The most grizzly prospectors in the Sierra Nevadas during the Gold Rush days of California were Loko Pitt, Jacknife Wiley and Montana Slim. One day three people came up with a treasure map. They made a copy for each person and decided that the person who got the money first would accept it and the other two would go in expectation. That night each man sat down with a copy on his map and planned how he would first reach the treasure. Jacknife Wiley knew that the planning and preparation for this trip should be done with care. He decided to wake up early and get a good night's sleep. Loco Pitt knew that there were only two ways to get to the cabin where the treasure was hidden: at the top of a hill or around a hill. He planned to go around the mountain.
It's late reading and the storm is coming. He does not want to be stuck in the snow on top of a mountain. If he went around the mountain, there would be plenty of fishing and hunting. Montana Slim has decided that he needs to take the risk up the hill. It would be a tough climb in the harsh weather – but he was about to win that treasure!
The next morning Jackniff Wiley woke up – two hours after the other two men had already left the camp. He could not understand why they left without breakfast.
Loko followed the river while turning around Pitt Hill. When he came to a place where he needed to cross the river and travel to the other side of the hill, he decided that the river was too wide. He chose to walk further down the river where the river was deeper and more dangerous.
About half of the Montana Slim was up the mountain. He couldn't see the cabin and he wanted to make sure he was heading in the right direction. He has been on this mountain before and he knew that if he were to head to the Big Pine at the top of the mountain, he would be able to see Indian Rock. Once he wakes up at Indian Rock, his cabin should be on view. So he put Big Pine in his sights and carefully pressed the foot and the stone part to choose.
Back at the camp, Jakknif kept Willie packed to make sure he had everything he needed to travel, and his pack wouldn't get too heavy. It was late in the afternoon and he noticed the formation of clouds on the horizon. He knew the storm was coming. She opens her tent for the night. He does not want to fall into the storm.
Loko also saw peat storm clouds and as soon as it rained he found shelter under an old oak tree. As he lay down on his own bedroom he wondered how Montana slid up the hill.
Montana trembled over the winter and knew he was going to have to keep going. The rain turned into snow and he could easily have died if he stopped. He was almost at Indian Rock – he had to keep going.
The next morning Jackniff Wiley decided that it was finally time to start. He packed up and then realized his knife needed to be sharpened – so he sat down and started working on it.
Loco found the narrow stretch of Pitt River, crossed the horn and found the cabin in a beautiful neck. He started to run. He knew that he had reached his goal. He opened the cabin door and ran to the room and let the floor board loose. All he could see under the floor was dirt and a piece of paper. He uncovered the paper that said:
Loko Pete and Jacknife Wiley –
You've lost the race before you ever started.
Each choice has a consequence.
Montana gets rich – but did he win the race? Well that all depends on how you define success. You see, Montana took its treasure to San Francisco and lost it in a poker game. He was back to expectations within the year.
Loko Pitt decided that he somehow liked the small cabin and became a farmer. She married a sweet thing from the settlement and raised four boys in that land
Jackniff Wiley returned and settled down He learned that he liked working with equipment and opened a shop. He was known for miles around as a rich businessman.
So who was really the winner? What's really important? Each man started in the same place but ended up with something very different. One man lives an adventure and a risky life, the other his life is surrounded by family, the other is surrounded by business. The choices we make in the journey, the course modifications we make, go from our starting point and beyond or below our goals.
A study was conducted comparing William Smith and Jonathan Edwards with 1700 people. Now you have heard of Jonathan Edwards, a minister and theologian. He was a man of strong moral values and sincerity. You probably haven't heard of William Smith. He was an immoral man of low value and of little character was During this study Smith had 1026 descendants. Of these descendants, 300 were accused, 27 murderers, 190 prostitutes and over 500 drug and alcohol abusers. The Smith family spends several million dollars in New York State. Edwards has left 929 descendants, including 430 ministers, 314 war veterans, 75 writers, 99 college professors and presidents, 7 congressmen, 3 governors and 1 American vice president!
It is doubtful whether Edwards ever dreamed of his children would have the effect that they had on American culture. His desire was to live in a way that honors his Christian values. It is equally doubtful that William Smith even thought about the succession he had left. But the choices each person makes affect their own lives and the lives of the next generation.
How do you define success? And once you embark on a journey, how do you know where to end? One thing is for sure – it is the choices we make, the way we overcome obstacles, and our true character that will determine our end.