These three words changed the course of history.
Sun Tzu explores the strategy in The Art of War.
What you would do if you were fully committed to the outcome? When you can not retreat, commitment means Victory. Defeat means Death.
On the Shoulders of Greatness — Its Greek to Me
Alexander the Great of Greece used this strategy when he arrived upon the shores of Persia. He had fighting force that was far outnumbered by those he sought to overpower. Once they burned their boats: No option for retreat. They could only go forward or die. Alexander built an immense empire because he had the courage and conviction to succeed.
The New World
Many had tried and failed to colonize the Yucatan Peninsula and gain the riches of the Aztec Empire. For 600 years, none succeeded.
Hernán Cortés landed on the shores of the New World with a party of 600 men. They were vastly outnumbered. The Aztecs had the home field advantage and their warriors far outnumbered the small group who had come to claim Aztec treasures.
Yet, the Spaniards had something that made them invincible. They were fired up by Cortés. His ability to visualize their victory gave power to his blazing oration. He engaged the passion and desires of his men, sparking their imaginations and igniting their souls. He appealed to their thirst for adventure and untold wealth.
To ensure their full commitment, he gave the order to “Burn the Boats.”
They were about to do the unthinkable, conquer the vast Aztec empire. Cortés risked it all. He was asking his men to do the same. Their only options: to die or fight for victory. They chose to fight and win. Going back the way they came was no longer possible.
His successful conquest of Mexico was a bold move. His men were committed.
Burn Down the Mission
Elton John’s lyrics tell us to “Burn down the mission, if we’re going stay alive. It’s our only chance of living.” To move forward, we must leave the past behind and boldly create a new world.
What is Your New World?
What would you do if you could only go forward? What does it look like when you are fully committed to your success?