Burn the Bridges


background image

First of all keep in mind I don’t support or see as a positive thing the massacres that happened in Central and South America when Spain, Portugal and other European nations started colonizing the continent. Quite the opposite. That being said we can still learn from their strategic and military choices, and that is what this post is about.

Hernán Cortés was the Spanish general who was responsible for the fall of the Aztec Empire and sub-sequent colonization of the Americas by Spain. His military technology was far superior, but the Aztec outnumbered his men, and they were fighting for their lives (i.e., as motivated as you can get…).

In other words, he needed something to motivate his men to fight eagerly as well, else there was a chance they would be defeated.

That is why when he arrived at the shores he gave orders to burn and sink all the ships that brought his men. He wanted to make it clear that retreating was not an option. If the Aztecs were fighting for their lives, well, so were the Spanish men now. And as you might remember from history classes, it worked.

Bottom line: sometimes you need to burn the ships and the bridges behind you to make sure you’ll give all you’ve got.

Here are some examples of how this might apply to startups and websites, even if at a smaller scale:

  • Renew your domain for 10 years, so you tell yourself that this is for the long run.
  • Invest $1000 on a design for your website, so you tell yourself that if you stop working on it you’ll lose that money.
  • Once your online business starts making some decent money consider quitting your day job, so you tell yourself that now your websites need to pay your bills.

What about you, are you willing to burn the bridges?

Browse all articles on the Strategy category

7 Responses to “Burn the Bridges”

  • Okoji

    This is it. Burn the Bridges is the right spirit.

    You have to come to a point where you say enough is enough, I have got to move forward.

    I like it 🙂

  • steve

    Burn bridge is easy but health care will kill me before i burn the bridge.

  • jorge jacobo

    I feel I am in that war right now! I hope it ends soon!

  • Mike

    I agree with you 100%. All what keeping us back is the safety we have right now. It is hard to leave that comfort zone and step in to new / unknown and sometimes the only thing that works is “Burning the bridges”.

  • Chris @ NoPassiveIncome.com

    Hi Daniel,

    recently I almost burn half of my bridges 🙂
    In half April I quit my job. Now I work on my online businesses. Some of my Polish websites paid my bills, so I may concentrate on new possibilities – english market. I also start blogging to establish my reputation on this new market.

    Best regards, Chris

  • Ehsan

    Hello Daniel, I have sent you a guest post yesterday, You did not published it on your blog yet! please publish it.

  • Destination Infinity

    Burning the bridges is easy, but fighting for lives is more difficult 🙂

Comments are closed.