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One of the keys to success is having no other option!

Updated: Jan 21, 2018

October 3, 2017 | Dr James Carlopio




One of the keys to success is having no other option!


Most of us have ideas.  Sometimes they seem like great ideas.  Sometimes they feel like world-changing, multi-million-dollar-making ideas.  Either way, most often we do nothing at all about them or we try and do somethings to make the idea a reality and then when it gets hard or we get scared and too far outside of our comfort zones, we give up.


Someone recently reminded me that if you want to be successful at something, you need to act as if your life depended upon making it a success … because it does!  There is a story often told of the Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez, who upon reaching Central America or Mexico (accounts vary on where he actually landed and did the deed) burned all of his ships so he and his men had no choice but to make a success of their venture; there was no going home.  Their lives literally depended upon success, so, they did whatever had to be done to be successful.


If you want to do something difficult, once you get going if you have a way out and an option to retreat and fail, when the going gets tough, or things get scary, most of us take the easy way out.  If, however, you make a commitment and you mortgage your house and put your life-savings at risk, your attitude and behaviour will be unrecognisably different!  When your life is at stake, you will not ‘take it easy’ you will not ‘go slowly’ you will not ‘have a go’ or ‘ give it a try’ or ‘play around with it for a while’; you will do or do not; there is no try (in the immortal words of Yoda).


If you want to change your organisation’s culture, once you get going if you have a way out and an option to retreat and fail, when the going gets tough, or things get scary, you too might take the easy way out.  If, however, you make a public commitment and you out your reputation and your job on the line, then your attitude and behaviour will be unrecognisably different! 


To be successful you have to plan and make serious commitments.  Of course, you can still have fun and enjoy yourself along the way, but the quality of the ‘doing’ is serious and focused.  You hold yourself accountable.  You hold others to account and you let others hold you to account.


If you want to be successful, burn your ships, then you will have no other choice …

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