To burn your boats is to create an artificial point of no return. Conquering leaders from ages past would order their armies to burn the boats that had brought them to a foreign land, making retreat impossible. Success or death became the only options.
Sometimes, the only way forward is to make sure there’s no way back. Sometimes you do need to take a risk, make a leap, sign your name, speak the words that will change everything.
And sometimes burning the boats is just an excuse to not do the work. A sudden proposal is an easy way to feel close to your partner — certainly easier than choosing daily acts of love. A swanky entrepreneurship conference is more fun than sitting alone working on your business. If you burn a big enough boat, it’s easy to forget that you haven’t stepped off the beach.
When the ancients burned their boats, it was after they had sailed across an entire ocean. It was after they worked, day after day, to reach that far shore. Burning the boats was their last leap of faith, not their first.