“Burn the boats.” The famous expression used by Hernán Cortés at his landing on a vast plateau known as Mexico. Burning the boats left him and his army, roughly 600 spaniards, no other choice than moving forward in the attempt of taking control of the land to survive since there was no way back. Logically this was a foolish decision by Cortés and was bound to end terribly. However what happened next shocked the world. He became the first man in 600 years to successfully conquer Mexico. What this story entails is that to be able to evolve/ level up/ become a better version of yourself, you need to burn your own boats aka your conditioned belief of the world…
(This is my first blog post ever and this is a very deep topic that i am addressing to you readers. The point of this particular blog post is to share the way i find easiest to shift oneself from a place of being at the effect of society/ one’s environment to a place of being at the cause and thus become the prime mover of one’s reality. I might go overboard at some point but i hope you will find meaning in this post and be able to grow through the thoughts that i am willing to share with you all.)
Modern society has been around for about a 100 years now. And its impact on how we think nowadays has since been ever so powerful. We now live in a world where media is omnipresent and it is nearly impossible to escape its imposing grasp on how you view of the world. An easy example is Snapchat, one of the most viral app at the moment. From the camera screen, swiping to the left connects you to various snaps from Cosmopolitan, People, Mashable and many more. What we fail to understand is that repetitive contact with those platforms is subtly reshaping us – reshaping our world, how we think and view our environment. Many might disagree with this statement since it is a very bold one. The truth is that we are being at the effect of those stimulus and have always been to be completely honest. Since kindergarden we have been taught to be a cog in a machine; to fit in. How to behave and differentiate what is ‘good’ from what is ‘bad’. Those notions of good and bad come from societal pressures that were hammered in our system from the moment we were born and there comes a point where we arrive at a certain moment in life where we start to question if we are actually ourselves or we are only a mere product of society.
Drifting away from the main topic here but basically, we are ruled by fear. Fear of rejection, fear of not being enough, fear of being judged, etc… Every human is constantly facing those fears and the truth is it will never go away. This is because 1. We are human beings, 2. As human beings, we will never be perfect and 3. We have a human mind. The mind is an amazing tool that we have access to but it is equally scary. “With great power comes great responsibility.” It is our responsibility to then focus on how to use this tool of ours for self-actualization and not self-destruction. The word destruction is a big one and for the sake of this post we will refer to it as self-sabotage. This is what i mean by burning the boats. The boats refer to all the past experience that you have of the world that is causing you to question your actions aka your fear and your ego. You need to get rid of this conditioning and unlearn everything that is causing the self-sabotage and restricting you from becoming the best version of yourself. This is the only way to win at life. The sabotaging occurs in many ways but the main cause of it is when we question our potential to do something. We all want to be rich, to be happy, to achieve success but when we are offered the possibility of doing so, we back off from it. Questions like “Am i smart enough?”, “Can i handle this?” pop up and then we make excuses to continue living in the fantasy that we created. The fantasy that we could certainly do it if we wanted to but never will, we remain stagnant. If you want to become rich you could just Google “how to make money online” and you will be served with countless ways to do it. These methods are legit and anyone could do it. But most of the time we don’t take the plunge to materialize the thoughts that we have. In all honesty, i’ve been there and we all have been. However keep in mind that by doing this, you are crushing your potential. You are limiting your possibilities, you are substituting long term success for short term pleasure. We all think that we can do this and we can do that but when the time comes and you need to step up, 99% of people crumble.
This picture depicts very deeply what we tend to do most of the time; forgetting the bigger picture for instant comfort and ultimately this is keeping us in our box.
So how do you stop self-sabotage? It is easy. TAKE ACTION. Taking action is the two words that will change your life forever. For me some example of taking action involve; take a risk a day, read everyday, talk to a stranger a day. As you can see every single action is done on a daily basis. This is because the mind understands consistency (more about this topic in another post). Your way of taking action will differ from mine since it is directly related to the goal you want to achieve. Mine is to become more open to the world and embrace what it has to offer. Anyways I have come with a short list different ways of forcing yourself to take action and here are the main ones:-
- A book i recently came across provides 5 steps to pushing through this fear of taking action and she calls it the “fear truths”. (Book: Feel the Fear and do it anyways! – Susan Jeffers)
- The fear will never go away as long as i am growing.
- The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.
- The only way to feel better about myself is to go out and do it.
- Not only am i going to experience fear on unfamiliar territory but so is everyone else.
- Pushing through the fear is less frightening than living in the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.
The no 4 relates to giving up control. Your mind feels threaten every time if is faced with new stimulus and reacts with a “fight or flight” mechanism. Most of the time we just avoid it instead of pushing through. You need to learn to embrace giving up control. Embrace the chaos. If you think seriously on the subject everything that has brought you the most happiness and other emotions come from situations where you weren’t fully in control; joining a new group, making new friends, freshman year, etc…
Personally, the 5th fear truth speaks to me the most. How many times have you had the chance to do something and did it and in the end you felt a rush of positive emotions coming out from it? Now think about the times you had the chance to do something but didn’t do it and felt miserable. Which one would you choose to experience again?
- Use the “Gun to the head” analogy. First, make a decision to do something. Next imagine you have a gun pointed at your head and you have no other options than to do what you have set up to do or else you die. Similar to burning the boats, all you can do is jump in the fire and do your best.
This is not advice to do what is morally wrong, this is a trick to push your own boundaries and challenge yourself in your everyday life. If you decide that you will do a 100 pushups today, you have to do a hundred pushups and there are no other possibilities. If you decide you will eat healthy for a month, then there is no other option than eating healthy for a month. Just do it and in the end it will all be worth it.
I strongly believe that a decision is never complete without action. If there is no action, then you failed in your decision and we might assume then that there was never a decision in the first place.
- Ask yourself the question everyday as you wake up “What positive reference experience is awaiting me from taking action today?”
Taking action only bears fruits. And good ones. When you welcome every outcome as positive you can only win. Losing happens when you learn nothing from the outcome and dwell on it.
This technique was another big one for me. Many times where i wouldn’t want to talk to strangers i reminded myself all the good things that happened to me from doing so. I met so many people with amazing backgrounds and i often get them to teach me their language for fun. To say that most of the time, you brighten their lives. You snap them out of their routine and they welcome it with a big smile. The world is a safe place. Every person is unique because no one has seen life through this person’s perspective. There is no other person like you on earth. Therefore you are scarce. And Scarcity = Value. Never let anyone depreciate your value. Set your own price and add taxes to it. (More about self-love on another post lol.)
I would love to share more insights with you people but i would like to keep my blog posts short as our focus easily drifts away the longer we do something. This is just basic human nature. So as an ending note to this post i would like to say that if you are reading this, understand that you are using your own time doing so. Time is the most important commodity that we will ever have as humans. A commodity that the masses take for granted most of the time. The only commodity that seems valuable to us nowadays is mainly money. Money is the most common commodity there is, everybody has money and anybody can make money (you can make $20 just by doing a survey duh.) However, understand that your time is so much more precious than that. So if you took the time to read this specific post, you are investing in your decision to change your life. But as stated above, a decision is never complete without action. Therefore my advice to you is that everything you read today, you put it into practice and there is only one way to do this; Take action. Take action for your future, take action for your legacy, take action for your life.