Book Review: Three Feet from Gold

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is a business classic. Published during the Great Depression, the book provides an inspirational look at perseverance and the qualities of character that are necessary for success.

A recent book from the Napoleon Hill Foundation modernizes Hill’s book. Relating the stories of dozens of successful businessmen, Three Feet from Gold provides an abundance of pithy nuggets of wisdom. The title comes from the story of a prospector who abandoned a mine. Though he had found a small amount of gold in the mine, he eventually concluded that he had found the small amount in the mine and sold his property. The new owner dug three feet in a slightly different direction and discovered a huge deposit of gold. The original owner had literally stopped three feet from gold.
It is often the case that we abandon our dreams too quickly. Faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, it can be easy to give up. And often success was just another step or two away.
This does not mean that we should never abandon a goal. There are times when doing so is the rational thing to do. However, such decisions should not be made lightly or in haste. Anything of value requires effort and perseverance when times are tough.

What do you want?

What do you want from your business? Why do you put up with the stress, hassles, and long hours that often accompany owning a small business? What do you want your business to provide to you and your family?

These are some of the most important questions you can ask yourself regarding your business. The answers (or lack thereof) determine the decisions you make and the actions you take.

Our business is much like a blank canvas, and we get to choose what we paint on it. If we have no final image in mind, but simply begin slapping paint on the surface, we will likely end up with a mish mash of colors that is meaningless. However, if we identify our final product, plan our work, and then implement our plan, our results will be meaningful.

Too often we get absorbed in the daily grind and lose sight of our final destination. Too often we lose focus of why we own a business and allow the business to own us.

While mundane tasks are a part of owning a business, if they dominate our activities we can easily stagnate. We fail to move toward our long-term goals, and the result is frustration and disenchantment.

To accomplish our long-term goals we must cut to the chase—we must identify those goals and then remain focused on them. We must be pro-active in their achievement. To do otherwise is to allow our life and our business to drift aimlessly.

Life happens

Dan Miller tells a humorous, but insightful story about a limo driver who says that his job is temporary until he can start his own limo service. When asked how long he has had his “temporary” job, he replies, “Twelve years.”

Most of us are probably aware of individuals who spend a lot of time talking about what they are going to do “someday”. They dream about future exploits but do nothing about accomplishing them today. And then, they wake up and find that years have passed and they are no closer to their alleged goal.

There is certainly nothing wrong with having dreams. Setting goals and envisioning what life would be like if they were achieved can provide valuable inspiration and motivation. This is even more true when our goals are long-term. But dreams alone will get us nowhere—we must also take action.

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