Today is Columbus Day and most of us will give Christopher Columbus credit for discovering what has become America.
“On October 12, (1492) Rodrigo de Triana, a sailor aboard the Pinta, first sighted land. Columbus himself later claimed that he had seen a sort of light or aura before Triana did, allowing him to keep the reward he had promised to give whomever spotted land first. The land turned out to be a small island in the present-day Bahamas. Columbus named the island San Salvador, although he remarked in his journal that the natives referred to it as Guanahani. There is some debate over which island was Columbus’ first stop; most experts believe it to be San Salvador, Samana Cay, Plana Cays or Grand Turk Island.”
There’s an old joke that says Columbus didn’t know where he was going, didn’t know what he’d found when he arrived, got lost coming back home and did it all on borrowed money.
The joke is funny but, like a lot of jokes, not entirely true. Columbus was trying to get to India and thought that if the earth was round and he sailed following the sun he’d hit it (India, not the sun).
In fact, he was using Chevy Chase’s logic from the movie Caddy Shack, “In an alternate universe the shortest distance between two points is a straight line…in the opposite direction.”
Getting where we want to go in life doesn’t always happen in a linear fashion. There are stops and starts, obstacles to overcome, heartbreaks to bear (and bare), two-steps-back-and-one-step-forward, surprises (good and bad), disappointments and joyous victories.
The key is to keep your eye and heart on the prize. If you can stay focused on the goal and keep moving—no matter how fitfully—you can, as Thoreau said, “meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”