The 48 Gold Mining Laws of Power (Part 2)
By the time this post gets out there it'll be Christmas so...a very Merry Christmas to one and all. Let's move on now to more mining power laws.
LAW 11: DON'T BECOME DEPENDENT ON OTHERS
I'm reversing Robert Greene's advice here so bear with me. Like becoming too trusting of others, becoming overly dependent on them is doomed to failure in the long run. That's one thing I probably don't have to harp on because most (if not all) small-scale gold miners are independent spirits in the first place. So place your trust in your own knowledge, experience, and skills and don't expect those around you to pick up the ball for you (in mining or regarding how you conduct your life). Sadly, if you do you'll end up on the short end of the stick one way or another.
LAW 12: BE SELECTIVELY HONEST AND GENEROUS
I have to say that most of the folks I've come across in the small-scale gold mining community are as honest and generous with their time as the day is long. But remember I said most...not all. There are bad apples in every crate or barrel as you well know. So don't be a bad apple. At the same time, be selective in terms of who you are honest and generous with. Unfortunately, certain people aren't deserving of your honesty or generosity and it's up to you to figure out who those people are. Generally they are what I call the "takers," those folks who seldom, if ever, reciprocate your good will, honesty, and generosity. As the Good Book says, "Cast ye not thy pearls before swine." I think that says it all.
LAW 13: NEVER PUT YOURSELF IN AN INFERIOR POSITION WHEN DEALING WITH OTHERS
Small-scale gold mining is not about "one upping" the other guy or gal. Somehow this lesson gets pushed aside by some and they always feel the need to exert some sort of control over others or lord it over them. I don't care how inexperienced you may be as a prospector or small-scale miner, you never have to "kow-tow" to others. The same holds true for all of us, including old timers like myself. You don't have to mine, wheel and deal, or do anything else in your life from an inferior position unless you yourself feel inferior. Our perception is our reality, you see? You are no one's doormat or flunky, regardless of how much the other guy or gal knows or what they might say to you. You always want to be working from a standpoint of confidence, strength, and resolve. You either want to be dealing with others from a balanced standpoint or better yet...from a position of strength without "bullying" others.
LAW 14: KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS OPEN
When it comes to all things gold mining, keeping your eyes and ears open can be a huge advantage. Yes, everyone who isn't deaf or blind can see and hear. But I'm talking about REALLY using your eyes and ears to open up new gold recovery possibilities out there. Instead of flapping your gums all the time zip it and start listening and looking around you. This is how you get those tip offs to good gold and good gold locations in many instances. It's sort of like being a spy...you keep a low profile, appear innocuous, and use your eyes and ears to get the info you want or need. Like I said before, most people have a tendency to talk too much and by doing so they tend to reveal little secrets about themselves and what they're up to. Back in the 1980s I listened to some other miners shooting the shit in a cafe booth behind me and picked up a a tip that led me to some real "goodies" once I figured out the best way to get at and recover the gold. Ditto for using your eyes...watch and see what other miners are up to if they're working near you. And lastly, start "seeing" what other miners who came to the same gold location before you failed to see.
LAW 15: KICK ASS AND TAKE NAMES
When you're out and about in the field don't be a Peter Pan pansy. Get out there and kick some ass! Work like there's no tomorrow but work as smart as you can. Fussing and fiddling around when prospecting or gold mining is akin to being a Chicken Little who runs around in circles proclaiming "There's no gold here! There's no gold here!" (not to mention the sky is falling). There's always some gold where you've planted your butt so get off that posterior of yours and start working to get that yellow in your vial. And if you have to, work in such a "beast" mode that you scare the shit out of those around you. I'm dead serious here. Let them scurry off like frightened hens while you keep swinging that pick, lifting that shovel, and bucketing gravel like someone possessed. It takes real work and hard work to get gold no matter what approach you're using. Even if you're an old burnout like me you can still kick ass and take names within the framework of your current physical abilities. So never back off or back down.
LAW 16: KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE AND YOUR ENEMIES FAR AWAY
I realize that I'm being contrarian here yet again since the old adage is "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." None of us need enemies out in the field nor do we have to keep them close. That Machiavellian shit is for politicians, corporate heads, Wall Street wheeler dealers, and the like. I'm not saying you can't make enemies as a small-scale guy or gal but you'd typically have to be trying hard to make that happen. But good pards and good friends are folks you definitely want to keep close to you, whatever little spats or differences you might have with each other. Gold comes in many forms and so do friends and good pards. In essence, good friends are as golden as that yellow in your poke. So keep your friends close and don't create enemies unless there's no other avenue for you. And once an enemy IS created or discovered, keep them at a distance and not near your belt buckle.
