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Pushing Through Barriers to Strike Gold

Posted By Darren Rowse 14th of May 2014 General 0 Comments
Image via Flickr user Tony Oliver

Image via Flickr user Tony Oliver

The year was 1851, and two brothers stood by a bend in a creek that had wishfully been named ‘Golden Point’ by gold prospectors in days gone by.

Cavanagh was the surname of the two brothers, and they’d been digging – along with around 600 others – in their ‘claim’ at Golden Point for days.Some gold had definitely been found on this particular bend in the creek. In fact, numerous miners had made good – although not spectacular – money from their finds in previous weeks.

Most of the gold had been found in the sandy ground to a depth of around 1m (3.2 feet), but at that point, everyone who dug hit a hard layer of clay and received no reward for their effort.

The result was that the area was littered with abandoned claims – holes in the ground were everywhere, all dug to a depth of around 1m.

Miners around the Cavanagh brothers that day were beginning to talk of rumors coming from further up creek of richer pickings and in the 24 hours that followed, most of the men had moved on.

But the brothers Cavanagh had a hunch.

They wanted to see what would happen if they dug deeper, and so began the arduous task of digging into the hard clay that everyone else had stopped digging at.

They chose an abandoned claim from another miner and began to dig.

The work was hard and unrewarding.

They dug and found nothing but more clay.

Inch by inch they chipped away at the clay only to find more clay.

All day they dug.

The next morning they continued to dig as the last miners around them abandoned their claims and moved on to chase their dreams up creek.

I can just imagine those miners abandoning their claims shaking their heads at the brothers and laughing at their foolhardy efforts.

But the brothers had a belief and kept their focus.

As sunset approached and after hours of back-breaking work, the brothers finally broke through the last of the clay at around the depth of 2m.

Under the clay they found what centuries ago had been the old bed of the creek, and in it were pockets of gold that had been washed down the creek from the mountains over hundreds of years.

The brothers worked into the night feverishly until the light from their lamps gave up. Imagine how they must have felt as they attempted to sleep that night!

The next day they arose early and assessed their work. In the light of day the full reality of what they’d uncovered started to sink in. There was gold down below that clay… and lots of it!

In a single day, the Cavanagh brothers found 27 kilograms (60 pounds) of gold.

That day’s takings alone earned the men over  £3500, which was more than enough to set the two brothers up for life.

One month later 10,000 miners worked in the area around Golden Point – and the wider Ballarat area, and it became known as the richest known gold field in the world for that time.

You can bet that those who followed the brothers dug deeper than they had previously!

Reflections on the Cavanagh Brothers’ Experience

I first came across the story of the Cavanagh brothers while researching a project I was doing in high school, and have since found myself reflecting upon it many times.

I love the determination, the focus, and the persistence of these two men.

I love how that despite the distractions of rumours from up creek that they continued to dig… where others had already dug and given up at the first sign of clay.

I love that they persisted while others followed the exciting rumours of fortune and in doing so found a fortune that others could only dream of finding.

I love that through their persistence that they not only found their own fortune, but opened the eyes to others – others who probably had looked at them thinking that they were crazy for digging into that clay – to a new way.

Sometimes Success Comes Through Digging in Hard Places

There have been times over the last few years where I’ve at times felt a little like the brothers Cavanagh.

While my hands do not toil with a pick or shovel digging into hardened clay, there are days where I do second-guess my actions and wonder if I should head upstream to start something new.

I’ve seen many bloggers come and go over the years. People who, like me, saw the opportunity in blogging to build something significant – but who at the first sign of clay abandoned their blogs.

Then there were others who abandoned their work because of the exciting ‘rumors’ from up creek… bloggers who stopped blogging to MySpace… to tweet…  to Tumblr… to Facebook… to G+…

The blogosphere is littered with abandoned blogs and I sometimes wonder what might have happened if some of those bloggers had kept digging through the clay.

While I know not all would have succeeded, I do think that persistence is a big part of successful blogging (and success in almost all fields).

My experience of blogging is that while there have been days where I’ve dug into rich veins of gold and great fortune, they’ve always come after focused effort of digging in hard ground.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Hi Darren thanks for the post. I would request problogger.net to write an article on “high converting paid traffic, what are the available paid traffic source which converts very well”.

  2. Great Story Darren!
    I remember a story in which a person named Andrew told that how he dealt with people. He said dealing with people is like digging gold you have to move tons of dirt to get some gold. When you go digging, you don’t go looking for the dirt you go looking for the gold.

  3. Thank you for posting this. This is exactly what I needed to hear. Especially today.

    I have found many clay spots through blogging, and am now motivated to dig through them! This story will stick with me for a long time, I feel.
    Thanks again!

    The Everyday Chef and Wife

  4. Shayne Tilley says: 05/14/2014 at 11:05 am

    It’s actually one your traits I admire most D. But I also respect that not only do you commit and do the work, you’re not afraid to try some new tools to help either. A balance very few can achieve.

