Mining for Gold
By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

The date was January 24, 1848, when a carpenter from New Jersey named James Marshall found flakes of gold in California’s American River while working to build a water-powered sawmill for John Sutter. So began the Gold Rush of 1848. By the end of 1849, the non-native population soared from 1,000 to 100,000. In similar fashion, on August 16, 1896 the great Klondike Gold Rush began in Canada. This priceless element, hidden for centuries, now discovered, would change the world for many.

Now I haven’t heard of many new discoveries of gold in the United States lately. In New York, the only gold I have ever heard of was glacier gold that shows up in streams from time to time, but I would like to propose a new gold rush, mining the gold of good intentions. I know that may sound strange but let me explain.

Just as the areas around Sutter’s Mill were changed forever by the discovery of gold, I believe our lives, our families, our companies, and our community can be changed profoundly if we mine for the gold of good intentions. Think about how much energy we spend reacting to what we believe someone meant, said, or did. We are not even sure what happened, but we are up in arms, telling others, and reacting poorly. I battle this frequently when I am in a meeting or read an email that I assume to be critical about someone or something I hold dear. My heart rate rises, respiration changes, and emotions begin to take over.  What would happen if we more often assumed the best in others? What if we shared positive things about others and looked for people doing things right? This would allow us to move from a negative mindset to a positive mindset. From pessimism to optimism. From asking “can we?” to “how can we?”

Please know, I am not naïve, and I know that there are people who may be ”out to get us,” but have our lives ever benefited from reacting poorly?

Let’s all commit to mining for the gold of good intentions and develop the “how can we” mindset.