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Burn the ships (When plan B fails you)

Outliers and the common denominator

The book by Malcom Gladwell titled Outliers was published 2008 and has been #1 on The New York Times bestseller list. Outliers highlights the denominator of success commonly found in the men who have dominated the world of retail, banking and technology. Gladwell writes stories of the world's most successful, painting vivid pictures of the journey to success and deriving the commonalities found in most of the men and women who have become household names.

Your ancestors' wildest dreams

This got me thinking and made me listen to the underlying factors of success in the stories of the men and women I come across on a daily basis. I found, that survival is often a critical factor of success. In layman's terms, success can sometimes be found in the story line of those who have nothing to fall back on.

When you hear stories of persons who come from impoverished backgrounds, where what stands between them and poverty is the next opportunity - there is a drive and zeal that is in of itself is driven by being the generational poverty breaker. They have no buffer to fall back on. They are their ancestors' wildest dreams, because the opportunities that can potentially break them out of poverty, were out of reach for their ancestors.

Burn the ships

Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés landed in Mexico with his army in 1519, ready to expand the Aztec empire. Upon arrival, he ordered his men to burn the ships behind them to symbolize that they were to fight for their lives because there will be no retreat. Because the men were going to fight for their lives (literally), they won.

This story does not reflect many of our lives, because we often do things with a "retreat" mentality. We often do things to create a plan B or a raft. While this is important in areas of ones life where there needs to be foreplaning in cases of unforeseen life circumstances, it is not always applicable.

Mediocrity dressed as opportunity

We often live life like we get a do-over, when the thing that is most certain is that we all live to die. Yet, though we know not when the day shall come, we live as though we have ample time and ample opportunity.

We live with ships, in aspects of our lives. In our health, we live with ships.

We say - I will work out another day, I will start taking my health seriously in the future.

In our workplaces, we live with ships.

We say - I will become more diligent when I get the promotion.

In our romantic relationships, we live with ships.

We say - If this does not work out, I will get it right in the next relationship.

This creates an attitude of mediocrity in the things we do because we do not pursue excellence. Excellence is found in giving everything one has in any given activity; it is the extra mile one will go to ensure success. Contrary, living with the ship's mindset always room for subpar work or diligence because there is a belief of another time, another opportunity or another plan.

We are all guilty of this, because human nature prefers comfort, rather than the discomfort found in excellence.

Perhaps, it may be time to Burn the ships!

From one Powerhouse to another

Love Mavis

Find me on LinkedIn - Mavis Elias


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