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Once You Burn Your Ships You Are 100 Percent Committed

And it's always a good time to play

Photo Credit: June Admiraal
Photo Credit: June Admiraal

Josh Waitzkin, chess prodigy and author, said that before his son was born he remembers hearing parents say, “The weather is bad.  It’s raining.  We can’t go outside to play.”  So when he became a dad, he made it his plan to see all weather as good weather for exploring.  Chaos over control.  He and his son Jack have never missed a rain storm or a blizzard.  Because it’s always a good time to play.

How many times have we decided that our situation is not optimal?  I’m not suited for that job.  I won’t be strong in that group.  I can’t win at that game.  I won’t stick to that food plan.  

How do we know if we haven’t tried?  How can we succeed if we haven’t committed?

We all know stories of people who sign up for the marathon and they’ve never been a runner.  What happened next?  Their investment in an idea of who they are made them act.  They started to put the alarm on before work and get some training in.  They made time for the gym.  They ran whenever they could fit it in.  Did their days have more hours than before?  No.  They decided to grow into who they were meant to be.

Author Napoleon Hill who wrote Think and Grow Rich said, “Any person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat.  Only by doing so can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win — essential to success.”  

If you are not 100 percent committed, you will hit snooze.  You will skip the gym.  You will pass on the interview.  You will miss the networking event.

You have to decide that there is no way to go but forward.  You have to be all in.  

Is the new marathoner trying to win the race?  No.  They are trying to run the race against themselves.  And once they cross that finish line and see that anything is possible if you believe, their mind has been stretched and cannot go back to its old shape.  The perspective has changed.  The identity has become something new.  

They see the rainy day as the perfect day to go exploring.

What perspective can we change today?  What ships can we burn?  What race can we run?

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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