Burn Your Boats
“If you want to take the island you need to burn the boats.” —Tony Robbins
So what does this really mean? I take it as doing something which forces you to continue with a particular course of action – making it impossible to go back. All in. No going back. No back up plan.
The concept of “burning boats” is often traced back to a story associated with the conquest of the Aztec Empire by Hernán Cortés. In 1519, Cortés led a large expedition to Mexico. The crew apparently become overwhelmed by the sheer size and numbers of Mexico, so Cortés destroyed his ships. This sent a clear message to his men – there was no turning back, they would either win or they would perish. Within two years, Cortés and his men had conquered the Aztec Empire.
Today I feel it’s far too easy to give up on our goals. The next generation is different, where we often enable our kids that it’s ok to give up. Of course we’ll always love our kids, however what are we teaching them about resilience? About focus, goal setting, independence? Too often parents will run to their children’s aid far too early, and the kids learn nothing other than “mum and dad will sort it out”.
How does this fit in with business? My wife and I went “all in” when we both decided to work commission only together in real estate. Big risk & big rewards if it works, and difficult (yet not impossible) to bail and find another career. In business you’ve got to make moves, get up and get on with it, make sure your attitude and mindset are right, and ask yourself; “Why do I deserve this opportunity?” Reach out and participate, say yes to opportunities and figure out how to do them later on or as you go. Grow, learn, become.
Having a mindset of burning your boats will help you make better decisions, force yourself to use initiative – and even better – to take action.