Three Feet From Gold
One of my favorite stories from the book Think and Grow Rich is the one about the gold miner.
The miner started out well, but the vein of gold quickly dried up. Or so it seemed. And the miner gave up, selling all of the equipment.
The junk man who bought the miner’s equipment found himself a mining consultant/expert. It turns out, the vein wasn’t dry. It was three feet to the left.
Why does this story matter?
Let’s talk about movement for a second and I’ll explain.
Movement is life. And to add to the wonderful ways in which I love to move my body I have taken up swimming thanks to a couple of dear friends of mine.
I’ve always loved the water. My nana taught me how to swim when I was just a wee lad.
But to swim with any efficiency, well, I’m not very good. Not yet at least.
Which I’m totally cool with because it’s something new and I don’t really expect much from myself. I embrace the beginner’s mindset. (link to show up show youtube)
I know that it takes time to learn new things and that any time we start something new, we’re supposed to suck.
Which is funny (not really, though) because...
...it’s this fear of sucking that prevents many of us from trying something new.
What we often forget is that the first 70-80% of anything is learned pretty quickly. I don’t mean overnight but within a few weeks, months or maybe a couple of years, depending on the activity.
If we get to 70-80% proficiency, that’s a deep enough proficiency to enjoy whatever it is you are doing with relative ease. The last 20-30%, thanks to the law of diminishing returns, is where the real challenge lies.
For most of us, we will never need to care about that last 30%. I’ll never be a professional swimmer nor do I have any ambitions to be. I’d just like to be able to swim a few laps without feeling like my heart is going to stop.
Most times, subtle changes produce huge results. Especially in the beginning. That’s why we can get to 70% proficiency just be sticking with it. Going from the doggie paddle to the freestyle is a pretty big leap but after a few laps, we’ll start to figure it out.
In swimming, one of the key tenants is to reduce the amount of drag or resistance between you and the water. And yet one of the things my swim coach (that's you Sally G!) pointed out to me was that I needed to keep my head down and my heart up.
Are you fucking kidding me!? Head down. Heart up.
A small shift with huge implications (literally and metaphorically).
That’s usually all it takes.
But most of the time, we never even touch the water. Or if we do, it’s one and done because “we’re just not that good."
Get in the damn pool. Just keep swimming.
Show up. Do the work. You’ll figure it out as you go. And if you don’t, or you start to get stuck, don’t quit.
Find someone who does know what they are doing. Learn from them. Befriend then. Soak up as much as you can.
Don’t stop three feet from gold.
The water’s fine.
P.S. Here's a pretty cool video version if that's more your thing :-)
P.P.S. Please share this with somehow you think may benefit from reading this. It would mean the world to me and I'm sure it would mean the world to them.