Conventional wisdom says you shouldn’t “burn your bridges.” I don’t doubt the sincerity of the person parroting this out, but I certainly doubt the wisdom of the advice.
Burning your bridges is virtuous under the right circumstances.
Too many people are held back by these “bridges,” when in reality, they should be dousing the whole fucking thing in gasoline.
Here’s why lighting a fire on your career, yourself, you’re relationships–all of it–will help you succeed.
Burn The Boats
No discussion of bridge burning is complete without talk of “burning boats.”
In the story of Hernando Cortes conquering Montezuma and the city of Tenochtitlán, we’re told how Cortes decided to burn all of his boats.
The story as told by PBS:
Montezuma was paralyzed by their tales, and by the possibility that Cortes was the returning Quetzalcoatl, “the feathered serpent,” an exiled deity who vowed to return one day to claim his kingdom
Cortes faced imprisonment or death for defying the governor if he returned to Cuba. His only alternative was to conquer and settle part of the land. Those of his men still loyal to the Governor of Cuba conspired to seize a ship and escape to Cuba, but Cortes moved swiftly to quash their plans. To make sure such a mutiny did not happen again, he decided to burn his ships, on the pretext that they were not seaworthy.
The story, whether mythical or true, is full of useful lessons. Three details stand out.
- Cortes was the “Quetzalcoatl.” Montezuma saw Cortes as the dragon coming to claim the kingdom.
- Burning the boats destroyed the mutiny.
- Cortes had only one real choice: conquer the land or face/death imprisonment.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the story (SPOILER ALERT), Cortes kicked Montezuma’s ass and took Tenochtitlán.
Three Takeaways From Cortes Conquest:
1. You must become the dragon. Embrace the fire in your belly. Become Quetzalcoatl and claim your kingdom. Be relentless in conquering your obstacles. Breathe fire. LIVE DANGEROUSLY.
2. Burn your boats. There’s a mutiny in your brain telling you to seek comfort and familiarity. SET IT ON FIRE.
3. Success means focusing on one thing at a time and totally committing to it. You have to go all the way, or don’t even try.
How To Burn Your Bridges And Create Success Like Cortes
Like Cortes, burning bridges can lead to massive success. Here are three areas of life where burning bridges is helpful.
This is the biggest sacred cow of all. We’ve all heard it before, “Don’t burn bridges at work.” Complete bullshit. Burn this bridge when you no longer have the fire in your belly, or when someone or something at your job is taking it away. If you don’t burn it down, you’ll be tempted to go back to work that no longer serves you and is potentially harmful to your well-being. KILL THE MUTINY.
Why burning this bridge won’t hurt you:
1. Former bosses are irrelevant– Your former boss won’t help you. In fact, according to James Altucher, your boss probably hates you. I tend to agree. I’ve never had a former boss help me find a job. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve even spoken with a boss after quitting or being let go. So there you have it. Forget about your old boss. They won’t help you and probably despise you anyways.
2. You Don’t Need The Reference– You don’t need the reference from your boss or former co-workers. Create your own references. Create a blog that displays your best work, collect customer testimonials. The value you contribute doesn’t hinge on the opinions of former bosses or coworkers.
3. You’ll Switch Jobs/Careers – You’ll switch jobs too many times for it to matter. On average, this is around ten-fifteen times. Unless you work in a very niche field, you don’t have much to worry about.
Burning these bridges frees you up to pursue what you should actually be doing.
Feel better now? Great. Ready to quit that job? Even better.
B) Self-Concept/Belief Systems
Wait, burn bridges to your self? YES. You should be constantly evaluating your self-concept and belief systems. Are you the dragon? If not, what’s holding you back? You might have limiting beliefs that are building bridges to nowhere.
Here are some ways to burn them down:
1. Move To A New, Larger City – If you’re living in your hometown and have never left, you need to move to a new, larger city. You’ll experience personal growth and increase your confidence. You also get the chance to create a totally different persona. It’s glorious. Do it.
2. Find Your Purpose – It’s quite easy to find yourself working on the wrong mission in life. You need to take time to evaluate and re-evaluate your purpose.
3. Read – The easiest ways to upgrade your belief systems is to read. One of the most life-changing books I’ve ever read is The Rational Male, by Rollo Tomassi. Becoming Red Pill aware doesn’t just burn your bridges, It annihilates them with the force of a nuclear warhead.
C) Personal Relationships
Burning bridges with terrible friends and toxic people is a must. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You need to surround yourself with people who have the fire.
How To Lose Friends And Influence People:
1. Speak The Truth, Even When It Isn’t Popular – The surest way to burn bridges with friends is to speak your truth. While scrolling through Twitter, I came across this post:
Saying what you think with no filter will offend some people.
Fuck them, they were never going to be receptive to your message
But the people who are open to your message will appreciate your honesty.
Never apologize for being yourself.
— Daniel Kelly (@DanielKellyTRT) March 26, 2018
Friends who are offended by your truth aren’t the people you want to be around. When you speak your truth, these people disappear.
2. Be Successful At What You Do/Pursue Your Dreams – Another sure fire way to burn bridges with “friends” is to be successful. When you are working on your dreams and doing amazing things, your friends will be jealous. Friends don’t want you to be successful as much as they want you to become who they think you should be. Your success is a flashlight on their failures. These are the people who want to pull you back down into the crab-bucket. The people who celebrate your victories are the ones you want in your circle.
The Virtue Of Burning Your Bridges
Burning your bridges is a virtuous act. While everyone is passively allowing life to happen to them, you–the bridge burner–are the active creator of your own life.
Like the curator of a fine garden, you’ll be able to recognize and destroy the weeds before they even have a chance to sprout. You’re circle of friends, your professional life, and belief systems will all improve as a result.
Now’s the time to take the kingdom, embrace the dragon, and burn down every single fucking bridge that no longer serves you.
What bridges will you burn today?
You may also like