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in: Advice, Character, Sunday Firesides

Sunday Firesides: Go 3 Feet Further

There’s a story from this country’s old-time mining days that tells of a man who found a vein of gold in the mountains of the West. He staked a claim and went to work to extract the glimmering ore. But shortly thereafter, the vein of gold disappeared. 

Day after day, the man continued to pick, hack, and drill, carting away trolley after trolley of rock from his mine. But no matter how hard he worked, how much sweat he expended, he kept meeting with a wall of stubborn, ordinary, thoroughly deflating stone.

Eventually, the man gave up and sold his claim to another. The new owner came into the mine, hacked his way just three feet further . . . and hit the vein of gold again. 

The original miner had been so much closer than he realized — if only he had made one more push!

Sometimes, in pursuing relationships, faith, and personal and professional goals, we enjoy a string of early, easy successes. Other times, we haven’t hit even a hint of paydirt yet, but feel persistently driven to obtain a much-yearned for prize.

But then the energy or inspiration dries up. 

Writer’s block, creative entropy, sets in.

A relationship goes cold.

The heavens close.

We lose the thread. 

And after spending weeks, months, and years in a frustrating, fruitless recovery effort, we despair of ever finding it again.

So we throw in the towel. Move on. Abandon the quest.

There’s wisdom in knowing when to quit.

But if something is truly valuable, it’s worth going on yet further once you hit a wall. It’s better to stick with something too long, than to turn back too soon.

You never know just how close you are to a breakthrough.

The treasure you’ve been seeking may be just three more feet away.

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