  5. As I stubble through my posts I often found that I hit nothing but clay and that addictive glitter of gold is often lost in the frustrations of creating content. Just as the glitter of gold becomes a lost memory I turn to your blog for that shot of inspiration. So thank you Darren for providing the inspiration that has most likely saved hundreds of bloggers.

  6. Great Story Darren!Thank you for posting this

  7. Darren, thank you for writing this post! It will certainly encourage me to persevere through the inevitable lows that every blogger experiences. I do think there is value in abandoning something that is not working and trying a new approach. But as you point out, many people likely abandon their blogs before their labors can bear fruit.

    – Steve

  8. Thanks so much for sharing this story Darren. I get a bit sad seeing those abandoned blogs throughout the blogosphere – and especially when they belong to bloggers that I’ve ‘met’ along the way, who I know have had big dreams too.
    In my own experience, persistence is a whole lot about having that belief that you mention. To keep going, when so many others would be discouraged, has everything to do with having a vision of what may be achievable and having faith in our ability to achieve it. And knowing the stories of others who’ve struck that gold… that’s the best way for us to start seeing it as possible for ourselves!

    • But isn’t that the other side of the discussion? For every Cavanagh there were probably dozens who took a countervailing approach and dug that extra meter only to find more clay. It wasn’t just perseverance or commitment to an idea but also either dumb luck or a really good idea.

  9. I had never heard of the Cavanagh brothers before, but theirs is certainly one motivating story!

    It is interesting to think of all the blogs that have come and gone over the years. College, work, family, life, or even boredom can get in the way.

    Here’s hoping all who read this will draw inspiration from it should we one day (knock on wood) ever think about quitting!

  10. Hi Darren,

    This reminds me of the 3 Feet from Gold story in Think and Grow Rich. Digging is required folks, but if you see the good things happening during these times, and the learning, you’ll struggle and stress less, and succeed more quickly. Frame your digging from a positive space, detach and let creative ideas hit your mind.

    Thanks for inspiring us!

  11. I also think, persistence with s “not giving up” attitude; are the key for all successful blogger. In the meantime, the content should be appealing to grasp reader`s attention.

  12. Hi Darren,

    I can totally relate to what you just said in this post. I came across this story while reading the book 3 feet from gold. I remember when I first started online, I wasn’t making any money for several months. However, I did not give up and when I received my first commission of US$20 from an ebook, I was so excited that I finally had a breakthrough.


  13. Darren, Thanks so much for sharing this story.in my own experience, persistence is a whole lot about having that belief that you mention.

  14. Very inspirational post Dareen, this situation many times comes throughout our lives where we have a option to dig deeper or just quit. Digging deeper may not always produce results but when it does the results are amazing.

  15. Thanks for this great article. Please can you tell me some best tips to increase the traffic in my blog?

  16. Thanks darren for this article. Really very motivational story, you teach us a great lesson through a awesome story of success.

  17. What a brilliant post and a brilliant story, thank you. I like the idea of building a blog one reader at a time. I write because I love writing. Sometimes I get disheartened that I get “only” a few hundred people reading my blog every month because many articles talk about traffic in the thousands or millions. Then I stop and think “Hang on, several hundred people read my writing EVERY MONTH” and I think about each and every one of these people and what they might be thinking. It makes such a huge difference and puts a smile on my face. If my traffic never increases I’ll still be happy to write for my few hundred readers each month!

  18. Abdul says: 05/15/2014 at 9:34 am

    Indeed, motivating story, Thanks D

  19. Great article, I loved it! I think there is a real lesson of persistence here, that never giving up and continuing on through the hard times leads to the success you want. I believe in this and try to implement it on my blog, Up Next at http://upnext.tk Once again, great article!

  20. Persistence is key. You once posted a quote on your FB page, “the secret is to keep going.” This post is along the same theme, and puts the blogging journey into perspective.

  21. I’ve been browsing online from more time, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content blog and article as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

  22. Wonderful article ,before that I never heared about this information .Thanks for sharing inforamtion.

  23. Thank you for posting this sir . This is exactly what I needed to hear.

    I have found many clay spots through blogging, & am now motivated to dig through them! This story will stick with me for a long time, I feel.

    Thanks again!

    The Everyday Chef and Wife

  24. Great story Darren and something I needed to read right now and will will need to read again and again. Tanks for posting this. You have an outstanding blog – Cheers Mick Hawes

  25. Thanks a lot Darren. It really required perseverance and high patient while waiting the gold rolling in. Some can wait and some can’t.

  26. Hello Darren,

    Awesome post. It’s extremely inspiring. It reminds me of an image of a man digging the soil right next to a large amount of diamonds. When I began my career, I often told myself that persistence will get me places and it did. I was at my lowest point this past week and I’m happy to read this.

  27. Very inspiring post. I think it will help me to reach to the ultimate destination of my blogging.

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