“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”
Yang Song Long family always lived at the farm in Fengdong. His great-grandfather and generations of his family preceding him, would grow wheat and corn and travel 6 hours away to sell them at the market. It didn't bring much money in and there were many years where all the men in the family had one warm coat to share among them.
On a cold, cloudy morning in March 1974, Yang wore the coat and along with a few other farmers, he went into the field to search for a new water resource. The one that the farm had was already in use for more than 3 generations and was almost drained out. Hour after hour, they dug into the ground in hopes of seeing signs of an underground water supply. When they were ready to move to another spot, all of the sudden, they noticed something strange, something that looked like the ceramic face of a warrior. They dug deeper and soon they uncovered a stiff neck and strong shoulders.
"What is this?" the farmers stared at each other.
What they uncovered was a terracotta warrior. Quietly, they all ran back to the village to share the news.
Museum employees and archaeologists were there within a day. A 15 km area of land was closed off for archaeological research that lasted until now. 6,000 terracotta warriors were unearthed.
The terracotta warriors were part of the mausoleum for the first emperor of a unified Chinese empire, Emperor Qinshihuang. Each of the terracotta warriors is unique, some with weapons and horses. They speak not only to the legacy of the emperor, but to the intricacies of the artists who put so much work into them, and the military that so boldly protected and served during that era. Only four pits containing terracotta warriors have been partially excavated. Although construction on this mausoleum was never finished because of a labor uprising following the emperor's death, it's estimated that over 8,000 figures exist. It is the largest preserved site in China, under UNESCO patronage.
But what happened to the poor farmers? They couldn't cultivate their land anymore, the land that had belonged to their families for generations. How would they survive? They were unwilling to move, and understandably so. It's so beautiful there, just under the shade of the mountains.
As a sign of appreciation, the government granted the families the opportunity to create a business here. They opened gift shops, fast food courts, and more on the site that's visited by millions.
That's how Yang Song Long became a millionaire.