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Burn Your Bridges Behind You!

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Posted 8th August 2008 at 01:39 PM by Chris W. Sutton

I can hear you right now…Oh my gosh! Chris has done gone and lost his tiny, little pea-pickin’ mind! He told me to burn my bridges behind me and even I know you’re not supposed to do something that dadgum stupid! (That IS the way you talk, isn’t it?} Yes, you heard me right! I want you to burn your bridges behind you.

Do you know where the term, “burning your bridges” comes from? According to legend, it comes from the actions of the Spanish explorer, Hernan Cortez when he conquered Mexico. When Cortez landed in Mexico, he was faced by a superior Aztec force. To make sure there was no chance his soldiers would mutiny and retreat back to the ships, he went down to the ships one night and burned them. Now retreat was impossible! His soldiers HAD to stand and fight. Cortez had taken away any excuse for retreat!

Excuses! (To explain (a fault or an offense) in the hope of being forgiven or understood) Excuses go all the way back to Adam blaming Eve for being hungry. Unfortunately, we have become experts at making excuses and you will NEVER overcome those things you want to change as long as you make excuses for them! I just can’t lose weight because I just LOVE to eat. No excuse! I am the way that I am because of the way I was treated when I was growing up! No excuse! He shouldn’t have to go to prison because society cast him aside! No excuse! But…because…it’s just…it’s not…I was…NO EXCUSE!

Did you ever stop to consider that, maybe, it’s not the things around us that influence us BUT it is US that influence the things around us? Let me repeat that one more time because I don’t want you to miss this… it is not the things around us that influence us BUT it is US that influence the things around us!!! Do you know what that means? It means… NO EXCUSE! It means YOU decide how you will react to something! It means YOU decide whether you will do something or not! It means YOU can control your environment to a great extent!

I realize there are some things that can’t be changed BUT, before you go using that as an excuse, they probably come to a very small percentage in your life. The fact is, you can change any bad habit you wish to change. You can stop smoking. You can stop taking drugs. You can stop the anger. You can stop the pain. YOU CAN STOP!

My dear old daddy used to have a saying about just about everything. One of the ones he would use when someone couldn’t quit doing something is, “You know…they just ain’t hurtin’ bad enough!” Does it take getting cancer to make you quit smoking? Does it take a heart attack to make you start exercising? Does it take losing your feet one piece at a time to make you start taking care of your diabetes? Does it take killing someone in a car wreck to make you quit drinking while you drive? How bad do you have to start “hurtin” before you make the necessary changes in your life? Trust me…it is far better to avoid the pain than it is to have to suffer through it! Avoid the pain…change your life!

Let me give you 5 steps to help you quit making excuses and, possibly, avoid great pain in your life…

  • Instead of making excuses, take responsibility! “Making excuses” is an extremely hard habit to break. It just comes naturally to most of us. Learn to take responsibility for your actions and you life.

  • Admit that something is wrong! You will NEVER be able to change something if you don’t admit there is a problem. Do you nag your spouse or your children? If you don’t admit that you DO nag, you will never be able to change your behavior. If you don’t admit that you have a drinking problem, you will never be able to quit drinking. Take responsibility and admit that you have a problem.

  • Speak only positive things! You will never change yourself, or anyone else for that matter, by saying negative things. People have to feel good about themselves to be able to make changes for the better. Say things like, “I love my life!” “I am a good person!” “Today is going to be a great day!” and say them out loud. Your mind believes what it is told over and over. Learn to speak only positive things.

  • Don’t put yourself in a position to have to make excuses! Sound simplistic? Well, actually, it is! We all have control over our actions and we can decide not to do something. Got to have that piece of cake? Why? You can decide not to eat it! Got to have another beer? Why? You can decide not to drink it! Got to speed to get to work? You don’t have to, you know? It’s only AFTER we get that ticket that we decide to think it over. Make good decisions before something happens.

  • Be proactive! If you have been reading my articles for any amount of time, you will know that I emphasize proactivity A LOT! The reason is, if you can learn to be proactive, you will be able to take control of your life and make rational decisions. What is proactivity? Simply, it is being aware of your decisions before making them and thinking about what you are doing before you do it! Proactivity is not having to regret some decision you made based on emotion. Proactivity is the end of your anger. Proactivity is a calm and peaceful family atmosphere. Proactivity is avoiding a lot of pain in your life!

Excuses are just bridges we have learned to retreat back over. They take us back to the way things were when we were on the other side. Do you want to live life as it was meant to be lived? Do you want to avoid as much pain as possible in your life? Do you want to be the kind of person everyone wants to be around? Don’t be afraid of that uncharted territory! After all, you may just find out that it is the Promised Land! Be like Cortez and burn those bridges (excuses) behind you! If there is no retreat, the only way you can go is forward!

Chris W. Sutton
http://www.front-porch-newsletter.com
Learn to live life like life was meant to be lived!
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    Jill Carpenter's Avatar

    Give yourself no retreat

    There is a story I hear on some Napoleon Hill audio I like to listen to. An example is used of a ship going in to war, and the ship is burned so that the soldiers have only 2 choices. To win or parish.

    They won.

    I was brought up to not burn my bridges. But there are times when I now have to wonder if that was more of a hindrance than a help.

    When you don't burn, you can always go back. It gives one an easy out if they fail.

    Unfortunately, the easy way is not always the best way we really "learn."

    Sometimes it's good to turn the screws a bit tighter on yourself.
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    Posted 8th November 2009 at 05:25 PM by Jill Carpenter Jill Carpenter is offline
 


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