What Can We Learn From Christopher Columbus?

I am sure that most of you know that today is Columbus Day, a holiday created to celebrate Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492. Most of us have heard the story of Christopher Columbus, and today I want to look at who Christopher Columbus was, what he accomplished, and what we can learn from him.

Who was Columbus

Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer, born in northwestern Italy, who is often credited with the discovery of the “New World.”  

What did Columbus accomplish

There is a lot of evidence that Columbus didn’t discover the New World. Some would argue that the New World was discovered by its indigenous population, and others have argued that the New World was discovered in the 11th century by a Norse expedition led by Leif Ericson.

Though Columbus might not have been the first European explorer to reach the Americas, his voyages led to the first lasting European contact with the Americas, inaugurating a period of European exploration, conquest, and colonization that lasted for several centuries. They had a HUGE impact in the historical development of the modern Western world.

Columbus’s claim to fame isn’t that he got there first,” explains historian Martin Dugard, “it’s that he stayed.”

What can we learn from Columbus

There are three things that we can learn from Christopher Columbus that we can apply to our own lives. Christopher Columbus knew his purpose, he created a plan, and he developed a platform to put his plan into action to accomplish his purpose.

Columbus Knew His Purpose

His purpose was to reach the East Indies by sailing westward and establishing a new trade route to Asia. Although parts of his purpose had been accomplished before, he was the first one to combine them into a unique purpose for his life.

Columbus Had A Plan

His plan was to equip three sturdy ships to spend one year sailing the Atlantic in search of a western route to the Orient.

He planned to use celestial navigation, together with his understanding that the Earth was a sphere, to keep his ships traveling west.  He used Toscanelli’s estimate of the spherical distance to Asia to plan for the size of his ships, the amount of food required, and to track the distance traveled.

He also used his knowledge of the trade winds to estimate the time it would take to complete the voyage. He used the “easterlies,” to propel his fleet from the Canary Islands to the Bahamas, and he used the “westerlies ” to return to Europe.

Columbus Created A Platform

Columbus knew his purpose and created a plan to accomplish it. But that wasn’t enough. Columbus need to raise the funds required to support his plan. He needed to create a platform to reach the people who could support his purpose and fund his plan.

In 1485, Columbus presented his plan to the King of Portugal. His plan was rejected.

In 1488, Columbus once again presented his plan to the King of Portugal and once again it was rejected.

Columbus tried to get support for his plan in Spain, England and Italy and was rejected by each one.

Finally, in 1492, after seven years of continual lobbying and negotiations, his plan was approved by King Ferdinand of Spain after Queen Isabella had rejected him once again. Half of his funding was provided by Spain and the other half was provided by private Italian investors. Columbus was to be made “Admiral of the Seas,” Viceroy and Governor of all the new lands that he could claim for Spain, and would receive a 10% of all of the profits if he was successful.

Columbus understood his purpose in life, had a plan to accomplish his purpose, and developed a platform to raise the support that he needed to accomplish his purpose.

What are you doing today to define your purpose? Develop a plan to accomplish your purpose? Develop a platform to share your purpose with the world?

It wasn’t easy for Columbus to accomplish his purpose, and it took more than 7-years to obtain support for his plan. It will not be easy for us either, but Columbus took steps that moved him closer to his purpose each day, and you can too!

What steps are you taking today that will move you toward living your life purpose? Comment here.

photo credit: ConspiracyofHappiness via photopin cc

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