Looking back on this day, October 12, 1492 when Christopher Columbus accidentally stumbled into the Bahamas and the five centuries thereafter, for many, there are mixed feelings. Columbus had a plan he called “Enterprise of the Indies” – to find a western route to Asia. When he solicited the help of King John II of Portugal for his plan, he was rejected. He did not give up, but sought help from King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. Even after being rebuffed twice, he persisted and eventually won their support.
There is no doubt that Columbus’ “discoveries” led to European colonialism in the “New World”, marked with the worst brutality against the indigenous people – the Indians. European colonialism is to blame for the savagery, and since I am not an expert on Columbus, I will desist speculating into any ulterior motives on his part.
Nevertheless, commercial pursuits also led to unprecedented exploitation of human beings and natural resources evident in the past five centuries.
The inspiration in Columbus’ “discoveries” is not in the greed and dark side of humanity. Rather, it is to be found in his belief in himself, in his vision, in the possibilities (of an alternative route because of the difficulties of the normal route through Egypt and the Red Sea). He persisted when rejected, not accepting those who said it could not be done.
William McGowan, founder of MCI Communications Corp used to say, “Those who tell you it cannot be done are telling you what they cannot do, not what you can or cannot do”. The following previous posts highlight the same principles:
Possibilities and impossibilities are products of the mind.
Discover your life purpose.
Finding Life Purpose.
Stay the course.