The following story is shared in the classic book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It could be used to energize salespeople and encourage them to hang in there when the going gets tough, or it could be shared with a client who is backing away from a project due to the economy or their own concerns. Use it however you’d like!!
“One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat. Every person is guilty of this mistake at one time or another.
An uncle of R.U. Darby was caught by the ‘gold fever’ in the gold-rush days, and went west to dig and grow rich . . . The going was hard, but his lust for gold was definite. After weeks of labor, he was rewarded by the discovery of the shining ore. He needed machinery to bring the ore to the surface. Quietly, he covered up the mine, retraced his footsteps to his home in Williamsburg, Maryland, and told his relatives and a few neighbors of the ‘strike.’ They got together money for the needed machinery and had it shipped.
The first car of ore was mined and shipped to a smelter. The returns proved they had one of the richest mines in Colorado! A few more cars of that ore would clear the debts. . . Down went the drills! Up went the hopes of Darby and Uncle! Then something happened. The vein of gold ore disappeared. They had come to the end of the rainbow, and the pot of gold was no longer there . . . Finally, they decided to quit.
They sold the machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars, and took the train back home. [The junk man] called in a mining engineer to look at the mine and do a little calculating. The engineer advised that the project had failed because the owners were not familiar with ‘fault lines.’ His calculations showed that the vein would be found just three feet from where the Darby’s had stopped drilling!
The ‘junk’ man took millions of dollars in ore from the mine, because he knew enough to seek expert counsel before giving up.
Long afterward, Mr. Darby recouped his loss many times over, when he made the discovery that desire can be transmuted into gold. The discovery came after he went into the business of selling life insurance.
Remembering that he lost a huge fortune because he stopped three feet from gold, Darby profited by the experience in his chosen work, from the simple method of saying to himself, ‘I stopped three feet from gold, but I will never stop because men say no when I ask them to buy insurance.'”
Question: Are you giving up three feet from your point of success? Are you throwing in the towel because things have gotten difficult? The difference between success and failure is the difference between who stuck it out and who gave up.