On his famous voyage of discovery Columbus sailed west, looking for a shortcut to China. He set out with a crew of ninety men.
These were hardened, old salts. They were used to coasting, staying within sight of land. They were never going to be happy with the unknown.
Right from the start, Columbus knew the crew might be a problem.
He took the unprecedented step of keeping two logs.
The first log was a true and accurate description of the journey.
The second log was for the sake of the crew. It was a prefabrication. Since they would be out of sight of land for most of the trip Columbus entered false distances, pretending to the crew that they hadn’t travelled far at all. He feared a revolt if they knew how far he had really taken them.
It wasn’t long into the trip before Columbus’s suspicions were confirmed. He wrote in his true log: “This day we completely lost sight of land, and many men sighed and wept for the fear they would not see it again for a long time. I comforted them with great promises of land and riches.”
Columbus would face a heap of problems. The weather, the currents, the wind were all unknown.
He had provisions for 28 days of sailing. He expected to make China within 3 weeks. That was only rough guess work.
Because of his primitive instruments, he was never sure where he was and if he could make it back. It would take all his extensive skill and art as a mariner to overcome the practical problems of exploration. Meanwhile, he knew he must nurse his crew along. If they gave up, his quest was over.
They sailed for 20 days and saw no land. They sailed for 25 days and still they saw no land.
By day 30 the crew were at breaking point. Mutiny was in the air. Columbus reports:
“They grumbled and complained of the long voyage, and I reproached them for their lack of spirit, telling them that for better or worse, they had to complete the enterprise.”
Columbus appealed to their sense of duty, to the riches that awaited them, to their place in history. He also reminded them that he was the only one person that could get them back home anyway.
A bargain was struck. The crew agreed to sail on for another 3 days. If no land was sighted in that time the voyage would be aborted. Two days later they saw land.
Some say Columbus was a genius, that he could read the winds and currents like no other. But he could also read human nature. He knew enthusiasm burns brightly at the start of an enterprise but can quickly flicker and die. He used every trick he could think of to keep his crew focused and on the job.
Undertaking a difficult enterprise? Then expect resistance. Expect the crew in your head to want easy success. Expect them to grumble and complain at the first set back. Expect them to want to turn back when the going gets tough. Expect mutiny. Expect it, plan for it. Then, like Columbus, outwit it.
Columbus, the explorer, and Isaac Newton, the scientist, both shared insights into human behaviour.
You might have been taught about Newton’s 3 laws of motion at school. Truth is, he never had 3 laws of motion at all. They weren’t three laws of motion but actually three laws of motivation. Isaac Newton wasn’t only one of the greatest scientists of all time. He was one the greatest motivators of all time!
Take his 3rd law of motivation. It states: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Scientists would have you believe this has something to do with how rockets work. Maybe!
What this law really tells us is that there is always resistance, always drag associated with a new idea. When you try to go in a new direction expect strong forces to try and pull you back.
This was exactly Columbus’s experience. When he decided to go perpendicular, and not sail coasting parallel to shore, he knew he would meet resistance. And he did.
There is a mathematical aspect to Newton’s 3rd law. The harder you push out in a new direction, the stronger will be the pull, trying to bring you back.
The further Columbus left the shore line behind, the stronger became the forces trying to pull him back.
If you are going to try something new, set a different course, go perpendicular, then expect Newton’s third law to come into play.
Try to do something new, original, different, better and there will be drag and resistance. Accept that as being part of the universe. Like Columbus, plan for it. Prepare a counter plan and get ahead.
© 2019 well imagine that pty/ltd