The phrase to "burn the boat" is historical, tracing its roots back to 1519, when Hernán Cortés led a large expedition, including 600 soldiers and 11 boats, to conquer Mexico. Upon arrival, Cortés made history by destroying his ships. This sent a clear message to his men: There is no turning back. They either win or they perish. Although you might assume that Cortés’ men would have become despondent, with no exit strategy in place to save their lives, they instead rallied behind their leader as never before.
At its essence, burning boats represents a point of no return, a psychological commitment where you recognize that you have crossed a line never to cross back. There is no hedging, no looking over your shoulder. Everything now—all thoughts and efforts—must be focused on succeeding in this new reality.
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