The 48 Gold Mining Laws of Power (Part 1)

Some time ago Robert Greene authored a book titled The 48 Laws of Power. This book caused some consternation among certain groups of people (social justice types, the airy fairy, hippy dippy crowd, or just plain generic "weenies") because it contains a combination of deceptive, ruthless, and perceived manipulative rules or "laws" for increasing your personal power. But the core message Greene's book contains is solid as far as it relates to creating a stronger, more powerful you. So I got to thinking I might use Greene's approach and apply similar principles or "laws" to small-scale gold mining and here are the results.


Shut your yap and listen to those who have the experience and knowledge to make you a more successful gold miner. If you're fortunate enough to have a good mentor or two (as I did early on), become a martial arts "grasshopper" and let what they have to say or teach you soak in completely and thoroughly. Push your ego aside and become a blank slate that can be taught, directed, and molded. Those who can't be quiet and listen for a change are doomed to failure somewhere down the road.


This covers a range of potential situations and occurrences as well as people...even those seemingly close to you. Real trust is hard to come by in this world and when it comes to gold, trust levels can diminish rapidly even over small amounts of yellow. You might think I'm overstating the gold thing here, but I've seen it happen and been involved in disputes over deceptively small gold recoveries by so-called pards (as well as others). It's a tough thing to say, but you're better off trusting no one when it comes to gold or treasure of any sort. And I mean no one.


This is a good follow up to the previous law. If you do get a really good recovery or "hit" out there mining (or treasure hunting) keep things on the down low as much as possible. The more you reveal about a good find (or productive spot) the more at risk your recovery (or location) becomes. I learned this one the hard way and got "burned" badly in the process. So put your ego in check despite the fact you want to share your joy with the world at large. Stay cool as a cucumber and don't go around shooting your mouth off while buying rounds for everyone at the local bar. And stay the hell away from news media interviews and the like. The more folks who know about your finds the less likely you're gonna keep them fully in your possession.


You're probably already seeing that these "laws" are interrelated and interwoven. You are correct in that regard. Saying less around others is always better than saying too much. People who talk too much have a way of revealing secrets inadvertently. If you have a tendency to talk too much there are those who can glean many things from what you say, even things you're trying hard not to reveal. So take on the persona of the strong, silent type. Be a man or woman of few words and don't allow your gold mining strategies, recoveries, or approaches to be compromised by those who seek to undermine you (no pun intended!).


Even if you're the unluckiest person in the world and can't seem to turn up color in your gold pan no matter how hard you try, keep your reputation golden. This is true in life as well as in the small-scale mining community. You'd be surprised how many folks I know in that community and how many know me (or of me). Some of those people may not like me as person (boo-hoo-hoo) but I'd wager that they DO respect me. Make sure the same is true for you. Keep your reputation as clean and as honorable as you possibly can. You'll make lots of inroads in the small-scale community that way and there will always be people who will back your play. If you go the other route you'll become a laughing stock or worse.


This is a tough one to explain but I'll give it the old college try. In general, the more others know about you and what you're doing out in the field the more "common" you become. In other words, you become a known quantity, especially if you're the type who blabs and blabs endlessly. Stay within yourself and when people ask specific questions about what you're finding or where the good spots are, try to remain as mysterious as the Sphinx of Ancient Egypt. Yes, there are those times when you'll find it right and just to help others and turn them onto good gold locations, but there's also a time to deflect their queries with open-ended responses that really give nothing away. In other words, be a hard nut to crack and add an air of mystery to what you're thinking and doing.


I'm going contrary here in terms of what Robert Greene says in his book about this law. NEVER take credit for the hard work others have done...anywhere, any time. Gold mining or otherwise. To me riding on the backs of the hard work of others and then taking credit for the same is as low down as it gets. In fact, it's the work of scoundrels, cheats, and low lives. Do your own work and take credit for that. If some good gold is found by you in the process, well pard...take credit for that as well. But if it's someone else in your party that does the hard work and finds the "goodies," don't steal their thunder. Be glad for them and let them get credit where credit is due.


