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.

Stop and smell the roses

Building a small business is hard work. It requires dedication, self-motivation, and stamina. It requires effort—both physical and mental. It requires passion to maintain the effort when times are tough.

New couples often exhibit much more passion than couples who have been together for a long time. The excitement of a new relationship and the future creates much of that passion. As time passes the excitement and passion can fade.

So it often is with our business. The excitement of a promising future fades as the reality of a difficult journey sinks in. The passion we feel as we embark on a new adventure declines as we face obstacles and set backs.

Relationship experts suggest many things that couples can do to keep their passion alive. Surprise gifts, weekend trips, and date nights are common suggestions. Few women are not thrilled with an unexpected bouquet of flowers.

We must do the same thing in our business. We must take actions to help us maintain our passion and excitement. It is fine to keep the long-term goal in mind, but we must also enjoy the moment. We must celebrate our successes and milestones. We must give ourself a pat on the back when we deserve it. Sometimes we need to stop and smell the roses.

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