Thursday, October 28, 2010
Where to Draw the Line?
As part of a course I was doing, it was recommended that I read a book called Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. In one chapter, Mr Hill tells the story of a man named Darby who got caught up in the fever of the gold rush days. After much backbreaking work Darby actually unearthed a vein of gold.
Now he would need machinery to mine the gold, so he went back home and told his relatives and neighbours of his find. They got together the money for the needed machinery and then Darby and his uncle returned to work their claim.
At first the returns were quite amazing and it seemed they might just have one of the richest mines in Colorado. In fact just a few more cars of ore and they would be able to clear their debts and begin to realize a profit.
Then suddenly the vein of ore disappeared. They continued to drill, desperate to find it again, but, finally, they admitted defeat.
Darby managed to sell all of his equipment to a junk man and then he and his uncle caught the train home.
The junk man, however, called in a mining engineer to look at the mine and do a reassessment. The engineer advised that the vein of gold would be found just THREE FEET FROM WHERE THE DARBYS HAD STOPPED DRILLING.
Can you imagine how Darby must have felt when he found out? He went home still owing his relatives and friends for the money he borrowed for the machinery, and it took him many years to pay off his loans. Yet if he had just persisted a little longer – just another three feet of digging - he would have found the mother lode.
The moral of this story, of course, is not to give up on your dreams. I suppose that’s the big difference between those who succeed in this life and those who don’t – the ability to keep on keeping on.
However I need to know where do you draw the line? How far do you go with pursuing your dream before you admit defeat? In hindsight, it is easy for us to shake our heads and say how unfortunate it is that Darby didn’t press on for that extra three feet and claim the untold riches awaiting him.
Then again, what if Darby had continued drilling, plunging himself further and further into debt, and never actually finding that elusive vein of ore? We would have said what a fool he was to persist in chasing rainbows.
I would hate to be known as the person who stopped three feet short of my mother lode. But I would also hate to be known as some one who was so obsessed with an idea that I lost sight of everything else of value in my life.
©Lyn Murphy 2010