Mindset Mastery 20 – Three Feet From Gold

Mindset Mastery Ebook By Sean RasmussenThe next of Napoleon Hill’s anecdotes is presented as a direct contrast to the definite thought, purpose, and determination of Edwin C Barnes. He calls this story “Three Feet From Gold”; most of us can see quite a lot of our past limited successes within the telling of this story.

“One of the most common reasons people fail is that they quit when faced with temporary defeat. Every person is guilty of this mistake at one time or another. What follows is a case in point.

“An uncle of R.U. Darby was caught by the “gold fever” in the days of the great gold-rush, and went west to dig and grow rich. He had never heard that more gold has been mined from the brains of men than has ever been taken from the earth. He staked a claim and went to work with a pick and a shovel. The going was hard, but his lust for gold was definite.

“After weeks of labor, he was rewarded with the discovery of the elusive shining ore. He needed machinery to bring the ore to the surface. Quietly, he covered up the mine, went back to his home in Williamsburg, Maryland, and told his relatives and a few neighbors about the “strike.” Together, they raised the money for the needed machinery and had it shipped. The uncle and Darby went back to work the mine.”

So far in this tale we’ve seen that Darby and Uncle had the foresight to place themselves in a presumably profitable spot, but Napoleon Hill indicates that the uncle lacked a definite thought; he has thus far failed to put the required definite thinking into the project. Will the men be able to succeed without having taken this essential first step? We’ll see if he is able to pull himself out of it.

I will see you back here Monday and Thursday every week for the continuation of the Mindset Mastery series.

Sean Rasmussen
Success Communicator
SeanRasmussen.com © 2004 – 2008

About Sean Rasmussen

Sean Rasmussen is a passionate blogger and has been a full time internet marketer since 2005. When he's not with his family, or dog Buddy, Sean is usually blogging or doing something related to the internet.


  1. Jazz Salinger says:

    Hi Sean,
    It seems to me the uncle was hedging his bets. He wasn’t entirely confident about his chances for success. He failed to take the machinery with him in the first place.
    If he believed he would really find gold, or if he was unreservedly committed to finding gold and refusing to give up until he found gold, the machinery would have been a necessity from the start. I think achieving success means knowing exactly what you want, planning how to succeed and then working that plan. You have to be confident that you will be successful and giving up must never be an option.

    • I disagree with Sean and Lisa. The uncle was smart. He knew that there was gold out there and he was determind to get it. He was wise not to invest in machinery and cart it around with him as he did his test digs. This is exactly the procedure that modern miners follow. The gold could have been in a river or in quarts rock or just under the surface over a wide area. Each possibility would require a different set of equipment to win that gold. Until he explored his prospects and knew a lot more about them he would not understand the tools he needed to properly collect them. Had he gone out and bought the mining equipment first then he would have had to have made some pretty strong assumptions about the gold and have been pretty close-minded about how the venture would unfold.

      A key to selling is to understand your target market. Know where to find them and understand what they want, what they need, what excites them, and what influences their buying decisions. This is why a single sales pitch or method won’t work on all of your target market. You have to be both knowledgable and flexible in your approach in order to win.

      Well done Uncle. I’ll partner with you any day of the week.

    • I have to respectfully disagree Jazz! It is far more time effective for the uncle to find the gold without carrying heavy machinery with him. He, as a leader, took the right steps to go back & with the help of a team, go in & mine the gold. Even smarter if he leaves his workers to continue to mine the gold & then go to other fields to look for more gold.

      Now there’s something to think about
      .-= Samantha Banfield´s last blog ..Sean Rasmussen and his crazy talk! =-.

      • Hi Sam,

        You make some excellent points. It was probably a much better move to not bring in the machinery until he needed it. And he could have left his workers to mine the gold there while he went in search of more.

        Still, they stopped three feet from gold after they went to the trouble of bringing the machinery to them. That has to hurt. Although they did go on to be successful.
        .-= Jazz Salinger´s last blog ..Sean Rasmussen – Aussie Internet Marketer Making a Difference =-.

  2. Hi Sean,
    Right or wrong it is very important to have the right partner who you can depend on. They can make or break you.


    • Or even a team Jill. When I think about having a partner that you “can rely on”, it makes me worry a little. What happens when that partnership breaks down? A big d’oh comes to mind… and shizer! if you get my drift!

  3. ahh hah! Definite thought. A Considered thinking about the who, what, how, when, where, and why’s of an idea, can only benefit the fulfillment. There is a Zen saying about being too rigid in the expectation of how something might work out, and I guess that is a recognition that more can happen than we expect sometimes. Wow, life can be an adventure after all!
    .-= Jo Carey-Bradshaw´s last blog ..Empowering Mindset – Mindfulness =-.

  4. There is a trade off in business. You have to know when to invest, and when to stop, and when to not stop despite adversity. The uncle is seeing that there potential for success so he is not stopping. All seems ok so far. Hill’s indication that the uncle has not thought it through suggests there is more to this tale.
    .-= Wal Heinrich´s last blog ..Think And Grow Rich Mindset Mastery =-.

  5. I guess the story is not finished yet. It seems like the uncle was really determined, did have a first small success and managed to get the equipment that he needed to go further.
    But what happened long term? There are plenty of people out there who are really determined, have a small success – just to have a hurdle thrown their way and then to give up.
    I am curious how the story continues 🙂
    .-= Renee´s last blog ..Definition Of Motivation =-.

  6. Hi Sam,
    My statement was short and probably not quite to the point….I see your point. My meaning could more have been along the lines that, it’s important to have a business partner (or team) who you can rely on – to carry out the agreed upon task and to not act independently or against the decision made between the two or (by the team)

    Having read this post again though it appears something is missing and that there’s not enough info yet to comment. N. Hill has not stated why he believes the Uncle lack a definite thought to be successful.
    .-= Jill Brown´s last blog ..Common Law Marriage – What is Common Law Marriage? =-.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    The uncle’s “lust for gold was definite”. So far the indications are positive. I think we’ll see in the next installment what the problem was. So far he’s had an idea, he went out and spent much time at back breaking work and seems to have found proof of rewards to come. He believes in it enough to involve other people and their money. Now we need to see what happens next.

  8. Trish Rock says:

    I love these stories Sean! And the banter that follows them! I will definitely be tuning into this blog on a regular basis.Thanks 🙂

  9. Great story Sean, very tricky though. Not sure the uncle was wrong or right??. What if he goes back with the machinery only to find that the shinning ore was gone. Will have to follow this.
    .-= Rose Kawe´s last blog ..Do I Feel Lucky Well Do Ya =-.

  10. More gold has been mined from the brains of men than has ever been taken from the earth. I’ve read the story in Think and Grow Rich and here’s a couple of lines in the Don’t Quit poem that emphasise this

    ‘Don’t give up though the pace seems slow
    You may succeed with another blow …
    And you can never tell how close you are
    It may be near when it seems so far
    So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit
    It’s when things seem worse that YOU MUST NOT QUIT.

  11. Elly Wilson says:

    Hi Sean

    We don’t know how much the uncle knows about mining ore when he started out.

    It would have been wise for him to have consulted someone who knew about ore and geology in those regions before he went home. In other words, he didn’t do his homework and made an assumption that he had hit a vast quantity.

    Sometimes we need to get expert advice and not take a guess before proceeding.

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