Conventional wisdom says you should always have a backup in case you can’t do what you set out to do. But sometimes the best motivation can be to get rid of of any safety net and leave yourself no choice apart from achieving your goals.
Zachary Sexton writes an anecdote on Medium to illustrate this idea:
When Hernán Cortés and 600 men arrived in Mexico in 1519, after a long and treacherous voyage across the Atlantic, he gave a rather interesting order.
“Burn the boats.”
The Spanish conquistador’s order was given prior to his stunning mission of battling, defeating and plundering the riches of the entire Aztec Empire.
Or so legend has it.
There is a similar lore about Alexander the Great and the strategy is repeated in Sun Tzu’s Art of War. As Sexton explains, the “burn the boats” strategy eliminates an obstacle in meeting your goals: the thought that you have a failsafe. It forces you to give it everything you have since there’s no other option.
The article is worth reading as it goes on to illustrate how you can use this to beat procrastination. In fact, we recommend adopting the strategy to fix your sleep and wake up on time.
Burn the Boats [Medium]