I Accidentally Burned All My Boats

When you think of the phrase "do what you gotta do," very rarely do you picture a beautiful field with daffodils and butterflies when a luxurious unicorn surrounded by a cloud of glitter rushes up. . .
Me: "Should I pet it?"
The World: "Yo, It's a unicorn! Do what you gotta do."

Conventional wisdom is something we "know to be true," a belief or idea that gets repeated so often and for so long that we never stop to question it. Some of these little "truth nuggets" are helpful, such as eating apples and leafy greens, but remember when everyone thought you couldn't get pregnant the FIRST time? We accept certain ideas and sayings because it makes life a little bit easier. The less we have to figure out, the more we can do - in theory.

One of the biggest lies we are told is to "work hard." We love quotes like, "Winners never quit and quitters never win." People love to pull out how much Michael Jordan practiced to make his dream come true. Let's be clear, if #23 was 5'2" and couldn't dribble to save his life he probably wouldn't have ended up in the NBA. Paula Abdul is successful, but no one is calling her for a tribute concert to Aretha Franklin. Getting where you want to go requires more than hard work, you need systems and even more importantly, good people.

"Do what you gotta do" is the sad, broke cousin to "by any means necessary." It is a phrase that people celebrate more often than they should and usually comes up in response to an unsavory scenario. It's a resignation phrase. I've heard this phrase a lot. If people believe you are stubborn and don't want to argue, they will throw this phrase at you. It doesn't mean that you won. It means that they've let you step out into the unknown - they may or may not be there when you get back.

The story of Spanish conquistador, Hernán Cortés, is often told as a point of motivation. Let's be clear, this man is not a hero, but the legend goes that he ordered his men to burn their boats before they stormed on the Aztecs to make them Catholics and take their gold. The burning part has been debunked and they lost that go 'round, but yay Jesus! Anywho, the idea is that if you have no way to return, no safety net, you will fight for your life and bask in the glory of your victory, or die with honor where you stand.

Fast forward a few centuries and you realize how dumb that sounds. In the present day scenario, who or what are the boats? Who or what are the Aztecs? Just how many boats are we talking about? Why are we invading? There are a lot of questions. A perpendicular concept, that I actually subscribe to, is "fear-setting" by Tim Ferris. I was doing it before I saw his talk, but it's inspiring still.

Planning backward from the worst-case scenario allows you to draw a plan for the best course of action and address your fears. What I have since learned (the hard way) is that things that you didn't think were possible and are indirectly related to your biggest fear, also need a Plan A, B, and C. Otherwise, you end up sinking a few boats and building a raft from weak ass branches.

This post got a little long, but in closing, my list:
1) Get people around you who won't say "do what you gotta do."
2) Don't burn your boats.
3) Conquer yourself and build habits that make success look like hard work.
4) Stop saying "Hustle."
5) Motivate your army with chocolate, not death.

Trust Your Struggle
Everything is Figureoutable
Tim Ferriss Talk
History Lesson


Popular Posts