March being the month of St Patrick’s Day and as everyone is always looking for their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I thought I would share a story of stopping 3 feet from the gold from the famous book “Think and Grow Rich’’ by Napoleon Hill.
One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. Every person is guilty of this mistake at one time or another. An uncle of R. U. Darby was caught by the “gold fever” in the gold-rush days, and went west to DIG AND GROW RICH. He had never heard that more gold has been mined from the brains of men than has ever been taken from the earth. He staked a claim and went to work with pick and shovel. The going was hard, but his lust for gold was definite.
After weeks of labor, he was rewarded by the discovery of the shining ore. He needed machinery to bring the ore to the surface. Quietly, he covered up the mine, retraced his footsteps to his home in Williamsburg, Maryland, told his relatives and a few neighbors of the “strike.” They got together money for the needed machinery, had it shipped. The uncle and Darby went back to work the mine.
The first car of ore was mined, and shipped to a smelter. The returns proved they had one of the richest mines in Colorado! A few more cars of that ore would clear the debts then would come the big killing in profits.
Down went the drills! Up went the hopes of Darby and Uncle! Then something happened! The vein of gold ore disappeared! They had come to the end of the rainbow, and the pot of gold was no longer there! They drilled on, desperately trying to pick up the vein again-all to no avail.
Finally, they decided to QUIT. They sold the machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars, and took the train back home. Some “junk” men are dumb, but not this one! He called in a mining engineer to look at the mine and do a little calculating. The engineer advised that the project had failed, because the owners were not familiar with “fault lines.” His calculations showed that the vein would be found JUST THREE FEET FROM WHERE THE DARBYS HAD STOPPED DRILLING! That is exactly where it was found!
The “Junk” man took millions of dollars in ore from the mine, because he knew enough to seek expert counsel before giving up.
Remembering that he lost a huge fortune, because he STOPPED three feet from gold, Darby profited many years later by the experience in his chosen work of selling life insurance, by the simple method of saying to himself, “I stopped three feet from gold, but I will never stop because men say `no’ when I ask them to buy insurance.”
Darby became one of a small group of fewer than fifty men at the time that sold more than a million dollars in life insurance annually. Darby owes this “stickability” to the lesson he learned from his “quitability” in the gold mining business.
Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to QUIT. That is exactly what the majority of men do.
The greatest successes this country has ever known, is that their success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them. Failure is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning.
So, when you feel like you are tripping up when success is almost within reach… remember not to quit because you just may be “Three feet from the Gold.”