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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Burn the Ships!

Ever hear the phrase “Burn The Ships ?” 
It comes from the year 1519, when Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez convinced over 500 soldiers and 100 sailors to sail from Spain to Mexico, along with 11 ships to take the treasure in Mexico on the shores of the Yucatan.  
Cortez had a clear and advantageous goal: 
Seize the great treasure located on the Island. 
The problem was that those treasures were guarded by the fierce Aztecs.
The same Aztecs that were the super power of their time.  The question begging to be asked is, “How did a small group of Spanish soldiers arrive in a strange country and overthrow a large and dominant empire that was in power for over 6 centuries ?”

Apparently, Cortez was a master motivator as he planned a brilliant, but risky strategy that provided his army with the fire to overthrow the Aztecs and reap their booty.
In the midst of the night, Cortez called his men to "up the ante" by asking them to do something inconceivable and totally out of the ordinary. Standing before his mighty men, Cortez shouted these 3 words:
Burn the Ships!   

Tradition tells us that after he said those fateful words, he added this:  "If we are going home, we are going home in their ships". When those men torched the ships, they did something that no one had ever done before and Cortez knew it. He knew that by eliminating the option for failure, his men would fight like they have never fought before and that the commitment level would be raised to an all time high. The result? Cortez and his men conquered the Aztecs and had succeeded where others had been unsuccessful for centuries. 



This story is about commitment.
It has been said that commitment is the foundation of success. Think about it, has a single accomplishment ever been achieved without first committing to it? Leadership guru Peter Drucker rightly said, "Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans." Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers echoes this sentiment about commitment when he stated, "The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence..." 
Did you know that Jesus, like Cortez, asked for total, unwavering commitment from His followers?  "No man, after he puts his hand to the plow and looks back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)  The basic meaning of this passage is that you have to be "all in" when you commit to following Jesus. 

No matter the cause you are fighting for; the path you have chosen, or the direction your life has taken -somewhere along the line you had to make a commitment. A line in the sand had to be drawn. Ships had to be burned to the ground and a stake firmly planted deep into the soil. 

3 comments:

Mugsy said...

And King David was great at this. He was always throwing himself out there with only God to save him. Of course, when his own agenda or ambition got in the way as with all of us, the end result was usually unfavorable.

Mugsy said...

And King David did this all the time. He was always reaching out with incredible leaps of faith depending solely on God. Of course as with all of us, when his selfish ambition got in the way, or his agenda, or his ego the end result was usually unfavorable...

Anthony Kladitis said...

Mugsy,
Very nice!

I love the David connection!