Burn The Boats!
We often don't push as hard as we can forward, because we can always retreat if things don't work out. Sometimes, you have to through caution to the wind, put your stake in the ground and be willing to burn the boats. In this video I talk about how forcing yourself to move forward by eliminating other options and choice can help you achieve better results.
John: Hey John Sonmez from simpleprogrammer.com and today I want to tell you about something that’s going to help you to get that extra little push that you might need to be able to achieve your goals. Perhaps you’re stuck and you have an idea of what you want to accomplish but you just can’t seem to get there. Today I’m going to give you the answer and hopefully this will help you out so stay tuned and I’ll tell you what it is coming up next.
All right, so before I give you the answer I want to tell you a little bit of a story that maybe will help you to understand why this strategy I’m going to give you is so important. It goes back to history to Alexander the Great and in fact, many other successful commanders have implemented the same strategy. Cortez used this strategy when he conquered Mexico with 600 men and several other commanders in history have used this strategy but probably the most known version of this story is from Alexander the Great.
He went to conquer Persia and Persia had the biggest army at the time and also the most powerful navy. He was pretty well outnumbered. When he had his men sail to land to go and fight the battle and they get out of their boats he gave them 3 words as an order. He said, “Burn the boats.” Now this is interesting. When you think about this this is a pretty scary thing to do and it seems ridiculous at first. Why would you burn the boats? What’s going to happen if you lose, if you need to retreat? You need to get back in the boats and save yourself, what’s left of your army.
Well, in that case nothing was going to happen. They were going to die. There was no choice. This is what he did is basically gave his men 2 choices: You’re going to fight and you’re going to win or you’re going to die. That’s the only way you’re leaving. That’s the only way you’re going home. There is no retreat.
Now this is a powerful concept if applied correctly in your own life, because sometimes you need to go out there and you need to burn the boats. A lot of times if we have a retreat, if we have something to go back to it stops us from moving forward as hard as we could. When we know that it’s fight or die and we can put ourselves in the fight or die situation we fight all the more harder. In fact, in many of those cases in history where a commander ordered to burn the boats what happened was a greatly outnumbered army was able to defeat the bigger army because they had the motivation. Because they knew that the only way that they were going back home was if they won.
Sometimes you need to apply that same strategy in your own life. Maybe it’s in your career. Maybe you need to just quit the job that is holding you down and go on and take a new job. You need to burn those boats. Maybe you need to set a date in time and say, “Look, by this time I am going to hit this goal.” Maybe it’s weight loss, maybe it’s gaining muscle, maybe it’s a career goal or some kind of financial goal. You need some way to burn those boats.
I often recommend that if someone is not happy in their job and they want to move to a new job and they haven’t planned for this, then go ahead and write that letter, write a draft of that letter and set that letter to send on a specific date to their boss, a resignation letter that says I’m going to quit or I quit and sorry. Set a date for that in the future, a definite date. That’s burning the boats. Then you don’t have a retreat. You know that that letter’s going out. Heck, put it in the mail and have it future dated for a certain date or have someone hold it for you that you’re going to send that out on that date. This is a powerful strategy if you use this successfully because it’s going to force you to get over that hurdle.
There’s a lot of ways that you can implement this. Now it’s not always the best thing to implement. You don’t always want to burn the boats. There’s a difference between burning the boats and burning the bridges. You don’t necessarily need to burn the bridges. You don’t have to burn other people and connections that you’ve made. But, if you can find places where you’re being held back because of fear and you just need that extra little push then you can really implement this strategy to great success.
Hopefully this has been helpful to you. This is something that I use in my life to give myself the extra push. I’ve done this multiple times where I’ve just set a date on my calendar and said, “By this date I am going to accomplish X” and I have forced myself to do it because I’ve made an embarrassment or I’ve made some kind of commitment, some way that has caused me to burn the boats that were behind me so I can’t retreat. I have to hit this thing that I set out to do.
If you liked this video and if you like to see more of these types of videos don’t forget to subscribe to my channel and you can check out my blog at simpleprogrammer.com where I have all kinds of technical articles and career advice for software developers and thanks for watching this video and I’ll talk to you again next week. Take care and don’t forget to burn those boats.