Columbus day is one of my favorite holidays. I get the day off of work in honor of a sailor who didn’t even really discover America. I was sitting thinking about how fortunate I am to have the day off to go to the dentist when I realized how much we can learn from this great explorer. At 41 he led 3 ships; the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, crewed by teenagers, on a voyage to reach Asia by sailing West. We all know no he never made it to Asia on that voyage but we can learn from what he was able to accomplish.
Do More With Less
We as a society have become enamoured with big expensive things. I am no exception to this rule. I am sitting in my 3000 sq ft house, watching a 52″ TV, typing on my laptop. I do not need any one of those items to survive. I could live in a smaller house, use free computers at the library, and ditch TV all together. I enjoy my vices, and I enjoy these things. This is the biggest difference between people in the current day and age and people from Christopher Columbus’ time.
1492 was a long time ago, there is no question things were a lot different then. I had the joy of actually boarding a replica of the Nina, Columbus’ favorite of his three ships the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. The first thing you notice when you approach one of these ships is the shear size, and it isn’t because of how big they are. The crews that crossed the ocean blue in 1492 were hardly living it up on their voyage. The boats were not big enough to have sleeping quarters and store food so the crews slept on the deck.
Columbus was able to take these three ships and his crew of 90 teenagers and do something some thought was impossible. He sailed into waters that were previously unknown and discovered “new” lands. Similarly we as consumers can take this approach to do more with less. We don’t have to posses the latest and greatest to succeed where others have not. We can save by working with what we have and not constantly wanting more.
Persistence Pays Off
One of Columbus’ greatest traits was his persistence. When Columbus decided to make the voyage west to reach Asia he approached the King of Portugal to request three ships and money to make his voyage. He was shot down and he approached the kings of France and England to no avail. Finally he made his pitch to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. He was able to convince them the journey would benefit them greatly and he was granted three ships, a crew of 90, and money.
Columbus did not give up on his dream. Like Columbus we should take our dreams to the limit. Focus on what you hope to accomplish and don’t let setbacks get you down. If you have the next great business idea don’t give up because someone told you no, keep asking and be persistent until someone tells you yes. That persistence could allow you, like it did Columbus, to achieve something great.