Although I've spent the bulk of my small-scale mining career going it alone, that doesn't mean I didn't wish I'd had a good, long-term pard or two through those four decades. As a small-scale guy or gal, you want to draw good people your way (and most gold miners fit that bill). The best way to do that? Be a good, even-tempered and fair-minded person yourself. Like attracts like no matter how many times you've heard that opposites attract. You get what you put out to the universe at large. So if you're a negative thinker, a grumbler and complainer, or just a plain old asshole then, brothers and sisters, you can expect to draw unto you the people, situations, and negative consequences that are linked to those thoughts and behaviors. When you're out in the field prospecting or mining for gold you want really good people at your side. To make that happen you have to set the example first.


This law has been around forever but it's true as true can be. Talk is cheap and words without any sort of backup are even cheaper. I've been around certain members of the small-scale mining community who can really talk the talk but when it comes to walking the walk they fall far short of their proclamations and pontifications. Let your actions speak for you, both out in the field and elsewhere for that matter. Do the hard work and show that your actions as a miner are all about mining, not about BSing or squeaking by. Also have your inner radar up and running when some other miner starts flapping his gums about how he or she does this or that, or how many ounces they pulled last summer. We're all heroes when it comes to talking, but the real mettle of any person is found through his or her actions. So make sure your words are backed up by your actions 100% of the time.


In case you didn't already know it, toxics are those people who are so caught up in their own misery and negative thinking that they drain the very life right from you. Among these are whiners, chronic complainers, pissers and moaners, non-hackers, loudmouths, braggarts and blowhards, compulsive liars, thieves, addicts and drunks, and so on and so on. These are the LAST people you want to be mining with or making deals with. In fact, you don't want to be around them anytime or anywhere. From a mining standpoint they will ruin your day and suck the joy out of any mining trip or mutual mining effort. I know, I've had one or two alongside me while mining and once their true colors appeared I got as far away from them as I possibly could. You need to do the same if you're somehow caught up with a toxic. Toxics are not evil people in general, they're simply poor souls with inner drivers that are imminently dysfunctional. Toxics carry a black cloud that hovers over them and they can only bring you bad luck in the field...not lots of yellow. Remember that and act accordingly.

That's it for this round but there are 38 more power "laws" to come!

Take care all.

(c) Jim Rocha 2018

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. Okay...well these are pretty good affirmations Jim.
    I know I need to work on some of these. Problem is I may not remember all of them, so they could end up getting written down on scraps of paper and hung up in strategic places.
    (Places around the house, not on the claim)
    I have always been one to give a fellow human the benefit of the doubt until they prove me wrong. Like trust too much.
    But I hear ya about the gold and how it can cause a person to do bad things.
    Hopefully this coming year I run into enough gold that I need to really start being careful.

    I was wondering if you have ever had a pard working your claim with you. How did you handle the split of the gold with your pard?

    I met a guy today that said he had two men teaching him to pan and they stole all of his gold. He wasn't a kid then either.
    He would finish up a pan and if it had color in it they would tell him he's doing a fine job.
    Then they would take his pan away from him and hand him a empty one and tell him to go try it again.
    I have no idea how long that went on, but I got the impression it was at least all of the first day of panning.

    Now the good part for me was that he told me about a certain area a few miles below my claim that always has good gold. He said that the two old timers always did good there.
    I slowed and had a look on my way home today and those gravel bars down there do look like they could be pretty good. He said that they were getting LOTS of gold out of there.

    I'm sure glad that this guy didn't know about your 48 rules of mining power.

    And a miracle also happened...
    I didn't open my mouth and talk about any of the gold I found this summer.
    I am really proud of myself.

    1. When I was working with others we did equal percentage "cuts" of the gold as long as equal work was done by all Don. Smaller nuggets and larger, coarse pieces were distributed by equal weight. Larger nuggets (few and far between) we drew high card for. Seemed to work OK 90% of the time. But one thing to remember is that you can't watch others all the time...the potential for grabbing or thieving more than your share is always there. That's why you have to have some trust...but don't rely on others to always be trustworthy. Good on ya for keeping tight lipped. In general it's the best way to be.

  2. absolutely - INCREDIBLE …. what a mirror on the present condition(s)
    on a personal note = the application to any & all-of-us in the mining/prospecting community is 'right-on'
    keep up the good work = you are very-much-appreciated ….

    1. You made my day Grandpa! Thank you for the good words.

  3. Jim, Great advice. #10.....My Uncle fits that description. Sadly, he has always been my favorite growing up. He never used to be like this, so it's a hard thing for me to deal with. Anyway...….

    1. I hear ya Gary. My family was full of toxics growing up, sad to say. And some along the way till now outside of family. I get them far away from me.


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