Success comes in a variety of ways, some totally unexpected. We’re going to look at three different models for getting to success, based on the Leis & Clark Expedition, Christopher Columbus, and Alexander Fleming.
First, the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Following President Thomas Jefferson’s purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, Lewis and Clark set out to find an overland passage to the Pacific. All they had was a vague goal, but that was enough. They had no idea who or what they wold encounter along the way, and came to close to dying on numerous occasions, but they did, in fact, make it to the Pacific cost in 1806, and return to United States territory. The moral? You don’t always need to know HOW you are going to get there, a destination and a decision is sometimes enough.
Next, Columbus. Columbus had a great idea, too: sail west to India because the Silk Road to India was no longer as safe as it used to be. As we all know, Columbus, never made it to India, he found the New World (new to the Europeans, at least), and the rest is history (so to speak). He isn’t remembered as the guy who never made it to India, even though he “failed” in that goal. He repackaged what did happen as discovery of a whole new land, and this brought him fame and celebrity. The moral of this story? Have a lofty goal, and stay flexible when things don’t go as planned.
Alexander Fleming was a biologist, with a reputation for a messy lab. In 1928, he was growing bacteria cultures, and at one point, he returned from his August vacation to discover that mold had gotten into several samples and killed the bacteria. Now, he may have been tempted to throw it out, curse his bad luck, and criticize himself for being slovenly, but instead he let his curiosity take over, and discovered Penicillin, the antibiotic that would provide effective treatments for tuberculosis, gangrene, syphilis, and many other diseases, saving millions of lives. The moral here? In every “failure” there is an opportunity, if you will only look for it.