The Man Who Quit Too Soon

Robert Terson

By now most of you know that Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is one of my favorite books; I’ve read it and reread it more than a 100 times over the past 43 years. It always inspires me. I believe it’s the single most important book I ever read; it certainly has influenced me, benefitted my career, more than any other tome. Today I want to relate an important story from Think and Grow Rich, which Mr. Hill subtitled The Man Who Quit Too Soon. I think those of you who have never read Mr. Hill’s great opus will find it quite poignant; those of you who have read it will find it a stirring reminder that too many of us quit just a step or two too soon.

“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. He had never heard that more gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has ever been taken from the earth. He staked a claim and went to work with pick and shovel.

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 uncle and Darby went back to work the mine.

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. Then would come the big killing in profits.

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. They drilled on, desperately trying to pick up the vein again—all to no avail.

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 Darbys had stopped drilling! That is exactly where it was found! The junk man took millions of dollars in ore from the mine because he knew enough to seek expert counsel before giving up.”

Napoleon said, “No man is ever whipped until he quits in his own mind.”

Ross Perot said, “Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one-yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touch down.”

Sir Winston Churchill said, “Never, never, never, never give up.”

Persevere, my friends—persevere!


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