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The Egg of Columbus

The Egg of Columbus is a great old story that carries with it a message about life and learning, I sometimes use it in talks and presentations when I need to tell a story about change and doing things differently.

The Story of the egg of Columbus was written up by Girolamo Benzoni in his book History of the New World in 1565, in which he wrote about a meeting Columbus had with Spanish Nobles who ridiculed him that his feat of finding the Americas was simply something that was bound to happen. The story then goes that Columbus did not answer directly instead he simply laid and egg on the table and said the following;

‘My lords, I will lay a wager with any of you that you are unable to make this egg stand on its end like I will do without any kind of help or aid.’

They all tried without success and when the egg returned to Columbus, he tapped it gently on the table breaking it slightly and, with this, the egg stood on its end.

So what is the essential message in the story of the egg of Columbus? It seems quite obvious to most that the metaphor in the story is that when something is shown to you it becomes easy.

Although another deeper meaning of The Egg of Columbus could be that it is harder to be the first to do something new.

Many things in life are easy when you know how to do them, but ask yourself are you like Columbus brave enough to travel a new path and do something new?

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