When the great library of Alexandria burned, the story goes one book was saved. But it was not valuable book; so a poor man, who could read a little, bought it for a few coppers. The book wasn't very interesting, but between its pages there was something very interesting indeed. It was a thin strip of vellum on which was written the secret of the "Touchstone."

The Touchstone was a small pebble that could turn any common metal in to pure gold. The writing explained that it was lying among thousands of other pebbles that look exactly like it. But the secret was this: The real stone would feel warm, while ordinary pebbles are cold. So the man sold his few belongings, bought some simple supplies, camped on the seashore, and began testing pebbles.

He knew that if he picked up ordinary pebbles and threw them down again because they were cold, he might pick up the same pebble hundreds of time. So, when he felt one that was cold, he threw it in to the sea. He spent a whole day doing this but none of them was touchstone. Yet he went on and on this way. Pick up pebble. Cold - threw it in to the sea. Pick up another, threw it in to the sea.The days stretched in to weeks and the weeks in to months. Yet he persisted from morning to night. One day, however, about mid - afternoon, he picked up a pebble and it was warm. He threw it in to the sea before he realized what he had done. He had formed such a strong habit of throwing each pebble in to the sea that when the one he wanted came along, he still threw it away.

So it is with opportunity. Unless we are vigilant, it is easy to fail to recognize an opportunity when it is in hand and it is just easy to throw it away.