I was born in Anchorage, Alaska and I love the history and symbolism of that northern land. In the nineteenth century, many prospectors came to Alaska to find gold and riches. Few of those people found any gold. But I firmly believe that we have the power to find gold in any situation. I know this because of the Klondike Gold Rush.
The Klondike Gold Rush
In 1897, a young man decided to leave his home in San Francisco and join the Klondike Gold Rush in Yukon Territory, Canada. His hope—like the 100,000 other prospectors—was to find a fortune that would lift him out of poverty.
Conditions, however, were far worse than he had expected. And this young man soon found himself in Dawson City, Yukon, malnourished and sick with scurvy. Not long after that, he left Canada and traveled back to California. He was empty-handed and no doubt discouraged. Both his health and his financial situation were worse than when he had arrived.
He did not find gold.
His hopeful expedition into the wild was, by all outside metrics, a complete failure.
How to Find Gold
Yet, he did not interpret it that way. Instead, he looked at his negative experiences from a different angle—he shifted the pan, just a little—and saw gold.
He then began to write.
Drawing upon his experiences, this young man wrote dozens of short stories and novels, all of them set in the vast, mysterious region known as Yukon Territory.
His writings were successful. His novels were bestsellers. He earned a fortune.
Jack London may not have found gold in the Klondike Gold Rush, but he used his experiences to amass a fortune that lifted him out of poverty. But more than earthly treasures, Jack London’s name will endure because of his writings. In a very real way, Jack’s experiences, painful as they were, turned him into the very gold he sought.
How We Can Find Gold
We have the power to transform our experiences, painful as they may be, into gold—something that will benefit ourselves and other people. We may not be talented writers, musicians, or artists, but we can find gold in any situation. We can learn from our mistakes and use that knowledge to be better, stronger, and wiser. We can find meaning in our own journeys and share that meaning with others. We can reach the summit of our challenges and look at our lives with a new perspective.
Whatever happens to us in life—be it prosperity or poverty—let us harness our experiences and transform them into something more precious than gold.