We’ll burn these ships…and we ain’t going back!
La la la la la la la la.
Inspired by the story of Cortez, a band called Bethesda once wrote these lyrics. The story goes that once he landed in Veracruz, Cortez ordered that the ships be set ablaze in order to prevent retreat. It forced he and his crew to remain in the new world and forge ahead in their conquest.
Now, if you remember anything about the way Cortez and other “explorers” behaved, it may completely ruin this image for you. I understand. But even the worst behaved humans can offer something of help, even if unintentionally.
So let’s take what we can from this guy and consider the idea of burning our options of retreat. Taking escape off the table. Maintaining our refusal to return to how things were…regardless how difficult the way ahead becomes.
For me this means recognizing when I’m not “all in”. Standing on the edge of full commitment to my marriage, job, or even a craft project or other endeavor, I move forward with one foot lingering in the possibility that I can just turn back or quit if it’s too hard/confusing/scary, etc. But the problem is, I can’t actually live this way…not in a way that is sustainable for very long. Sooner than later, I’ve got to decide: In or out, yes or no. S*** or get off the pot. The longer I remain in the limbo state, aching to move forward but glued in place by fear/uncertainty/doubt, the more of this one wild and precious life that I waste. And that is a real shame.
The alternative is detonation.
Blowing up the path of least resistance.
Burning our escape route so the only option is forward and through.
If you are an edge-waverer like me, take a moment to consider the cost of that escape route you keep in your back pocket. Are you really invested in the here-and-now? Are you giving your all? You can’t be, if you’ve also got one finger on the ejector seat. The more you tell yourself “I can just quit if it gets too hard”, the less of a chance you have at achieving success. Whether your goal is intimacy in a relationship, achievement at work, or pursuit of a dream — the only sure way is “all in”.
Playing safe is only playing and life’s too short for that. Burn that ship. It doesn’t mean you can’t make a change down the road- but you’ve gotta see this choice through first. Forward is the only way.