Burning The Ships


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I am fascinated by the story of Cortez who after landing in the New World, burned his ships in order to prevent his crew from turning back from battle. That way, there was no return – the only way out was to fight. No going back! This isn’t totally the true, the shipped were actually scuttled (sank) not burned, but the point remains.

It must have taken a lot of courage to cut off his lifeline to his home.
It makes a dramatic statement that failure is not an option.

In Gene Kranz’s book of the same title, Failure Is Not An Option, he describes the trials and tribulations of the US manned spaceflight’s birth and evolution all the way from the first Mercury shots to the Shuttle flights. It’s an amazing book and it speaks more to perseverance and leadership than it does to the space race. The title is true of what they were up against. If we had kept that kind of intensity at NASA since that era, we’d be colonizing Mars right about now.

The concept is simple – succeed! 

We can apply this standard to our own pursuits. If we have a failure-is-not-an-option mindset, how can we not achieve our goals?

I know it’s easier said than done. Life throws up barriers. In terms of flying, the barriers are large and numerous, but if I can do it, so can you. I grew up lower-middle class and worked two jobs in high school to bankroll my flying. I know it was cheaper back then, but minimum wage was $3.75 an hour and there wasn’t that many hours in a day. Borrowing or having my parents pay for it wasn’t an option…and neither was failure. 

I invite you to “burn your ships” and follow your dreams…whatever they may be.

By Brent Owens <click on my name to email me>

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