There are many ideas on how to become successful. Never have I come across one as simple and powerful as this: Burn Your Ships!
This idea comes from the story of Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez.
In 1519, Cortez landed his small force of 500 soldiers and 100 sailors on the shores of the Yucatan Peninsula in what is now Mexico. They arrived in 11 ships, and they were very far from their homeland thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean. Their purpose was to conquer to Aztecs, numbered in the millions, and seize their vast stores of gold.
Upon disembarking from the ships, Cortez announced a decision guaranteed to “motivate” his troops by putting them, quite literally, in a do-or-die position (sorry, I had to do it, re: the link). He ordered all the ships burned, thereby cutting off any possible escape should events go poorly for them. They had no choice: Succeed or Die Trying (I believe 50 Cent owes Cortez royalties).
It worked! With this small force, he conquered all of Mexico and established a Spanish empire in the New World that lasted several hundred years. By simply burning their ships, Cortez forced his troops to give their expedition nothing short of total commitment.
Today, several historians dispute the accuracy of the Cortez story but we can’t deny the power of what many of us consider the “Burn Your Ships” philosophy!
In particular, Burning Your Ships means:
2) Plan B Sucks! The best opportunity you can give Plan A to work is to throw Plan B away. Anything short of total commitment to your goal will guarantee either (A) complete failure or (B) even worse, years of limping along producing blasé, mediocre, so-so results.
3) You Can’t “Toe-Dip” If You Want To Achieve Success, You Must “Jump In Completely.” This applies to anything in life! You can’t say, “Well, hmmm, I think I’ll give it a try and see how it works out.” Success requires a belief of vision that your goal will be met (point blank period). You must decide from the start, “Yes, this is what I will do, and I will succeed!”
4) Know You’re Going to Have To Fight For It. The story makes it sound like Cortez just rolled in to Mexico, burned his ships, and told the Aztecs “get down or lay down” and that was it. Not hardly. It took months of battles and many casualties to accomplish his goal. The false belief for many is that success somehow occurs overnight and without having to fight for it. Be prepared to go toe-to-toe for your goals and know you’re going to get hit and knocked down a few times. The question is: do you have the heart to get up and keep fighting!
If you want to succeed in the goals you have created for yourself, BURN YOUR SHIPS!!!