Why You Need to “Burn the Ships” in Order to Succeed
A General’s Conviction
Legend has it…
Of a great battle that once took place.
An army led by a great general had landed on shores of foreign land.
The imminent war was inevitable.
When he found out that the enemy men outnumbered that of his own army he was forced to make a decision that would ensure their triumph on the field of battle.
So definite was his purpose in the attainment of victory that he ordered his soldiers to unload every men and piece of equipment from the boats… then burn the ships from which they came.
Any hopes of retreat were decimated.
Now the only way they could make it back, was if they defeated the enemy forces entirely and seized their ships for their own.
“We win or we perish” was the message given.
And win they did.
Moving Out of Comfort
We love having safety nets.
Something to fall back to in case things don’t go according to plan.
Without realizing that the presence of such an option may likely inhibit the desire to succeed.
Retreat is easy when we know it’s there.
This psychological indirectly influences our actions when chasing a goal.
To develop ultimate conviction, we must take firm action in spite of fear.
You’ll Want to Burn the Ships that Hold You Back
The ‘Burning of the Ships’ is a famous story believed to be a real-life account of Hernan Cortes’ historic conquest of at Veracruz, Mexico in 1519.
The decision was carried out amidst the men’s growing fears and notions of turning back instead of carrying out what they had set out for.
No doubt, it could have backfired.
Since his men now had no chance for escape should the enemy overpower their army.
But instead, it did the entire opposite – it empowered his men with the will to fight.
Why was it that the symbolic action was so powerful?
As his men watched their ships disappear in flames they were reborn into something bigger than their previous selves.
What transpired was a separation of the previous weakened mindset into full commitment to achieve the goal.
This was achieved by directly manipulating the innate fight-or-flight response which induces significant changes in our physiological and psychological states to combat the stressor.
When there is no other option but to succeed (fight), we are forced to enter in a state of mind that demands for victory.
The enhanced mental state manifested in their actions with a force so powerful that were able to overcome an enemy despite overwhelming odds.
We win or we perish.
If you truly want to achieve your goal, you must be willing to burn the ships and remove the option of retreat.
This is essential for you to manifest the success that you seek.
Sometimes, in order to achieve the goal, we need to get rid of our limiting impulses and “burn the ships”.