“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.” 1
A man named Darby lived during the gold-rush days of the west in the USA and moved to an area where many were finding gold. He searched for weeks and finally found gold. He covered up the mine and went back east to raise money from friends and relatives so that he could buy the equipment he needed to mine the gold. Because he was so enthusiastic, many agreed to invest money in his gold mine.
He mined a sizable amount of gold with his uncle, but not enough to pay off the debt. In doing so he found that this was one of the richest mines in Colorado! He kept working, bringing up more gold and bringing it to the smelter.
Darby and his uncle drew up more gold and were very happy. But then the unimaginable happened. The vein of gold was mined and they found no more veins. They searched day after day but could not find any more gold.
They grew weary and decided to quit.
They took the machinery that mined the gold and sold it to a junk man for very little money. They did not realize the junk man was very clever. He called in a mining engineer to investigate the mine and apply his knowledge of mines to search for more gold. According to the engineer, the original project failed because the owners were not familiar with “fault lines.” The amazing thing he found was that the owners had quit digging just three feet from a mother lode, a huge vein of gold.
The junk man made millions of dollars from the mine because he knew enough to seek expert advice.
So it seems that it might be a sad ending for Darby. But the truth is that he learned a very important lesson. He realized he had stopped just short of millions of dollars’ worth of gold. He realized that he quit too easily and that even though the chances looked bleak, he should have kept going and sought expert advice.
So Darby began to sell insurance. Many try and fail at this endeavor. But Darby had learned his lesson, he learned to keep going no matter how bleak things look and to seek advice. He learned not to give up when a potential buyer said no. Because of the lesson he learned he was able to sell more than a million dollars of insurance every year, and that was in the days when a million dollars was worth much more than it is today.
“More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest 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. It takes great delight in tripping one when success is almost within reach.” 2
1 Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill page 22
2 Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill page 23