During the past five years, we have had an opportunity to work with hundreds upon hundreds of different gold miners, and we have realized many different things about how to approach a gold mining operation to improve a person’s chances of success. One of the things we have realized is that some people become so serious about a mining operation that they lose track of the fact that the operation is simply a game.
All games consist of a goal, a means to achieve the goal, and barriers or problems in the way of the goal’s achievement. And, of course, the GAME consists of overcoming the obstacles and achieving the goal. Football is a game; basketball, soccer, everybody knows these are games. What some people fail to realize is that your job, raising your family properly, getting through life successfully, and even gold mining–are all games, too. Each of these games have their own unique set of problems to overcome.
Because of the seriousness and importance of winning, sometimes we lose track of the fact that these different aspects of life are a game. The importance of winning simply requires that we play the game harder.
It is much easier to win at a game when you know what the game is that you are playing.
Gold mining is a game in which the obstacles and problems to overcome are not, generally, other people or other teams as in the game of football. The main obstacle to overcome in gold mining is the UNCERTAINTY of where acceptable gold deposits are located.
The best goal, of course, is to find lots of gold–enough to resolve your financial or emotional needs. I say emotional because some people are not in gold mining necessarily for financial gain. One person’s goal might be to continuously recover enough gold to support his family and the lifestyle. Another person might want to find enough gold to retire in luxury. Someone else might just like to find any amount of gold. Each individual will have his or her own goals. Once one goal is nearly achieved, a person naturally tends to set a higher, more difficult goal. One of the interesting things about gold is that you never seem to have enough of it–even if you have a lot compared to the goal you set for yourself some time ago! Therefore, as a miner gets better, he or she tends to elevate the goal higher and higher.
The means of achieving the goal in gold mining is by applying mining and prospecting techniques with available mining equipment on gold bearing locations so that you can to locate and recover valuable deposits.
The equipment is readily available. There is nothing difficult to understand about the techniques and procedures. The main difficulty is NOT KNOWING WHERE THE GOLD IS. This makes gold mining unique, in that the main obstacle to overcome is not an external, material or barrier–as in most games. The main barrier is the psychological impact of the uncertainty of whether or not you are going to find an acceptable gold deposit.
In reading this, you might find yourself feeling that you are dedicated and strong enough, that you have all of the discipline needed, that you have plenty of emotional fortitude, and that you are smart enough to overcome any psychological doubts which may arise in your own mind during the course of a sampling operation. We all have this, and we are all potentially strong enough to persevere. However, there are also negative voices in our heads–which can become quite strong when we are directly confronted with difficult situations. Sometimes we forget about these voices during times when we are not confronted by difficult situations!
None of us are super-beings. We are human. We all have our personal limitations–which are set by ourselves. This happens when we make decisions that we can’t do something, or that we don’t want to do it. A person takes up running and decides he can only run two miles. Does that mean he cannot run a step further than two miles? Of course not. The person could run twenty miles if he set his mind to it. If I did not learn another thing in SEAL training from my navy days, I learned that you can always take at least one more step. This is true in any aspect of life–in any endeavor; you can always do it a little more or a little better.
But, when we get close to a limitation which we have already set for ourselves, we run smack into the negative voices in our heads which we have ourselves identified with. “I can’t do it!” Just because the voice says we can’t doesn’t mean we can’t. We can, and by doing so, a person becomes stronger.
The problem in gold mining is different than in most other games. If you were cutting firewood for money, the barriers to overcome in the game would be the physical challenge of cutting down trees, sawing them into rounds, splitting the rounds
up, loading them in a delivery truck, hauling them to a location, selling them to someone, and maybe stacking the firewood on the buyer’s back porch. The easy thing about this challenge is that you are working with a reality that you can see all the way through the cycle. The wood is there. It is just the physical work of getting the wood onto the buyer’s back porch–that is, as long as you have a buyer.
Gold mining is different. The gold is not there until you find it. Yet, it’s really not that the gold isn’t there. When we see other miners recovering gold out of commercial deposits on the same river, we know there are more commercial deposits to be found. The problem is that we might not be sure that we are going to find them.
And, it’s not that the procedures and techniques for finding gold deposits are difficult. We know that gold, because of its weight, tends to travel along its own narrow path in the river. We know that pay-streaks (gold deposits) form in their own unique locations along the gold path–where water velocity slows down during major flood storms. We know these pay-streaks form quite regularly along a gold-bearing waterway. And, we know that prospecting consists of digging or dredging sample holes in an attempt to locate the gold path and the pay-streaks. None of this is difficult to understand and apply.
The difficulty is in the uncertainty–and this is the main barrier to overcome in the game of gold mining. We see a fair percentage of people who have themselves psyched out and talked out of it, even before they finish their first sample hole. Why is this? They have adequate equipment. They understand the procedures. They can confront the physical work. Why do they quit so quickly? It is because they don’t understand who the real opponent in the game is.
If it were a game of football, would they quit after the first play of the first inning just because the opposing team looked stronger? Not if the players have any degree of personal pride in being a football team. Yet, quite often in many games, the opposing players try to psyche-out the members of the members of the other team. A demoralized team is easy to conquer! More likely, a serious football team would psyche themselves up in an attempt to win over a stronger opposing team.
What people don’t realize is in the game of gold mining, you are really playing with and/or against yourself. It is your own inner voices which you listen to and decide whether to quit early, or to pour on the steam even harder to find the gold deposits you are looking for. When a person quits in gold mining, it is often because he has psyched his or her own self out.
I can understand quitting when your legs are busted and you are on your last breath of air. This is understandable. But, to quit gold mining because you have talked yourself into the idea that you are not going to find any gold just means that you don’t understand the game. Basically, in this case, you have lost to your own inner voices.
There is a fantastic feeling of self-accomplishment when you succeed in gold mining. A professional football player, when retired, will look back and remember certain games that were won. He probably won’t be thinking much about the money he made. He probably won’t be thinking of the easy victories. He will be thinking about the games his team was losing, and how the team pulled together, raised themselves up, and won against all odds. These wins are cherished, because they occur when a player, or a team of players, reach down inside and create the necessary additional energy and willpower to overcome large barriers and obtain the goal after all.
Success in gold mining brings about this same kind of intense emotional satisfaction–only better or different in the fact that you usually accomplish it on your own. You generally don’t have a team of other players helping you to make a touchdown in the game of gold mining.
Like it or not, gold mining is similar to a game of solitaire. You are playing the game with yourself as your teammate, and possibly with yourself as the main opposing force. you have a chance to overcome the little negative voices in your head that tell you to quit–not just in gold mining, but also in the other aspects of your life. Each time that you persevere and finish that next sample hole properly, despite the inner voices which tell you there is no gold in that location, not only do you get that much closer to the gold deposit you’re looking for, but you also grow stronger as a person. And, in the end, this is worth more than gold.