The fear of losing what you’ve built is one of the greatest limiters of potential.
As we get older, we fight harder to keep whatever empire we’ve created. Often, though, we’ve built the wrong empire. Or we’ve built our empire on someone else’s land and they’re taking advantage of us.
Roughly 12 months ago I hit a new age milestone. It’s the age of screw it. Damn it feels good. I want everyone to experience this feeling.
“Burn the friggin boats” as a philosophy for life
In 1519 Hernán Cortés arrived at what’s known as the new world. His men didn’t want to fight the natives.
They were tired. They complained.
Hernán made history by telling his men to burn the boats that got them to this island. Without their boats there was no turning back. His men either had to fight and take the island … or die.
One man laughed at the idea. Hernán killed him on the spot for being a damn full and questioning him. No one else had the guts to rebel.
Against all the odds Hernán was successful. They took the island.
Tony Robbins later borrowed this story and called it the “burn the friggin boats” philosophy of life.
The age of screw it is when you’re not afraid to use this strategy. You burn your Plan Bs and stop living a fake life. It requires you to make a new decision and stick with it.
Few understand that decisions are inflection points in life. Nothing changes unless a new decision is made by YOU. And if the new decision has a get-out-of-jail-free card, then it’s not a choice, it’s a cope.
I’ve since fallen in love with this philosophy. I burned the boats in my banking career. I burned the boats in my dating life and got married. I burned the boats and had a kid so I have to remain in Australia (the land I love).
Plan Bs steal your personal power.
Do the opposite of everyone in your field
“Calvin & Hobbes” is a comic strip.
It’s pure gold and avoids all commercial temptations to sell out. It was successful and syndicated in 2000+ newspapers.
It sold 45M books.
The creator Bill Watterson refused to license his comics so they could be used to make games, movies, and toys.
Rough estimates show that this cost him $400M. Holy crap.
George Lucas and Steven Spielberg both tried to work with him to make his comics into an animated series. The comic strip ran from 1986 to 1995. Right at the top of his success, similar to the tv show Seinfeld, Bill shut the comic strip down.
“F*ck it, I’m out.”
Bill didn’t want to overdo it. He didn’t want to repeat himself and make his comic strip boring. So he quit when it was the best. Now, all these years later, his comic has a cult following. It’s still read.
When you reach the age of screw it, like Bill did, commercial interests become a snoozefest. Making money becomes a sideshow — and going out while you’re on top becomes an obvious strategy, so the legacy you’ve built can continue.
More of us need to quit at the top of our game.
To win in life and hit this mythical age of screw it, you need to reframe fear. Fear isn’t the devil. It’s not your enemy. It’s actually your best friend.
Fear is energy. Fear is free motivation. Fear makes hard work effortless.
If you were to take this approach and make it practical, you might do the following weird things:
- Empty your bank account so your safety net is gone.
- Quit your job so you’re forced to reinvent yourself.
It looks freaking crazy until you do it & find your potential has been hiding right in front of your eyes. I guess what I’m saying is blow up your life.
How much you progress in life comes down to how much you’re willing to feel fear and still take action anyway. Stop fearing fear so much. One day you won’t be alive to have the luxury of fear anymore.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid to nuke your progress and the empire you’ve built? My guess is you’d build something 10x better.
Because when we start again or reinvent ourselves, we still have all the lessons and contacts from our past life. What gets reset is our approach, mindset, way of thinking, and daily strategy.
Excuse me while I take this advice and use it to blow up my life. You’ll find I’m going to be a different human going forward. It was nice knowing you.