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What Can Christopher Columbus Teach Us Today?

Like Columbus, follow your dream, and don't settle for less.

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Let's take a step back in time and meet Christopher Columbus.

We know of Christopher Columbus today, 500 years after he lived, because he had a Dream, Charted a Course, and Boldly Set Sail.

Christopher Columbus is, and was, a man of very mixed reputation. While generations of American schoolchildren were taught to idolize him for "discovering" their country, more recently he is noted for being the first to bring to America various infections that killed tens of millions of Native Americans, and also for introducing the European version of the practice of slavery.

In his own time, Christopher Columbus had great difficulty in persuading anyone with financial resources to fund his "crazy" idea of sailing to the Indies (that is, Southeast Asia) to trade for spices. Columbus had no idea that anything but open water existed between Europe and Asia to the west.

Columbus would be no more than a tiny footnote to history except that he made two enormous miscalculations that exactly counterbalanced each other. In preparing plans for a trip to Asia, Columbus' arithmetic was faulty, and he severely miscalculated the circumference of the earth. His calculations indicated that the earth was much smaller than it actually is, and that a sailing ship could carry enough provisions to sail westward from Europe to Asia.

If Columbus had calculated correctly, he would have determined that his ships could not carry enough food to sustain a voyage from Europe to Asia and he would never have set sail. As an aside, several potential patrons turned down the idea of funding Columbus' expedition after their own mathematicians recognized Columbus' erroneous calculation.

Columbus' other enormous miscalculation, of course, is that the American continents were between Europe and Asia. By pure random chance, Columbus reached America exactly the distance from Europe that he expected to reach Asia, and just before his food ran out. If there had been, as Columbus believed, no land between Europe and Asia, Columbus and all his men would have starved long before they reached Asia.

What does the story of Columbus teach us today?

Like Columbus, we have Dreams that run through our head like full color movies, pleading with us to take action.

Like Columbus, we have many people telling us that our dreams are "crazy," and we should settle for less.

Like Columbus we are unable to anticipate what the future will bring, and what the consequences of taking action on our Dreams might be.

Will we, like Columbus, chart the best course we are able, given the information we have access to at the time, and set sail? Or will we trash our Dreams into the box labeled "fantasy discard pile," and return to doing what others expect of us?

Stand tall, breathe deep, and Choose today to chart the course that will transform your Dream into reality.

[the above is taken from my Regaining Your Happiness in Seven Weeks training program]



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Jonathan Lockwood Huie
"The Philosopher of Happiness" - is the author of 100 Secrets for Living a Life You Love, co-author of Simply An Inspired Life, speaker, personal coach, and creator of the popular Daily Inspiration - Daily Quote free email and Regaining Your Happiness in Seven Weeks e-training program.



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