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Hands off the “quit switch”

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At the beginning of his classic self-help book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill tells the story of R. U. Darby and his uncle, who traveled from Maryland to Colorado to strike it rich in the gold mines.

After producing a carload of ore, their mine ran dry. They dug on for a few more weeks and then quit, selling their rights, their equipment and their maps to local junk man. The junk man hired an engineer to look at the maps and, after digging another three feet, struck one of the richest gold veins inColoradohistory.

In their book 100 Ways to Motivate Others, Steve Chandler and Scott Richardson call what Darby and his uncle did throwing the “quit switch.” The gold-diggers threw that unfortunate switch a mere three feet away from astounding wealth.

Every day, I speak with professionals who have either thrown the quit switch or are gripping it tightly with both hands.

  • “Asking for referrals never worked for me.”
  • “I tried doing seminars a few times, but nothing ever came of it.”
  • “I tried running my own practice, but it was just too hard.”
  • “You can’t make a living as a [financial advisor, insurance agent, small-town attorney, etc.]. Well, I know some people can, but I can’t.”

It’s difficult, it’s not instantly successful, it’s taking too long…throw the quit switch!

One of the points Hill makes is that the junk man was smart enough (or humble enough) to call in an engineer, an expert, to examine the mining maps. That option was also open to Darby and his uncle, but they either didn’t think of it or ignored it. In either case, they chose to stop digging.

If your career or practice isn’t where you want it to be, stop thinking that you know when to quit. You may be only three feet away from that record-breaking gold strike.

The only real question here is “Do you want to be successful in the career you have chosen or not?” If you do, get the help you need to succeed. Do not throw the quit switch! If not, maybe it’s time to buy a pick and shovel and hitch a ride out West.

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Sandy Schussel is a speaker, business trainer and coach who helps sales teams develop systems to win clients. He is the author of The High Diving Board and Become a Client Magnet. For more information, go to


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