Darby’s Witness of Determination

Darby’s Witness of Determination” written by Guest Contributot.

There’s a story called Three Feet From Gold in the classic book “Think and Grow Rich.” which illustrate the power of perseverance.

Striking it Rich

It’s About…

R. U. Darby and his uncle who had gold fever during the gold rush days. The uncle staked a claim in Colorado and started digging. After a lot of hard work, he found a vein of ore, so he covered up his find and returned home to Maryland to raise the money for the machinery that he would need to bring the ore to the surface.

They raised the money and Darby traveled with his uncle back to the site to make their fortune.

Things started going pretty well for a while. They were excited and then the unthinkable happened. The vein of gold completely dried up

Then the supply of gold stopped.

They kept on drilling day after day, but found nothing.

Until finally, they got frustrated and quit. They sold their machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars.

After they went home defeated, the junk man called in a mining engineer who checked the mine and calculated that there was a vein of gold just three feet from where Darby and his uncle had stopped digging.

The junk man went on to mine the gold and make millions.

If you’re a fan of motivational author Napoleon Hill you may have heard the “Three Feet From Gold” story, but did you know the story goes on from there?

The second story in the classic book “Think and Grow Rich” follows Mr. Darby after he learns from his mistake and goes on to make millions himself.

It’s a great example of the power of the human spirit and what can be accomplished when you know that power deep within.

Mr. Darby had learned through his gold mining experience how persistence is critical to success and, shortly thereafter, he was lucky enough to witness an incident that taught him the power of the human will and spirit, as well.

Mr. Darby’s uncle was a farmer and operated a large farming operation where a number of African-American sharecroppers lived and worked.

The Girl of Determination

One day a daughter of one of his tenants walked in and “took her place near the door,”

When his uncle saw the child he said, “what do you want?” in a rough tone of voice.

The child replies “My mammy say send her fifty cents.”

The uncle says, “I’ll not do it. Now you run home.”

But she did not move.


I’m not sure why the uncle didn’t want to pay her then , but I imagine he was a pretty intimidating presence to a small child.

Many adults have a difficult time asking a boss for a favor or a raise in salary.

But She Stood Her Ground

The uncle went back to what he was working one and didn’t realize she was still there.

When he realized she hadn’t left like he’d asked, He said to her “I told you to go home. Now go or I’ll take a switch to you.”

The little girl said “Yas sah” but didn’t move an inch.

That takes a huge amount of determination. She was not going to move until she got what she came for.

So the uncle drops what he is doing and picks up a barrel stave (see picture below)

Darby’s Witnessing of Determination

And starts moving toward the child with an angry expression on his face.

Apparently the uncle had a temper. Not only was this a man in authority but in the 1930’s the racial differences would have made this kind of defiance even more profound.

But when the uncle came toward her she not only held her ground, SHE TOOK A STEP TOWARDS HIM.

Looked into his eyes and screamed at the top of her lungs “My mammy’s got to have the fifty cents.”

He looked at her for a minute and put the barrel stave down and reached in his pocket to give her the fifty cents.

She slowly backs out the door, never taking her eyes off him. She just owned this man, but she wasn’t taking any chances.

The uncle just sat and looked out the window for a few minutes.

I’m sure he was thinking “What just happened?

The Power of Determination in the Human Spirit

She had harnessed the power of the human spirit. Its why a family member can lift a car off a trapped child or loved one. It’s why armys overcome great odds, winning battles when they are outnumbered. It’s why great men like Edison could keep trying after thousands of failed attempts at inventing the light bulb…

Do You Have Examples of Determination in Your Life?

In my own life, I grew up with three sisters. I was only 18 months younger than my older sister and she happened to be very petite in size where as I was very tall from a young age. I remember a few times as kids getting into physical scraps where we would roll around and wrestle and she always got the best of me. I know now that I was physically stronger, but my will was not. I let her win because she was older and I deep down didn’t believe I could.

As an adult, I am aware of how much my determination and belief in myself ( state of mind) can determine my outcome so I use visualization techniques and hold onto the vision in every action step that I take.

Like the little girl in the story, we can all stand our ground and harness the power of the human spirit.

Can you think of a time in your life when you have achieved success because you tapped into that power and were determined to make it happen?


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Darby’s Witnessing of Determination

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