects d’art hanging on the tapestried walls, and the frescoes on the ceilings. He saw the enchanting gardens and the rich chinese silk that draped the furniture, and he marveled at the discerning and exquisite taste that had been deployed to create the paradise The Caliph called a palace. Proudly, he related all he had seen to the wise man in detail.

The Caliph: “But where is the drop of almond oil I entrusted in your care?”

Fahd looked down at the spoon he held. The drop of oil was gone!

The Caliph: “Well, I have only one advice for you. The secret of happiness is to observe and savor all the delights of this world, and never to forget the drop of oil on the spoon.”

With that, The Caliph sent the boy back to his father.


The moral of this quaint, little story is simply this: in the quest for the many delights, marvels and treasures of this world, many people extricate their valuable attention from quite a lot of seemingly insignificant, but very important things and details in their lives. For instance, a man goes in glorious search of the Holy Grail of success. He becomes so enraptured by the drive to conquer the world of commerce to the exclusion of all that he previously held dear. His value system undergoes such a massive distortion that, all too soon, he finds himself in a state of total alienation from his spouse and children. He has tragically forgotten to keep an eye on those golden drops of oil.
Indeed, as you plan and progress towards what is ahead, you must continually check on what is near at hand. As you strive to become great, remain careful about the seemingly small. Prepare for your success in little ways and you will see the result in big ways.
The apparently unimportant may actually turn out to be more important than you realize. Simply refuse to overlook the small things of life. Regard each and everything with the discerning eye of an accomplished and consummate detective.
Goal setting is the master-skill of success. Many people have mastered the art of goal setting. The only constraint they have is that they are quite narrow in their scope of focus, setting goals only in the material sphere of life, usually in the largely misguided and unarticulated belief that acquisition of the toys of life will immediately guarantee access to everlasting happiness. This, as has been proven in the lives of supposedly great men and women, is a fatal error.
To live true to the only authentic meaning of unqualified success, which is the progressive realization of goal after worthy goal, any fully-functioning individual must set goals in the six critical areas of life:

A truly great person must strive for greatness in all these areas.
Happiness, incredibly can be found in the very simple things. A friend once told me that that once, on a visit to the Philippines, he witnessed the sun set over Manilla Bay, and that has remained one of the happiest days in his life to this day.
Remember, everyone on this earth has a treasure awaiting him in the form of the little pleasures of this world. Sadly, most people have allowed their everyday quest for a living to rob them of the innate joy in seeking out these treasures.

That is why it is sublimely said that, in your perfectly valid quest to make a living, you must also seek to make a life.

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Profile PictureDr. Yomi Garnett is a physician, author, public speaker, and a world-class Ghostwriter. He is HOST of the popular Internet Radio Talk Show, DREAM THE LIFE, LIVE THE DREAM, on the VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network, in Phoenix, Arizona. Eminently regarded as one of the world’s most accomplished Ghostwriters, Dr. Garnett is President/CEO at The Global Institute For Human Excellence, Chancellor/CEO at Royal Biographical Institute, ROBIN, and Host of The Garnett Interview- America’s First Celebrity Newsletter Interview, an Online, High Profile and Social Media-propelled Interview series. He is Author : “365 DAYS OF WISDOM: A Daily Companion For The Soul In Search of Enlightenment.
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