In 1519 a Spanish explorer by the name of Hernan Cortez led a fleet of ships to Veracruz, Mexico. In those days, it was common to leave a few crew members behind to stay with the ships. This served two purposes. First the crew would guard the ship and protect it from unwanted strangers and wild animals. Second, the crew would be there just in case a speedy escape was needed from an unknown enemy.
On this exploration, Cortez decided not to leave anyone with the ships. In fact, he even took things a step further.
He gave orders to burn the ships.
What? Why would he do something like this? Was he out of his mind?
Cortez did this because he wanted to send a message to his crew.
He knew the exploration was nerve-racking and his men were looking over their shoulder in fear. He didn’t want his crew’s to have any lingering doubt in their minds about their current mission. He wanted to show that he was fully committed to success by eliminating the option of running away.
That is a gutsy strategy. How many of us are bold enough to try it?
I don’t know about you, but I rarely burn the ships in my life. In fact, I often keep one too many guards back at the ship, just in case I need to retreat.
If you are like me, you often put things off because you know there is always another chance to do them. There is always tomorrow.
The only problem is that tomorrow becomes tomorrow again the next day, and then the one after that.
In Cortez’s case, there was no tomorrow. He was not turning back and he wanted to eliminate all excuses.
Next time we start to come up with a list of excuses it might just be in our best interest to stop, and burn the ships instead.