Christopher Columbus convinced a venture capitalist (the Queen of Spain) in the 1400?s to fund his voyage to get to India by sailing West from Spain.
At the time all traders got to India by traveling East through Italy and the Middle East in order to get access to the spices and goods of India and China. His idea was that if a trade route could be established through the sea by traveling West they could make trade much easier for Spain rather than having to deal with the Italians and the Arabs along the route to the East.
The rest of the world got to India by heading East – his crazy idea was to sail West instead.
He greatly underestimated the circumference of the earth. And when he landed in North America, he actually thought he had landed in India – his planned destination.
He failed. He failed badly. And when you look at a world map today – in hindsight – you think what an idiot.
But did he really fail? Did he not end up discovering America – a whole new continent that the Europeans nor he even knew existed?
As entrepreneurs, we tend to often greatly underestimate the journey. We often think it will be much easier than it turns out to be. If we knew exactly how difficult and long the actual journey would turn out to be, many of us would never start sailing.
The end destination may not be what you expect. You may never reach your India. But discovering North America and many other adventures along the way can bring you benefits you never could have expected – unless you begin sailing on your journey.
Being an explorer is difficult. Going to India through the old trade route via the East was much easier as people before Christopher had done it and told you what to expect. Going West – is much more unpredictable and you have to deal with the people that tell you that you are crazy to even try. And laugh at you when think you have reached India, but you are in the Americas instead.
You don’t have the benefits of knowing exactly where your journey will take you. But unless you start sailing, you will never discover your America.