Burn the Ships – Forcing yourself forward

Burn the ships is an expression I heard many years ago. The best way to explain this is to think of a ship sailing the seas filled with explorers. Their mission is to find and settle a new world. When they reach the new world, they burn their ship so they have no other option except to accomplish their mission. The way back is gone.

How often do you burn the ships? Probably not often enough.

Burning the ships is scary. A few weeks ago I took my daughter out for her first skydive. This is an extreme case of burning the ships because the instant you leave the aircraft there is no turning back.

From a work standpoint, when was the last time you did anything even remotely related to burning the ships?

Since reward follows risk, and the main reason we work is for the reward (pay), how does it not make sense to seek out ways to burn the ships in your professional life? Burning the ships at work doesn’t necessarily mean you have to switch jobs or employers. Maybe you find an opportunity to learn something new or take on more responsibility at the job you have. Again, why shouldn’t you?

If at work you’re not challenged, and at times feel like you’re in over you’re head, then you are just a replaceable robot dying a slow death of a thousand cuts. Your days are numbered because technology will eventually make you or your job obsolete.  Worse yet is the possibility that boredom with your mundane work will make you so miserable that no one will want to work with you. Enough of the negativity. Let’s go in the opposite direction.

Folks, you and I were not put on this planet to exist and simply survive. We’re here to live out loud and to make the most of the brief amount of time we’ve been granted. Although I could care less if I ever become famous, I do want to make a difference.  An added bonus to this would be that at least a few people knew that Chris Pruitt once existed, and he tried really hard to contribute and be a good person.

 In closing, a quote I like that fits in nicely with what I’ve written about today is this; Let the bridge we burn behind us light our pathway ahead.

So screw it; Burn the damn ships. Make a change in your life so drastic that forward is the only option. Be an explorer. By the way, if you are looking for a good read about exploration and overcoming adversity read Endurance, By F.A. Worsley. It’s about an explorer named Sir Ernest Shackleton and his 1914 expedition to Antarctica. The ad he used to recruit his ship’s crew read as follows: Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success. Now that’s an adventure. Sign me up!

 Until next time, be bold, take some risks, burn your ship (or at least put a few holes in it) and then you will be on the path to Find Your Adventure and Live Your Life.

 PS-As I finished writing this, I am on a plane and got to see the sunrise on the Grand Canyon from my 30,000-foot window seat.

 PPS-As we were on approach to land in Phoenix, a saw a hot air balloon pass the wing of our plane. Very cool! Here’s a picture.

PPPS-I am working on a plan to burn my own ships.  More on that some other time.