I cannot begin to name the times when a project's direct reward proved to be far less valuable than what was learned in the course of the project. It is not surprising that we learn from disasters. Less obvious may be the lessons we glean from what initially seemed to be run-of-the-mill projects that at some point turned into bigger, and more exciting, courses of discovery.
Once we've adopted the role of prospector, it is as if the hidden treasure had been waiting for us to approach the mountain in a certain direction. Later, we thank God that we didn't dismiss that journey as just a minor task.