Gold Miner's Persistence
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An American Tale of Persistence
One of the qualities that has made America great as a nation is the quality of persistence and resolve of its people--a wild continent was tamed, amazing technologies were discovered, vast industries were developed. One important quality that all of these explorers, inventors and industrialists had in common was, of course persistence. But there is persistence and there is real persistence in the face of failure. And so, I'm going to tell you a story about an American who lacked persistence and was literally two feet away from striking it rich except for the fact that he lacked PERSISTENCE.
Mr. Brainbridge was a New England Yankee whose family owned a high-end clothing store. He lived a comfortable life, but deep down he was dissatisfied. He wanted adventure. He wanted to do something different with his life. As it stood, being a man in his twenties, he already had his life mapped out for him. He'd continue to work for his family's department store, he'd find a pretty wife from a similar high-end New England background, and he'd have the required number of children, which was, I'm told, 4.5 at that time.
So Mr. Brainbridge one afternoon was flipping listlessly through a Connecticut newspaper and one article caught his eyes. This particular article reported about the vast number of people moving out West to find their fortune in latest goldrush--the most recent being in Colorado. Mr. Brainbridge felt a fire within him. He never felt so excited about something in his life! He was going to go and find his fortune out West. What an exciting adventure it would be! In his mind he could picture himself out in the Colorado wilderness--the air crisp, the water clean and pure, the Mountain wilderness fresh with snow, but most of all he could see all those glittering nuggets of GOLD. "Gold! Gold! I'm going to be rich!," he thought to himself.
And his enthusiasm was at such a high pitch that over the next couple of weeks he was able to convince his friends and family to lend him enough capital to bring his plan to fruition. A goodly sum of money was accumulated and soon after he bought his one-way ticket to riches--or so he thought.
Colorado Mining Town
After several weeks of traveling on a maze of train lines, Mr. Brainbridge finally made it to Bolder, Colorado. It was a small town with two parallel rows of woodframe houses and store-fronts. Mr. Brainbridge went to the general store and asked the proprietor where his could buy some mining equipment. The proprietor paused and eyed him silently, then suddenly he cracked a smile and said, "Why sonny, you need go no farther! I have all the equipment you need to get started!" The store owner quickly produced mining picks, wheelbarrels, dynamite, water wheels, buckets and all the other usual mining paraphenalia--all the best that Yankee money could buy.
Once all the equipment was gather, both he and the proprietor set out to strike it rich. And so they proceed up the main trail into the mountains passing dozens of camps sites with miners all trying to make their fortune. After a few days of searching and asking around, Mr. Brainbridge and his new partner staked their claim at the foot of steep cliff. Nearby was a fresh gushing stream that glittered with what appeared to be flakes of gold. They pitched camp, and got started.
As luck would have it, it didn't take them long to hit a significant vein of gold--Mr. Brainbridge really lucked out, or so he thought. For several days they were able to mine out just enough gold ore to cover the equipment and travel expenses. Mr. Brainbridge broke even. And just at the very moment when Mr. Brainbridge thought he was about to make his profit, his luck ran out. The vein of gold suddenly stopped inexplicably. The was no more gold to be found! Mr. Brainbridge kept at it for a couple of days but to no avail. At length, he gave up, sold the land and mining equipment to his partner and headed back home to Connecticut. At least he was able to break even. Many others weren't so lucky, and spent their entire fortune in the hopes of staking a claim without finding a single ounce of gold. Home he went!
But his partner remained. Being more experienced in mining matters, he knew that veins of gold don't just suddenly end, but petter out gradually. He knew that this vein still had a bit of pettering to do, so he went out East, not to give up, but to find an expert on geology who explained that veins of gold and silver often end suddenly not because the vein is exhausted, but because of seismic shifts in the stone. As the crust of the earth shifts, layers of stone separate. The geologist said that he'd be willing to accompany him out West to help him find the remainder of that vein of gold.
After arriving back in Colorado, the geologist examined the site made a few calculations and said, "Dig this way!" And so they did, and sure enough they rediscovered that vein of gold--a vein that turned out to be the most productive in the whole region. Thus, the proprietor, through the qualitiy of persistence, made a fortune without any capital. If Mr. Brainbridge had only continued and not given up hope--if only he been PERSISTENT--he might have rediscovered his vein of gold.
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