With so many wealth, business and leadership books available, it is easy to get caught up with the latest management jargon or wealth buzzwords – no doubt many of these are worthy, however, from time to time, I feel it is worth revisiting the classics and this is one of my favourites:
Three Feet from Gold
(Think and Grow Rich Series: Napoleon Hill ) [Sharon L. Lechter, Greg S. Reid, Dan John Miller]
This book tells the story of R. U. Harby, whose uncle had gold fever. After a time of watching and waiting, the opportunity arose for him to stake his claim and start digging. With effort and massive belief, the uncle found a vein of ore. He covered up the find and returned home to raise the money for the machinery needed to mine the ore. Together they raised the money and Darby traveled back with his uncle back to claim their fortune. Mining started well and before long, they made enough to cover their costs and clear their debts. They were excited, everything from this point would be profit; success was inevitable.
Quite suddenly and without warning the vein of ore disappeared. Darby and his uncle continued to dig but found nothing. In time, they quit. Frustrated they sold their claim together with their machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars and went home. That junk man however was a clever man. He knew enough about mining to understand how little he knew, so he called in a mining engineer who checked the mine. The expert followed the vein in a different direction to the one followed by Darby and his uncle and discovered the vein of gold just three feet from where Darby and his uncle had stopped digging. This so-called ‘junk man’ went on to make millions from the mine.
Darby returned home, no richer and no poorer. But he was much richer in another way as he had learned a very valuable lesson from his mistake – he gave up too soon. He might have allowed the experience to ruin him, instead he went on to become a phenomenally successful insurance salesman, making millions of dollars and he attributed his success to his hard-learned lesson in perseverance!
The moral of the story
Do not allow frustration and disappointment to erode your belief and passion for the project in hand. Persevere through the challenging times, remain focused upon success and seek counsel when needed.
Important take-aways from the book:
- Many successful people have found opportunities in failure and adversity that they could not recognize in more favourable circumstances – Napoleon Hill
- The most common form of failure is quitting.
- Work your strengths and hire your weaknesses.
- Seek counsel, not opinions as they might well be pooled ignorance.
- Life is full of ups and downs; never make a major decision in a valley or quit at a low point.
- You don’t have to make all the sales yourself – sell to leaders and let them sell to their followers (particularly relevant in this era of social media ‘influencers’).
- Collaboration is essential to create miracles.
- Set a destination, move towards it but do not over-plan, instead watch for opportunities to make the journey shorter.
- Finally, “You are the same to as you will be in five years time except for two things, the people you meet and the books you read” – Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones