Burn your ship!

You know as well as I that successful business owners are dedicated … sometimes maniacally so. They give it their all … and they succeed. It is not about luck; it is the result of ferocious dedication.

So, do you want to be a success? Here is how: Burn your ships!

In 1519, the Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez landed his small force of 500 soldiers and 100 sailors on the shores of the Yucatan Peninsula in what is now Mexico. They arrived in 11 ships, and they were far, far from their homeland thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean. (This was only 27 years after the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus.) Their purpose was to conquer to Aztecs and seize their vast stores of gold.

Upon disembarking from the ships, Cortez announced a decision guaranteed to “motivate” his troops by putting them, quite literally, in a do-or-die position. He ordered all the ships burned, thereby cutting off any possible escape should events go poorly for them. They had no choice: Succeed or die.

It worked. With this small force, he conquered all of Mexico and established a Spanish empire in the New World that lasted several hundred years. His troops were probably less than thrilled; however, they must have certainly given their expedition nothing short of their total commitment.

The point: You cannot toe-dip if you want to achieve success in any endeavor. You cannot say, “I think I’ll give it a try and see how it works out.” Success requires total commitment, a determination to look forward with single-mindedness. You must decide, “Yes, this is what I will do, and I will succeed!” rather than, “Well, I’ll give it three months and see how it works out.”

Lack of dedication – anything short of total commitment – will guarantee either (A) complete failure or (B) even worse, years of limping along producing blasé, mediocre, so-so results.

So, if you are looking to become a success, do not just “give it a shot.” Save that for cubicle-dwelling wage slaves who put in time in exchange for a safe paycheck and benefits. Instead, give it your all. Do that and you will succeed … if only because you have no choice. But that’s what it takes.

So, work hard, give it your absolute, total commitment, burn your ships … and then do what it takes to become the best you can be. Period!

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1 Comment on "Burn your ship!"

Susie Salisbury
May 15, 2015

Interesting story, that is one way to get motivated, with no way to leave.
Must stay and fight