The story about Three Feet from Gold is a classic first brought to my attention by Napoleon Hill’s book, “Think and Grow Rich.” It illustrates how mindset can rob us of our loftiest desires in life. I think of life, family, career, and the lifelong pursuit of reaching for that ideal vision of reality.
Today, in class, the teacher posed a question, and asked us to explain how it relates to business. That was a loaded question. Here is how I answered:
Three Feet from Gold
“I had learned, from years of experience with men, that when a man really DESIRES a thing so deeply that he is willing to stake his entire future on a single turn of the wheel in order to get it, he is sure to win” (Hill, 1937, p. 28)
Looking past the overt male references (it was the 1930s after all)….I believe these principles apply equally to women as they do to men; that when one works hard towards securing their ideal future, it is often a journey into the unknown–fraught with learning curves that can slow the pace of progress to a crawl. When the years roll by with one learning curve happening after another, a persons’ spirit can become weary and battle-worn from years of constant effort, because pursuing the promise of a better tomorrow is a quest that requires every bit of energy and resources we can muster and give—including patience, inner-strength, and self-discipline. To me, three feet from gold is going forward at full force and doing what is right and necessary even when we feel like things are absolutely hopeless, scary, or unfamiliar. The future is the Great Unknown, but we should not fear it. Instead, we should seek courage in the face of it–doing the best we can at every step. All we can do–and give–is our best at everything we do.
How we think will either propel us or sabotage us, and we CAN choose which path to take; many people do not choose and instead render themselves a product of fate and misfortune, which is sad to see because they end up living regretfully unfulfilled lives. We can’t expect perfection from ourselves all of the time, but we can choose to live each day with that burning desire so that we can, “desire a thing so deeply” that our paths will unfold in the direction to attain that which we so deeply desire; that ideal vision of life that we have worked so hard towards. It is there, we just have to believe it, desire it, and do the right thing with a patient but determined spirit until it becomes an evolving reality.
Hill, N. (1937). Think and Grow Rich. Floating Press.