10 Tips for Smart Miners: Learn From Your Mistakes

This is the 6th installment of this series of posts meant to help you become one of the placer mining “elite” out there, a smart miner:

Tip 6. Learn From Your Mistakes.

I don’t know about you, but when I was younger I was one of those people who always had to learn the hard way. Even now I tend to drift in that direction for “instruction” but age and experience have taught me that getting beaten over the head with a 2x4 is not always the best (or easiest) way to learn a valuable lesson.

Mining Equipment

So it goes with many in this life and miners are no exception to the rule. That’s one reason smart miners always learn from their mistakes and apply newly gained knowledge in positive and profitable ways.

Destined for Failure?

Sure, this practicum is a life lesson as well, but in gold mining if you won’t or just can’t (for whatever reasons) learn from your mistakes then, my friend, you are pretty much destined for failure again and again. No I don’t mean you and your life at large will be a failure…that’s not for me to determine. But I can guarantee you’ll work harder to get less gold, you’ll be upset, angry, or frustrated more often than not, and you’ll also become a pariah of sorts to other miners.

The “Duke” Had It Right

None of these previously mentioned traits are good things when it comes to small-scale or recreational mining because they prevent you from reaching your highest levels of experiential knowledge and overall mining ability. Hell, mining is tough enough already without making it any worse, right?

I am fond of quoting the famous American actor John Wayne regarding this point. “Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re stupid.” The “Duke” had it right my friends….it’s sheer stupidity to make the same mining mistakes you made last season, or the season before, or the season before that.

What sort of repetitive mistakes? Let me provide you with a few examples:

• Being unwilling to do necessary work. (“I probably should get a ‘come along’ and move that boulder outta there….next year maybe.”)

• Working the same location or spot time after time despite poor gold showings. (“Dude, I just KNOW there’s a big nugget in there somewhere.”)

• Selling your gold for the lowest possible price every season. (“Well, yeah…I know I get ripped off selling my gold there but I don’t have to drive as far.”)

• Spending all your time working hard-scrabble placer ground or piss-poor claims. (“But golly, gee, gosh! All I have to do here is just pull off the road and walk a few feet.”)

Refusing to heed the advice of more experienced miners time and time again. (“OK. Sure Pops, I get it. Uh huh. My sluice box is running too fast and washing the finer gold out? Whatever. Seems perfectly fine to me. Thanks anyway though.”)

This list is potentially limitless and perhaps you yourself can come up with a few repetitive mistakes you’ve seen others make or perhaps you yourself have made. But that’s OK really. If you can admit error, then you’re one step ahead of the game.

Again, it’s not the mistakes we make as miners (or individuals) that count in the end. It’s our ability to learn from those mistakes and move beyond them.

Have fun out there!

If you liked this post, you may want to read: “Gold Detector Reviews: Minelab’s ‘GPX 4500’”


© J.R. 2010

Questions? E-mail me at jr872vt90@yahoo.com