Burn Your Ships!
This famous ‘Burn Your Ships‘ story is taken from the timeless classic ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill. Check it out:
A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own. He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed to the enemy’s country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave the order to burn the ships that had carried them. Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, “You see the boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice—we win, or we perish! They won. Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by so doing can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a BURNING DESIRE TO WIN, essential to success. “
This burn your ships story has some vital lessons for all of us. As the saying goes ‘Necessity is the mother of invention‘ and it is such a powerful statement.
“If you can’t you must, and if you must you can.” Tony Robbins.
So often we do not realise our own power of what we can do until we are faced with a challenge SO BIG that we are FORCED to grow. I am sure you can think of times in your life when you really faced some big odds of failure. Somehow however, you managed to still succeed.
These are the times when we really find out what we are made of – and once we make it through we are a different person forever.
“Consider that people are like tea bags. They don’t know their own strength until they get into hot water” Martin Luther King Jr.
When you truly burn your ships it’s almost like magic. All your energy, all your conscious mind AND your sub-conscious mind OBSESS with how to succeed.
And of course – then you do.
This is how the universe works.
One personal ‘burn your ships’ story of mine was a charity event which I came up with, and co-ordinated two years ago. Basically I had the idea that if my band and I played for 24 hours non-stop we could raise a great deal of money for cancer research. I also thought it would gain a bit of media attention.
And I was right. A week before the event Red Symons (a tv and music celebrity here in Australia) phoned me and asked me to do an interview on ABC Radio.
We hired Federation Square here in Melbourne, for a 24 hour period. I wasn’t sure if I could play and sing for that long but I just decided it would be done.
12 hours into it I was exhausted – I mean I was literally losing my voice, I had a headache – even the red bulls weren’t helping.
The crowd however was in full support and 24 hours and 192 songs later we made it through.
It was an epic effort, and at the end I was so delusional I was talking to the seagulls.
I had to burn my ships. There was no other way. Quitting was not an option, and as a result we raised almost $6,000 in 24 hours from about 10,000 people passing by. This event back in 2010 was a highlight of my life and it changed me forever. Check out the video of me at Fed Square here – CLICK HERE.
What is your ‘burn your ships’ story?
It’s this stuff that gets me going! I love hearing about peak states of ‘flow’ and ‘being in the zone’.
Please leave a comment below and share your own burn your ships story – I’d love to be inspired by your own personal victory. Inspire me!