What Columbus Teaches Us About Failure

In fourteen hundred ninety-twoColumbus sailed the ocean blue...

The Canary Islands
The Canary Islands

Last year Billy and I were coming home from our 15th wedding anniversary trip, and we had a day to kick around Madrid.  We were surprised when our cabbie had to do some creative driving to our hotel because of all  of the Columbus Day celebrations.


We barely acknowledge Columbus Day in the U.S., the great land  he discovered, and this is a meaningful holiday in Spain? Who knew?! (Alas, this isn't the first time I've been late to a party.)

In a similar vein, I've always wondered why, despite this being a National Holiday,  Christopher Columbus doesn't spark our collective imagination.  You don't see car commercials extolling the virtues of exploration.  Budweiser doesn't have a tribute ad (I don't think!) to the "American Spirit" featuring Columbus (perhaps because Columbus was an Italian working for the Spanish queen?). I 'm expecting zero Instagram montages of Columbus day celebrations.

I can see the nation-wide yawn.

And yet,  I've always loved this guy.

Sure, it helps that I usually get a day off around my birthday, but there's something else I share with this intrepid explorer.  He failed at his original goal (to find a route to India), but he still hit his mission.

I feel as if I do that all of the time.  Those close to me tease me about being "in the zone" but never quite hitting the mark.  I make mistakes with confidence (like the Andre 2000 thing - oops!) and fail often enough that I've lost the energy to be embarrassed.

When Columbus returned to Spain, initially he declared his new "route to India" a success.  After multiple trips he finally realized that he hadn't discovered a new route, but a new land.

His FAILURE was better than his SUCCESS.

We all have that potential with our failures too.  We don't know what hangs in the balance, but going with whatever we discover in our adventures could be big!

Don't be afraid.  Sail On.