Friday, December 23, 2016

12/23/16 Report - The Flip of A Fin: The Dividing Line Between Success and Failure.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

By the Flip of a Fin.

Some of the best and most amazing finds are accidents.  Almost all of them are to one extent or another.

The gold coins of a lost old army payroll was discovered while a couple guys were hunting lobsters. It was the sudden flip of the tail fin of a startled shark that exposed the  gold at just the right time.  You can't plan that.

How about the gold glove tray.  It is the largest gold artifact ever found along the Treasure Coast.  That is another example of a happy accident.  The gold tray was discovered when the swim fin of one of a group of guys that were spear fishing exposed the glint of gold.

Many of the most amazing finds were not  sought - at least not specifically.  They were unexpected.

You can set out to find a specific lost ring that has been described to you in detail.  In that case you know what you are hunting for, you have a specific goal and intend to find that specific object, but when you are searching for a centuries old treasure, you seldom if ever are hunting a particular object. You hope to find something, but not a specific item.

One story I have told many times and to many audiences, including radio audiences, is the story about how one Easter my wife and I tried to make a special memory for my young nephew when his parents were going through a difficult divorce.  We bought tons of candy, decorations and things, and did our best to make that Easter special for him.  In the morning when he came out and saw everything, he excitedly exclaimed, "I must have been really good, huh?" (He is now 36, has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and still thinks he is really good.)

Over the years I realized how well my nephew's statement illustrated the nature of man.  When we have good fortune, we think it must be because we did something good and fail to recognize when some of the credit should go elsewhere.

None of us can take credit for the good fortune of being born with relatively good health, having two arms and legs and a pretty good head on our shoulders, not being born into the poverty of a third world country, and being raised to adulthood by someone who cared.  We had not control over that.  We were just lucky.  We like to take the credit, but other things - things out of our control -  had to happen for us to be where we are.

Most big treasure finds are usually to one extent or another happy accidents.  There are those rare times when someone is targeting something very specific in a very planned way, but usually there is a large element chance.  Despite our skills and effort there is the element of surprise when a great find is made.

I once described skill as intentional action that increases the probability of success.  Probability is the key word.  Even with great skill, there is still the possibility of failure.  The element of luck (factors outside of your control) is usually there whether you want to recognize it or not.

I'm not saying there is no skill involved in treasure hunting.  I've spent a lot of time talking about ways to improve your skill and therefore the probability of success.

Effort and skill are to be celebrated, but it is also good to recognize good fortune.

There are truly great finds, but if you think about it, many of them could have been made by a total beginner if they just happened to put their coil over a treasure or if the item happened to be exposed to them at just the right time.  (Of course there is some skill involved in being at the right place at the right time on a regular basis.)

Many who have worked just as hard and skillfully failed in their endeavors, and many who were less skilled but happened to be in the right place at the right time succeeded wildly.  It is good to celebrate accomplishments that occur as the result of effort and skill, but it is just as important to recognize the factors outside of your control -  good or bad.  Sometimes, probably more often than we realize, success or failure is a matter of little more than the flip of a fin.


I intended to finish yesterday's post today, but got off the subject.  I'll finish yesterdays post some other time.

This afternoon the surf is supposed to be up to four to six feet.  Tomorrow and for a few days it will decrease a foot or so.

Happy hunting,