LAW 17: BE UNPREDICTABLE IN YOUR THINKING AND APPROACH
In general, human beings gravitate toward that which is habitual and predictable. This is as true in gold mining as it is in life. But the way Ma Nature hides her gold is not always a predictable event and she can get very good at throwing curve balls your way. So when you're out in the field follow the basic tenets and principles of gold deposition but back that habitual approach up with a measure of unpredictability in your thinking and approaches. In other words, throw that curve ball right back at Ma Nature and let her know you're not a chump who's stuck on habit and a singular approach to getting her gold. This is especially true if your working dry or desert placer environments where the gold is often in places you wouldn't normally dream of. So "dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee!"
LAW 18: ISOLATION CAN BE DANGEROUS
I'm really not the person who should be "instructing" anyone in this particular regard. As I've said already, I've spent the bulk of my small-scale mining career going it alone in gold environments that were pretty tame and some that were way out in the boonies. This is a "two-edged sword" at best. Isolation is dangerous (or can have potentially negative outcomes) for any number of reasons. If you severely sprain or break an ankle, arm, or leg out there you may end up being predator bait or facing hypothermia or heat exhaustion. Ditto for having a large rock or boulder coming loose and pinning your arm (something I've some close to a number of times). You could damage your vehicle on some heavily rutted road or get stuck out there in some wasteland of desert sand. The potential negatives of working alone can pose a REAL physical threat at times. Be aware of this and take precautions or better yet...buddy up with someone who won't ruin your day. The other aspect of this isolation thing is that you miss out on the advice, experience, and help of other miners who can point you to the gold or tell you the best way to get at it. No man or a woman is an island. Remember that.
LAW 19: KNOW WHO YOU'RE DEALING WITH
This Law applies to fellow miners, advice givers, and even those folks I classify as dream merchants. Sometimes people will show their true colors right up front and sometimes it takes a while to get a line on what they're all about. Either way, it's always best to know who you're dealing with. That's the best way to avoid being sandbagged, ripped off, or played like a trout on the hook. Don't automatically assume that everyone you run into out in the field or in the small-scale mining community has your best interests in mind. Most do but some don't. I do or otherwise I wouldn't be urging you to use your powers of observation and ability to judge character to protect yourself. Here's a sad fact for your evaluation and perusal: most folks out there are in it for themselves. They are the "takers" as opposed to the "givers." Thankfully, these sorts are a minority in the small-scale gold mining community but there are plenty of them around you elsewhere. So take heed and act accordingly.
LAW 20: IT'S BEST NOT TO COMMIT TO ANYONE
This is a follow on to the previous Law. BE very careful about committing your mining time, money, resources, or effort to those who may have negative intentions backing up their play. This sounds a bit paranoid I know, but it's a good strategy none the less. In fact, I'd take this idea a step further and say that you shouldn't commit to anyone (aside from your core family members). Like it or not, there are a lot of gold mining scams out there these days aside from the usual claim nonsense. Miners are free-minded spirits by and large. If you want to remain that way so you can enjoy your personal freedom out in the field don't get caught up in contracts, verbal agreements, or commitments of any sort. Play it loose and enjoy yourself.
LAW 21: PLAY DUMB
Another interesting aspect of human behavior is the fact that most people love to shout their successes to the world and have their five minutes of fame no matter what the hell they're doing or have done. The need to be admired or recognized is often the driver behind this sort of behavior as well as a certain measure of arrogance and an unrestrained ego. But hey, that's not you right? Your best strategy when you do hit something good or find that small jewel of a gold location is to play dumb. So when another miner starts prying or asking for specifics in terms of your approach and/or recoveries, just hit the dumb button and play the role of the village idiot for a bit. Alternately, follow the "be mysterious" routine and say as little as possible. You don't have to be an asshole about it either. Just act like you don't know which direction the sun comes up from each morning.
Here's an example of what I'm talking about: Back in the early 1980s when I was making an absolute killing on the beaches of SoCal during the winter months I'd have dozens of folks come up to me to ask what I was doing or to see what I had been finding. I kept my recovery apron filled with pull tabs, nails, screws, small pieces of aluminum, and other "junk" as well as a few oxidized pennies or clad coins I'd recovered and when asked what I was finding I'd reply, "Not much." Then I'd grab a handful of the "junk" I talked about and show it to whoever was querying me. They'd smile or laugh and then shuffle off down the beach. Meanwhile, I had hundreds of dollars worth of gold and silver jewelry I'd recovered that day safely tucked away on my person. I was playing dumb, you see? Being the village idiot. Had I not done that and shown those "Lookie Lou's" my REAL finds you can well imagine the consequences once the word got around can't you?
That's it for this round. Once again...a very Merry Christmas to you and yours!
(c) Jim Rocha 2018
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org