Now let us look at a different situation and study someone who had plenty of tangible evidence of riches, but lost them—because he stopped three feet short of the goal he was seeking.
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. Darby5 was caught by “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 human brain 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, and told his relatives and a few neighbors of the “strike.” They got together money for the needed machinery and 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 junkman for a few hundred dollars and took the train back home. Some junkmen 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 junkman took millions of dollars in ore from the mine because he knew enough to seek expert counsel before giving up. Most of the money which went into the machinery was procured through the efforts of R. U. Darby, who was then a very young man. The money came from his relatives and neighbors because of their faith in him. He paid back every dollar of it, although he was years in doing so Long afterward, Mr. Darby recouped his loss many times over when he made the discovery that DESIRE can be transmuted into gold. The discovery came after he went into the business of selling life insurance.
Remembering that he had lost a huge fortune because he STOPPED three feet from gold, Darby profited from the experience in his chosen work by the simple method of saying to himself, “I stopped three feet from gold, but I will never stop because people say ‘no’ when I ask them to buy insurance.”
Excerpt From Think and Grow Rich! by Napoleon Hill