Your Greatest Success Lies Directly Behind Your Greatest Challenges

Marissa Levin
Marissa Levin
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“Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.”

This is just one of the golden nuggets of wisdom that stays with me from one of my all-time favorite business books, “Three Feet From Gold” by by Sharon L. Lechter and Greg S. Reid. ( The book is a synopsis of Napoleon Hill’s philosophies for success (

The title conveys that people often give up on their dreams because they believe they can’t succeed, when in reality, their success is within their grasp – sometimes literally three feet away.

Feeling discouragement or even despair when we’ve convinced ourselves that success isn’t an option happens to everyone. So how can we push past the negative thinking? How can we find the strength and resolve to continue for three more feet to find our own pot of gold?

“Three Feet From Gold” begins with the tale of an ambitious wealth-seeker RU Darby who went on a quest to “dig and grow rich.” He headed west, staked a claim, and went to work with pick and shovel. 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, told his relatives and a few neighbors of the “strike.” They got together money for the needed machinery, 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 who bought the equipment had a passion for mining – not only because of the gold but because of the profession. In his heart & soul, he was a miner. He had spent years studying the science behind the mining, which is why he seized the opportunity to further investigate the opportunity. He called in a mining engineer to look at the mine and do a little calculating. The engineer informed him that the project had failed simply because the original owners were not familiar with “fault lines.” His calculations showed that the vein would be found JUST THREE FEET from where the original miner 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. Most of the money which went into the machinery was procured through the efforts of Darby, who was then a very young man. The money came from his relatives and neighbors, because of their faith in him. He paid back every dollar of it, although he was years in doing so.

Long afterward, the original miner 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 (latter part of the 19th century).

Remembering that he lost a huge fortune, because he STOPPED three feet from gold, he profited by the experience in his chosen work, by 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.” He owes his “stickability” to the lesson he learned from his “quitability” in the gold mining business.

“The most common cause of failure is quitting.”

We often come face to face with situations that seem impossible to overcome, when in reality, EVERY situation has a solution. Our thoughts of failure grow when we have difficulty believing that the outcome we pursue will actually come to fruition. However, if we open our minds, and consider all possibilities for solutions, we quickly learn that every situation has a wealth of potential outcomes. It is our narrow perspective, our closed-mindedness, and our emotional connection to a desired yet unviable outcome that limits our choices.

“Sometimes you have to step back and look at your situation from a different angle to find a different solution.”

From a more “spiritual,” perspective, I subscribe to the belief that spiritually, faith and fear can not co-exist. In our greatest times of doubt and challenge, it’s important to “trust the process” and believe that our greatest challenges are deliberate stops on our larger path to an outcome we can not predict. It’s essential that we remain pragmatic and strategic as we push through our challenges – not to simply allow the chips to fall where they may fall. However, trust that all events – both positive and negative – will deliver you to a place where you are exactly supposed to be, even if it does not align with your pre-supposed ideas.

The ability to embrace our challenges as opportunities for growth, learning, and renewal goes a long way in finding inner peace and strength with your journey despite external chaos.

“Many successful people have found opportunities in failure and adversity that they could not recognize in more favorable circumstances…Sometimes the worst situations turn out to be the best opportunities.”

Do not fear your challenges or setbacks. They will ultimately bring you great reward and success. And above all things, keep going. You are a mere three feet away from your pot of gold.

“Success is the reward for setbacks.”

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