Burn the Ships

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I can’t tell you how many people want to make big, bold moves in their lives. What I can tell you is there aren’t many that actually do it. Why don’t they make these changes? They are afraid to make the changes… afraid to commit to something outside the box. They are comfortable, contented, maybe even happy but they don’t want to cause any discomfort in their lives.

There’s physical discomfort in losing 50 pounds. There could be financial discomfort in quitting a job you hate or starting a new business venture. There could be social discomfort making new friends or moving to a new city.

A suggestion for committing to change? Burn the ships.

In 1519, Hernando Cortez landed on the beaches of Mexico with one goal… to acquire the treasures hoarded by the Aztecs. The conquistadors that came before him were unsuccessful yet he had victory. How?

At the end of his final battle cry, Cortez uttered these famous words: “Burn the ships.” His men initially resisted but Cortez needed their full commitment so he ordered them again to burn the ships.

There was no option of retreat. No way home. No escape plan. It was do or die. They had no other choice than to commit fully to their mission and march confidently to take the riches of the world.

I’m not suggesting you burn anything but I am suggesting you find a way to go confidently toward your riches. What do you need to do to make it harder to go back to being comfortable?

  • Take a photo of yourself in your bikini before joining the gym. Then take a 2nd photo 10 weeks later… after you’ve been there 60 times.
  • Write out what you would do if you got fired. Why wait until you get fired? Do it now.
  • Tell someone about your business idea. Make it public. Then decide what you need to do first to get it started.
  • Make it a point to talk with a new couple at church. One couple a week and play the game that you can’t go home until you do.
  • Make a list of all the places you’d visit and all the things you’d do if you lived in a particular city. Find photos of that city and plaster them on your fridge.

Think about it… where do you want to explore but you are too comfortable? What ships do you need to burn to ensure you won’t retreat? What can you do today to step up your commitment level? Never surrender!