Burn Your Boats — The Power of Instant Decisions With No Going Back!

Andrew Wood
3 min readAug 5, 2022

The phrase “burning your boats” dates from 1519, when a Spanish expedition led by Hernán Cortés landed in Mexico. Cortés knew his crew was already exhausted and possibly mutinous after the long sea journey, but he had to motivate them to succeed in the new land. So he ordered the scuttling of the boats they arrived in, leaving them no option but to move forward. It seems like a rash decision, but it worked.

I have made a number of instant; some might even call rash decisions in my life. Most though not all, came with immediate negative consequences. Consequences large enough to significantly alter the course of my life. However, every one of the decisions ultimately proved the correct decision.

For example:

At 16, I refused to move north to Scotland with my parents and stayed insteard for two years in England, lodged in a small caravan in the woods next to Lilleshall Hall Golf Club.

At 18, I traveled from the UK to the USA, and within 15 minutes of landing decided to stay there.

At 23, I quit my three jobs in Florida and moved 3,000 miles away to California.

At 29, I broke away from my two karate masters, who were feuding with each other, and started my own franchise.

1t 36 I walked away from a multimillion-dollar business and moved back to Florida, wrapping up my decade in California in less than 30 days.

At 59, I decided to sell everything, take a year off and travel the world.

These are just a few examples from a life full of instant decisions, of decisions that, in most cases, burnt my boats, leaving moving forward as my only option. In the short term, each of these decisions had a significant negative impact, usually financially. But, in the long term, they all proved to be the right decisions.

Not that you should make any decision without careful consideration, but that consideration does not have to last days, weeks, or months. Your gut feeling will be right more often than a coin toss!

Andrew Wood

Author & Marketing Legend with over 50 books :I write on: Marketing, Travel, Sales, Success, Biz, Leadership, Golf, Autos, Books, Events www.AndrewWoodInc.com