- Category: Lessons Learned
- Published on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 13:08
- Written by Mark Sewall
As the ships burned brightly against the days waning light, the placid resolve of the men turned to steel; their retreat lost for good. Although, it is more likely that Cortez scuttled his ships, the visual is much too effective to discard. Let the ships burn and find the success you have avoided.
So what does “Burn The Ships” mean? It means moving forward with every ounce of effort you have, and not looking back to one of the other “boats” that may have led to another outcome. This is a key attribute of winners. These individuals do not wonder if they have gotten it right; they forge ahead with absolute certainty, and let the cards play out.
Peyton Manning, who recently became the new quarterback/leader for the Denver Broncos, was asked how he knew, or would know, that he had made the right choice. In response, mr. Manning said “It is up to me to make it the right choice”. This sense of self definition of outcomes by action is the core reason that Peyton is the most coveted free agent ever, and the guy that went number two in the same draft is in jail. Both men hit the top of the scale with their talent. What sets them apart more than any one attribute is the willingness to burn the ships and conquer the world with an unyielding force of will.
In any aspect of your life you are required to make choices, or watch as they are made for you. This often befuddles many of us. The chance of failure steals our natural ability to choose. Watch a young child charge forward on impulse for just a minute, and you will realize that we were all born with the gift of decisive action. How that skill was tempered or lost is not important, that we all have the ability to burn the ships and let our actions define us is present in all of us. now we must rekindle the ability to react to our surroundings with a decisive forceful confidence.
First and foremost, always make the choices yourself. As hard as it may seem at the time, you are always better off taking the choice and making it your own. How you choose does not matter.The reason for this is, that no matter how much research and analysis you do on any given course of action you are going to whiff on some choices no matter what.
New Year's resolutions are a prime example of what can happen when the metaphorical ships are still anchored off shore. People single out all sorts of empires to topple, and then shortly after retreat from the fight. Even when you make a choice, it is your commitment to making it happen that will most influence your success.
To return to our sailing metaphor from a different angle; all sea going vessels whether they are meant to sail the seven seas or to Catalina island must be set on course. That course may end up leading to treasure or tragedy. The only knowing is in our actions.
We all need to burn the ships at the shores of our decisions so that we will only move in the direction of our next conquest without thought of retreat.