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Columbus sailed the ocean blue but my husband drove the freeway

[picapp src=”0289/8658e55b-0ee4-453a-8bfe-8863b37d4391.jpg?adImageId=5277901&imageId=292695″ width=”234″ height=”350″ /] Today is a holiday for some people…actually many people if the sparse traffic on the freeway not 1 minute from my home is any indication.  Normally Monday mornings look like the photo…gridlock for hours; we’re 45 minutes from San Francisco [that’s 45 minute travel time to The City when traffic is light].  My husband wasn’t actually upset about working today; it meant his normal hour commute to the South Bay Area is light.  Made me think that the seas weren’t too crowded when Columbus and his little fleet sailed into western waters; him being first and all.

Or was he?

I’m reading a fascinating book by Gavin Menzies, “1421.” He postulates that 1421 is the year that China discovered America.  On the website for the book:

  • “…In his first book, 1421, Gavin Menzies argues that a huge Chinese fleet circumnavigated and charted the world years before the first great European voyages of discovery. The evidence for this comes in many different forms: from shipwrecks and ancient maps, to local peoples accounts and their DNA….”

In the Introduction of the book, Menzies says:

  • “…if genuine [an ancient map], it marked lands in places where…no Europeans had ventured for another seven decades….This seemed an incredible revelation-Columbus had not discovered the New World, yet his voyage had always been regarded as an absolutely defining moment….”

It just goes to show you that nothing in this life is written in immutable stone.  As business people we ought not to think that the ways we’ve always done business should remain the way we will always do business.  Sometimes it just takes time and improved technology to teach us that what we thought was true was actually only a supposition based on available knowledge at the time.  Menzies’ book is a testament to that; Pluto no longer being classified as the 9th planet in our solar system is another example; currently there are 92 naturally occurring elements on the Periodic Table – who knows who many more are yet to be discovered?

I have no problem continuing the celebration of Columbus Day…however, once more foundation has been put under the idea that China found it “first,” it would be nice to call it something else; after all, as people we love to have holidays to celebrate and reasons to take off work.

Keep your business alive and thriving by never settling down to the idea that “Columbus” was the only one who discovered the western world.  It can be said that to the people already living there, it was never “lost.”

Happy Holiday.

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One Response

  1. How true. We tend to learn something and then never question it again. This leads to misinterpretations and missed opportunities.

    Something may (or may not) have been true yesterday, but that doesn’t mean that it is (or isn’t) today!

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