Striking, and striking, and striking it rich

In the late 19th century Jesse Knight was a small time cattle rancher in my home town of Payson Utah struggling to keep food on his family’s table and a roof over their heads. Then one day he struck it rich. In the mountains west of town he unearthed a vein of silver that was for a time as rich as the famous Comstock Lode in Nevada or the seams of gold in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.

So Jesse whacked off enough solid silver bars to retire rich for the rest of his life, and lived happily ever after.

Not quite.

He followed the familiar pattern. First comes the dream. Often it is contrary to the opinions of experts in the field. Jesse was digging on the wrong side of the mountain. Everybody knew the ore was on the west side that’s why all the mines were there.

Jesse felt otherwise, so next comes the sweat equity to support the dream. Working in shifts, Jesse, his son and two hired hands applied their shovels to the mountain twenty four hours a day for two months with nothing to sustain them but Jesse’s vision.

Next comes the glimmer of possibility. One of them brought out a wheel barrow full of rocks and dirt with what seemed to be a glimmer of lead accompanied by a minuscule trace of silver. More digging to discover which way the vein was headed.

More digging, calculating and guessing. Then uncovering the rich mother lode of silver. Then, you guessed it. More digging,

Now more prospecting; this time not mining for ore, but for money, finding a bank or investor who will share the dream and back his commitment with hard cash for equipment and workers to dig out even more dirt and rock. Even in this rich vein they had to haul a ton of rock and dirt and process it to extract 1.75 ounces of silver, some lead, and traces of gold.

Your typical “overnight success” story. Finally depending on timing, luck, the favorable alignment of other factors, most of which are beyond your control, including the semi-scrutable shifting opinions of the public (even silver and gold are only as valuable as people think they are) your dreams and efforts may bring success. But use it wisely. You never know when the vein will peter out.

In mining as in other fields of human endeavor there is a river of physical, mental, and emotional sweat between the discovery and the delivery of the prize.

Every person who rose to success that I have known or read about achieved it the same way. Whether they were developing professional sports finesse, slaving over musical notes, or words on a page, putting together a prosperous business, it’s always the same story.

The person who says to the fire, “First give me heat and then I will give you wood,” never gets beyond the day dream of being warm.