Be bold in life. Seize the moment. There is no surrender, no retreat. There is only conquer or be conquered, victory or defeat. Anything less is to be forgotten to history. Jeffrey Fry
I’m neither giving up nor giving in. Charlton Heston
Don’t burn your bridges behind you. Author unknown
Some advise us to burn our bridges behind us while others advocate not using such an extreme approach. What gives? What is the best advice? A study of military tactics reveal military leaders have used the tactic of burning bridges behind them as they advanced. Every bridge was burned as it was crossed. This tactic leaves only one option: “going forward”. The message to the troops is clear: “There is no retreat; we must go forward”.
“Burning bridges” can be an effective form of motivation. From a basis of “low motivation” to “extreme motivation” this leans toward the extreme. If we consider motivation from a “counting the cost point of view”; “burning bridges” must not be taken lightly or used carelessly. Should we consider this approach as a technique for forcing ourselves into serious action?
Assume we find ourselves in a situation where we really need motivation; someone puts a gun to our head and tells us if we do not do what needs to be done, it will cost us our life. This is extreme, but would move many to act. If we must quit smoking, drinking, or over-eating to avoid dying prematurely would this be sufficient motivation to get us to take action? The greater the cost of not taking action, the more such extreme motivational techniques can increase our reasons to be motivated. “Burning Bridges” falls in line with such techniques.
There have been motivational leaders who advocate such extreme techniques: the idea is that if we have no choice but to go forward, then we will go forward. They advocate burning our bridges behind us, having no means of retreat. It gets into the “sink or swim” philosophy. Such things as selling your home and moving to a new city to find a new job; quitting a job without having one to replace it, even telling our old boss off when leaving a job are on the extreme side of the motivational equation. Taking such actions leaves us few options.
If we have “enough strong reasons”, we have increased power to really motivate ourselves. The best approach is to always motivate ourselves for positive reasons. Creating a vivid mental picture of ourselves succeeding, supporting our image with well formed plans, focus and self-discipline, short of sticking a gun to our head, is the more preferred method of motivation. Burning bridges is the more extreme approach.
Challenge: Do you have at your disposal an array of effective techniques for motivating yourself? Have you ever succeeded at “burning your bridge” as a means to motivate yourself. In order to succeed at personal motivation you must establish strong enough reasons “why?” It is best to be positively and absolutely motivated. To burn your bridges behind you, you must be willing to succeed at all costs. It is not for the faint of heart.
Wisdom: Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to cut all sources of retreat. Only by doing so can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win – essential to success. Napoleon Hill
I can do all things through Christ who give me strength. Philippians 4:13
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.2 Timothy1:7
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt: 6:33
Having sufficient personal motivation to achieve our potential is a problem for most of us. It is a life-long issue. It is a source of frustration and can make us think very poorly of ourselves. It is often easier to give up our goals, dreams, and aspirations and accept the status quo rather than have to overcome these issues. We are limited in doing things totally in our own strength. With God’s help in equipping and enabling us we can do so much more.
Prayer: Help me to open my heart and my mind to your guidance. Help me to follow where you lead me.