Your Private Gold Mine Is Closer Than You Think – Do You Have A Shovel?

by Brad Isaac on October 13, 2010

Classic gold mine

I recently learned a startling fact about gold mining in the 1800s that I think is equally as applicable today.  It is a lesson that if learned will improve your income or if you’re unemployed, help you find a good job.

When you think of the “great gold rush”, what comes to mind?  If you’re like me, you think those old salty miners who traveled from the east coast to California and Arizona to search for gold.  They caught “gold fever” packed up their families and took off.

It makes sense in a way; to pack up and go to where the gold is.

However, thousands of people overlooked one crucial point.  They forgot to look in their own back yards for the gold they sought.

Due to ignorance of what gold looked like, how to mine it or perhaps the wild stories being passed back and forth, these miners took unnecessary journeys west when gold laid right under their feet.  They faced harsh wilderness, starvation and cold in the new location when all along, what they desired was back at home.

Some did find gold out west, but more did not.  Fast forward 100 or so years and you’ll see that many of the most productive mines were not on the west, but on the east coast!  Just last month, the Haile-Brewer gold mine in South Carolina was estimated to contain 2 to 4 million ounces of gold.  At today’s prices, on low end, that’s $2.7 billion!

By the way, you may remember me telling you way back in 2008 you should buy gold.  Hope you were listening!

I too have often dreamed of panning for wild gold riches.  Actually, treasure hunting is just a hobby of mine – but who knows?  I may hit the mother lode.  In the past, I admit dreaming of the day when I retire I can go out west to find my lucky strike..

But in recent months I did a quick search of mining maps and found no less than 11 lode bearing gold mines within 20 miles from my house.  I’ve actually panned in some of the nearby locations and found gold.  Not enough to live on, but it shows a move out west would have been a waste if I wanted to find gold.

Applied to our current employment, I think gold mining is a good metaphor.  How often do we search wide and far for something outside when we already have what we need close?

We are all masters at something.  Maybe you are a computer wizard, maybe you are great at painting.  You tell me.  But once you’ve developed a special skill, you don’t have to travel 1000 miles away.  There are people right where you live who need you.

Happy digging!

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{ 7 comments }

Ricky Spears October 13, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Samuel Brannan was the first Millionaire in California due to the gold rush–and he never searched for any of it. He made his millions selling shovels, picks, and other supplies to the miners who were looking for gold.

Brad Isaac October 13, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Ricky That’s great. Brannan’s great shovel rush of 1849.

But it does show how he wasn’t looking elsewhere for his money. He served the adventurers in his backyard.

B. Riley October 13, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Great post! I’d also like to point out that by the time you hear about the next “gold rush”, it’s too late to join in 99% of the time. That’s why taking the initiative is so important.

Just last week, I was reading an article about Silicon Valley, and how it was similar to the gold rush days. To show how quickly that all ends, in just a couple of decades, the Valley went from a place where innovation was rampant, to a place where there is very little actual innovation occurring.

The talent these days that could actually innovate is still making it to the Valley, but they’re being encouraged to develop the next Twitter app, or Facebook game. There are actual companies with near Billion dollar valuations that ONLY make money by selling virtual tools and weapons for their Facebook games. Seriously. These are the people getting the VC now. The quick buck is king.

Slightly off topic, I know. But it really does remind me of the gold rush.

Brad Isaac October 13, 2010 at 11:03 pm

B. I don’t think it’s off-topic at all. You make the valid point that bears further research. If I understand you, the innovation is not going towards major systems but games. If that is accurate, we are going to have some hard times ahead.

If engineers don’t focus on building and improving the systems and instead become toymakers, progress will stall.

James October 18, 2010 at 4:42 am

So true. You can apply the gold rush concept to many things today. Great out of the box perspective…

Dave October 22, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Brad, this is a great word of encouragement! Reminds me of the old “Acres of Diamonds” story. You are so right on with this.

Searching far away is often just another excuse for not doing what needs to be done. Seminars, trips to the office supply store, ordering another book – sometimes you really don’t need any of them. Just do what’s right in front of you.

Chandra December 12, 2010 at 3:17 am

I’m thinking alternatives of my business plan when surfing in the Internet and reading this post.
Its a great story and concept. Don’t go far to built your own fortune, use available resources we have.

Nice post.

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