Dare To Live Without Limits

Bryan Golden

Identify your bridges carefully before burning them

You have probably heard that you shouldn’t burn your bridges behind you. This is true in some situations, but not all. When you burn your bridges, you limit your options. What situations warrant this action and which ones do not?
In your relationships with others, you don’t want to burn your bridges. Life takes many unexpected and unpredictable twists and turns. You never know whom you will need to interact with in the future.
Although there are some individuals you want nothing to do with, hopefully they are few and far between. For the others, it’s not in your best interest to permanently sever a relationship. Although you may not like someone or you may have different philosophical beliefs, you can still maintain a cordial relationship that doesn't cause any bitterness.
You can be pleasant, polite, and congenial. You do not have to give someone a piece of your mind. Your paths could cross again at any time. A person from your past could wind up as a neighbor, coworker, boss, employee, or friend of a friend. People may forget a lot of events but a distasteful experience tends to be burned into one’s mind.
Since you never know who you will run into in the future, or in what capacity, it behooves you to leave off with people on good terms. Always be courteous and speak with a smile. A mean and insulting attitude never works in your favor.
When should you limit your options by burning your bridges? For an example, consider the story of a general and his army, who some hundreds of years ago, arrived by ship at the coast of the enemy.
Once his men had all come ashore, he had their empty vessels burned. With the fleet engulfed in flames, he told his men that if they wanted to return home, they would have to be victorious because retreat was no longer an option.
To attain goals, you have to limit your lines of retreat. People who succeed incorporate a mindset that giving up and turning back is not acceptable. Forward is the only direction offering possibilities. You can change course if something doesn’t work as planned, but always want to move towards your objective.
When someone says they will give something a try, the implication is that they can always turn back. Success requires laser like focus. A goal is reached because the bridges of retreat have been eliminated.
Determination shouldn't be confused with recklessness. People who are reckless will act on a whim without thought or planning. They demolish bridges because of carelessness, not as part of an intentional strategy. They will abandon a journey at the first obstacle. They are flippant and quick to blame others for their failures.
Giving something your all is more than an all or nothing attitude. A person, who gambles his or her life savings at a casino, hoping for a big win, is behaving destructively. If all of the money is lost, there isn’t much room to adjust investment strategy and move forward.
When you burn a bridge, it must be for motivation, to help propel you toward a positive goal. It can be destroyed only after a lot of thought and as part of an intentional design. Burn a bridge that is a pathway to defeat. Don’t burn a bridge that will provide you with options going forward.
Identify your bridges carefully. Separate those you want to preserve from those you should burn. Don’t burn any bridges that may be needed in the future. Get rid of bridges that will serve as an excuse to abandon your dreams.

NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.  2023 Bryan Golden


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