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7 Thought - Lessons from Christopher Columbus’ Life to Help You Ponder upon Your Life’s Purpose & Real Success

Updated on August 25, 2011
If he had reached the Indies, Christopher Columbus, the "admiral of the Seven Seas", could have died fulfilled rather than simply wealthy.
If he had reached the Indies, Christopher Columbus, the "admiral of the Seven Seas", could have died fulfilled rather than simply wealthy. | Source

While browsing Istockphoto in search of a picture that would best illustrate my upcoming blog post, Success Is Being Able to Say: It Is Finished, I stumbled upon the above picture. It depicts in center stage Christopher Columbus, the man who discovered the American continent, on a ship with 2 people on their knees reverencing the 15th century Italian Explorer.

The represented scene on this picture made me want to know more about him. So I did some research on him, and learned that the illustrious Navigator, whose discovery helped make Spain the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth, died a disappointed man.

In this hub I’m sharing 7 thoughts regarding life’s purpose and real success using lessons from the life of Christopher Columbus and his adventure(s) in trying to discover an alternate route to the Indies. These thoughts are based upon the following historical facts:

1. The fall of Constantinople to the Muslim Ottoman Empire in 1453 - fall that resulted in the end of the Roman Empire and the interruption on the use of the Silk Road because of insecurity - gave rise to the need of finding other means to reach Asia with whom Europe had developed fruitful commercial relationships. Since he was then armed with some training and experience in busyness and navigation, some knowledge on the canaries current, his belief in the sphericity of the earth, and the desire to prove feasible the idea of reaching Asia by sailing west across the Atlantic ocean, Christopher Columbus found purpose in this need.

Thought - Lesson 1:

Your Life’s Purpose is aimed at meeting a particular need in your generation. The more sensitive you are to this need, the more it won’t let you rest as it makes demands on your potential.

Thought - Lesson 2:

Every experience you’ve been through and all the knowledge you’ve acquired are part and parcel of your potential. They were meant to shape you. It’s only through belief that potential is unlocked and the doors of opportunity open up.

2. It took Christopher Columbus seven years of funding campaigns in Portugal, in Italy (Genoa and Venice), in England, and in Spain before getting the material and financial support that he needed from the Spanish royal court.

Thought - Lesson 3:

It takes determination and perseverance to break through obstacles on your way to fulfilling your life’s purpose

3. Though he believed that our planet is round and not flat, the Italian Spanish conquistador had wrongly estimated the circumference of the earth to about 30,000 km instead of 40,000 as accurately calculated by Eratosthenes, the founder of Geography and father of scientific chronology, in the 3rd century BC.

Thought - Lesson 4:

If he had added accurate knowledge to his navigation skills, C. Columbus would have known that when he landed in the current Bahamas he was about 10,000 km away from his target.

Had he correctly appreciated this distance, he would have realized how impracticable the idea of reaching the Indies going westward across the ocean would be.

Dreams, as J.C. Maxwell advises, need to be tested so as to maximize their feasibility. In his book, Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It, he asks, “Is a dream worth pursuing if it has no chance of becoming reality?”

4. History reveals that even though Christopher Columbus never reached the Indies, Spain became the wealthiest and most powerful nation of the 16th. The exploitation of the New World proved itself far more profitable than the spice trade with Asia. Spain’s real economical need was met by means that were unconceivable before the discovery.

As for the navigator, he seemed to have been motivated more by accumulation of riches, power, and fame than by the discovery of a westward maritime route to Asia or the evangelization of the New World.

Accused of tyranny and poor management, he was stripped of his titles of Viceroy and Governor of the Indies and thrown in prison. Though released and authorized to effect his 4th voyage; he never recovered his titles and died, according to some reports - a disappointed man.

Thought - Lesson 5:

If he had the right motivation to help find an alternate route to the Indies, Columbus could have been content with his discovery and may not have embarrassed himself trying to govern the discovered land.

Life’s purpose is not only about serving a cause or choosing a career, it is also and mainly about the motive behind. Your mission on earth ought to be carried out in a manner that satisfies he who has commissioned you.

5. Christopher Columbus never recognized that he failed to reach Asia. It is reported that, at his death he was still convinced that “his journeys had been along the east coast of Asia”.

Thought-Lesson 6:

If he had been humble enough to acknowledge his error, his name could have been associated with the newly discovered lands rather than with Amerigo Vespucci’s.

Thought - Lesson 7:

Had he reached the Indies, Christopher Columbus could have died fulfilled rather than simply wealthy

As you are about to rate this hub and leave a comment in the box below, and since I haven’t classically conclude this article, I would like to encourage you to take time to think about your being on this planet, the cause(s) that you’re serving or would like to serve, and your motivation behind.

Real success, the one that brings true fulfillment, is achieved when your motivation matches God’s motive for creating you.


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    • Stolive profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Botswana

      Merci beaucoup Kim. Ca me fait reellement plaisir, mon amie. Stay blessed!

      MsDora, we seem to a have a lot in common...Thanks for commenting.

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 

      7 years ago

      How very clever! I like how you tied the history lesson in with life coaching ideas.… et votre anglais est très bon! Thanks for some interesting and inspiring concepts to ponder too:)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Good work. Practical, relevant lessons and applications from the life of the explorer. JC Maxwell is also one of my favorite authors. Thanks!

    • Stolive profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Botswana

      Happyboomernurse, my patron, your comments have always had a powerful encouraging effect on me. Thank you so much.

      I would also like to thank you Jonny Tyson for bringing some more information about the history of the discovery of America. You're totally right, Vikings landed in the far north of america years before Christopher Columbus.

      "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."

    • Stolive profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Botswana

      @Heather McMillan, I agree with you, "...a life not lived giving back in some way was not a life truly lived."

      We're here for others. If we can only be sensitive to the needs that surround us, and understand that we have what is needed to meet those needs...the world would be a better place.

    • Stolive profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Botswana

      Thank you Cloverleaf, I'm happy this hub inspired you.

      Let what we've learned help us embrace life wisely and stay on the right track as we're working out our respective purpose.

      Stay blessed Cloverleaf

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      7 years ago from South Carolina

      Fascinating, thought provoking hub. I love the 7 thought lessons. You have such a wonderful gift for imparting important lessons that are like a compass to finding life purpose. Rated up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting.

    • Jonny Tyson profile image

      Jonny Tyson 

      7 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      The Vikings actually landed in the far north of america years before Christopher Columbus.

      Archaeologists have found several different kinds of tools and other items identified as part of the Scandinavian cultures, dating back many many years before Columbus.

      The Vikings supposedly traded with the American Indians as well.

    • Heather McMillan profile image

      Heather McMillan 

      7 years ago from Hampton, VA

      What a truly inspiring and thoughtful hub. I have always felt that a life not lived giving back in some way was not a life truly lived. This just furthers my belief that you must be humble in your quests and understand that what you are doing should not be all about you but for the greater good! Voted up and awesome!

    • Cloverleaf profile image


      7 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Stolive, wow this hub really inspired me. You have done an excellent job of looking at Christopher Columbus' life and translating his experiences into real life lessons that we can all learn something from.

      Nicely done! Voted up & interesting.



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