Advice for Success: Burn Your Ships!

After searching the term “Burn Ships” in Google I can see I am not the only one to touch on this  familiar ”how to be successful” anecdote.  But hey…just because it’s played often does not mean it’s played out (I mean how many times have you listened to “Regulators”?…timeless)

The “burning of the ships” came about in a discussion I had with my best friend Daniel Gibson.  We chatted about a whole bunch of things…including my poor grammar and spelling  (sorry guys).  The final points we touched on were success, passion and complacency. Daniel felt that in pursuit of living a life you love…you need to rid yourself of any options to live any other type of life (if that make sense). Meaning, that we have a choice in the matter…a choice to not leave complacency or apathy as an option. A choice to live your version of success at all cost.

The “burning of the ships” comes to play in a relatable story that I heard a few years back. A historic event that I actually despise (Spanish imperialism in South America)…but nonetheless it happened and paints a very strong picture when it comes to firming you commitment to success.

Side Note: Not sure how accurate my portrayal of the story is:

Hernán Cortés led the conquistadors over to South America with the goal of finding and claiming the “New World”. He understood that the task would be looked at as insurmountable by most. He understood that to pull this off…he would need to kill off all excuses, plan B’s and reasons for failure. So he did just that. He sunk his own ships. He ordered his commanders (or whatever) to sink the ships so there was not conceivable way they can cross the ocean and go back to Spain. That stimulated a simple but extremely powerful mindset shift…that shift was that there are no other options. We win or we die. Defeat, failure, passivity were not options if they wanted to survive.

When it comes to our case we’re not taking about survival. We’re living in a space of abundance where there are unlimited possibilities. However the primary message still applies to our lives. What are our ships? Is it saying: “I can do that someday” or is it saying: “it doesn’t matter”…or is it just being mediocre. Living in a world of abundance haunts us with the “privilege” of building many ships. On the flip, our world also enables us to create anything we want.

So whatever your ships are..sink them. If not for yourself do it for the Aztec people that were killed by the Spaniards and would have loved to have sunk their ships for them :) .

We are the creators of our journey and our results…if we take ownership of that…we can accomplish anything!

Note: This was one of my contributions to the SF Mastermind Group.

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2 Responses

05.05.11

Great post and good reminder of a great business lesson. Thanks for sharing.

05.05.11

Thanks Jonathan..glad you got value form it!!

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