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In the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, which is one of the bestselling non-fiction books of all time, Napoleon shares a theory and concept he calls being “two feet from gold”.
It’s a beautiful metaphor that describes what so many of us are going through today…
If you are someone who’s after a certain level of success and achievement. If you’ve got some sort of goal you want to hit in life or just a certain quantitative or even qualitative state that you want to achieve, then you are faced with this roller-coaster of emotions and various hills and valleys that you go through.
But eventually, what Napoleon found is that the people that do achieve their goal and strike gold, have one key difference between them and everyone else.
In their darkest hour, in the most difficult and trying times of their life…. When they feel like they have nothing left to give and there isn’t an ounce more of energy left in them — they take two more steps.
Two feet, one right after the other. And what they find is that they’ve struck gold, all while in their darkest most desperate hour.
The key difference is that they accomplished this and took those steps, while everyone else just gives up in that dark hour.
They feel like there’s nothing left in them, so they stop and it becomes the turning point. The breaking point. The failure point.
But these people that do take those final two steps often find themselves striking gold, and it’s no coincidence. I think so many of us are facing that in our lives today – always wondering, when am I going to get to that next level?
Let’s cap this off with some poetic words from Mr. Napoleon Hill himself…

Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them. Failure is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning. It takes great delight in tripping one when success is almost within reach.

All you have to remember is that your gold is just two feet away. Keep going…


  1. Think and Grow Rich – This is a classic from Napoleon Hill. It’s been recommended by almost every entrepreneur. Read it once every year. You’ll learn something new every time.
  2. Friedrich Nietzsche on Why a Fulfilling Life Requires Embracing Rather than Running from Difficulty – a parallel can be drawn here and this is a fascinating read.
  3. Viktor Frankl on the Human Search for Meaning – Frankl is no nihilist (far from it), and here he lays out a psychology and philosophy for meaning that aids the discussion and as Maria Popova puts it — “If there ever were a universal reading list of existential essentials, Man’s Search for Meaning would, without a shadow of a doubt, be on it.”

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