Burn the boats


Often, it’s not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be.- Heath L. Buckmaster

A therapist I work with recently recounted an old tale to a client about a powerful general whose army landed on the shore of a city they were determined to conquer. To empower the troops, the general ordered them to burn their own ships. That way, they would have to be victorious to get the resources to go back home. This was meant to be an inspiration about how sometimes you have to make yourself do a difficult thing by giving yourself no other choice. A sort of tough love, “failure is not an option” sort of rallying tale.

I applied it to my  life and some choices that I always seem to make. I liked the idea of burning the boats rather than burning bridges. The principle being that you can go back, but not without doing the necessary work. That the work is hard and it changes you, because the boat you take back is new and different. And boats don’t have just one destination. You could decide after the battle that you want to build a boat to take you somewhere completely different. The point is that you have to do the work if you don’t want to stay where you are. Progress is a battle, and the opposing army is usually just yourself and the desire to stay the same because it’s comfortable.

Comfort is appealing, but if you’re never challenged, you’ll never know if you’re making decisions for safety or desire. You’ll never know if you love a person or just hate being alone. You’ll never know if your job makes you passionate or just provides an income. You’ll never know if your situation is the best that it could be. And I know I’m always looking for better. Maybe I’ll never find best, but why would I stop at mediocre? So I guess it’s time to go buy some matches.



And this post makes the last 5 of the 50 things I love about myself! Have one extra because I’m sure I repeated at least one because struggles

  1. I love my “savory tooth” in lieu of a sweet tooth.
  2. I love the dumb baby voices I make for my cat.
  3. I love my need to crumble cookies in a bowl to make them into quasi cereal.
  4. I love my sweet, goofy attempts at art.
  5. I love my propensity for saving inspirational quotes and mantras.
  6. I love my patience. I get mad road rage, but in every other situation I have ridiculously calm patience.