There are many stories in history that tell the tale of burning one’s boats upon landing in an invasion so that the only choices left for yourself are to move forward and conquer or die.
I never remembered which specific one that I first heard of, but I always thought it was the ancient Greeks or Romans that did this first.
Julius Caesar was known to have done this perhaps more than once. It is the crossing of the Rubicon, for which “Alea iacta est“ (“The die is cast”) and there is no turning back.
Cortez did it when he landed with his conquistadors in Mexico.
The ancient Chinese had a similar saying – “Break the kettles and sink the boats.”
A couple of years ago, my good friend and partner in a feature film (Sitiado) and I had decided that we wanted to make this movie. We had no idea how at that point, but we had made the decision, and being a bit of a military history dork, I told him this story of Caesar and the burning of the ships.
We decided right there that would be the name of our production company – Burn the Ships Films.
This was our logo:
Several days later, I received this flask in the mail with the name of our movie and “Burn the Ships!” engraved on the side:
It was one of the most meaningful gifts of my entire life.
We went through a lot of hardships and almost lost our friendships when we had a star attached and were only a couple of months out from shooting when the financing fell through.
It was devastating and discouraging, but we haven’t given up on it. The ships were burned behind us.
My same friend Hus Miller has just wrapped his first movie that he’s produced and acted in with a different star that was on our wish list for Sitiado and since we’ve burned those ships behind us years ago on this thing, it looks like it may actually happen years later, and happen in a way that is far superior and better prepared for than if it happened the first time when I wanted it.
I just randomly saw this video today, and it made it want to share this with you.
This is no endorsement of Tony Robbins in any way. Anybody could have said it, but he said it perfectly here.
What have you been wanting to do or create for the longest time, but haven’t done it yet?
Get clear on it. Keep it to yourself if you want to, but know what it is, decide on it, and burn the fucking ships behind you so that you have no choice but to move forward and conquer.
This article originally appeared on Triumph and Disaster Blog
Photo credit: Getty Images