Persistence isn’t very glamorous. If genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration, then as a culture we tend to lionize the one percent. We love its flash and dazzle. But great power lies in the other ninety-nine percent. – Susan Cain; Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
If there is one thing an Entrepreneur needs its persistence.
People use different ways to describe the quality of persistence. They call it heart, drive or gumption but what they really mean is persistence.
The history of the world is full or stories of persistence, people who had a big idea or a big vision and worked at it, day and night until they became an “overnight” success. But we all know there is no such thing as an overnight success, unless by overnight you mean people who work while the rest of the world sleeps. Entrepreneurs, ministry leaders and just everyday folks who want to be successful in their endeavors know that persistence is the key to success.
Three Feet From Gold
There is a piece of American history that has often come to mind for me whenever I think about persistence. It’s one of those stories that is hard to verify but as a result has taken on the qualities of folklore.
Apparently there was a man who went into the mountains in search of gold. He found a small vein a decided that he would need a lot more help in the form of capital investment in order to make his mine profitable so he covered up the vein and went back to the city to raise the needed money. When he returned, deeply in debt, and started digging it turned out the vein was not nearly as profitable as he had originally hoped. He was eventually forced to sell his claim and all of his equipment to satisfy his debts. Years later the new owner of the mine began digging in the same spot and just three feet from where the original owner quit, hit a mother-load of gold worth millions.
People have used this story to explain and further a variety of agendas. I most often hear it as an inspirational tale of persistence but it can also be given as a cautionary tale about the toll of too much debt. Had the original owner built out his business more slowly he could have purchased equipment with cash and not have had to worry so much about making payments on the debt before the vein paid off. But at the end of the day the idea remains the same.
I tend to write with a double emphasis on entrepreneurship and Christ-following. The story of the miner who quit just three feet from gold has applications and implications in both worlds. The call of the entrepreneur and the Christ-follower are similar in that both have a vision for the “now and the not yet”. Persistence is required in both cases to see the vision come to fruition. So the next time you are tempted to loss heart, remember the story of the miner who was three feet from gold.
Pray and dig a little deeper. The reward could be great.
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 3:14]