Burn That Bridge Down!

I hear so much about “don’t ever burn the bridges behind you”. Most of the times the phrase is correct, and you should not do anything in a rush, that latter you will regrate about. However, I wanted to point out a different perspective of why sometimes it’s important to burn that bridge down.

I was first exposed to that concept through a fascinating lecture about game theory from Dr. Haim Shapira. He was telling a story about how pirates in the old days would take over a ship in the sea. When approaching a foreign boat before the battle, the pirates commander would burn their own ship. By that, the commander was literally saying to the pirates that they have to fight for their life, cause there is no retreat or a “home” to come back to. Would your action be different if you knew that you cannot go back to the old and familiar place? Sounds a bit scary, for me at least.

I keep in mind that story in challenging times such as when I left my good corporate job to relocate to a new place. I never doubted myself if my decision was right or wrong. This  is something I had to do at the time. The story about the burning ship was a reminder to myself that there is no place to go back. It encouraged me to keep looking forward, especially when I felt frustrated in the uncertainty of the moment.

Of course, I am not saying that by burning a bridge, one should go and be rude and end things not nicely or not in a graceful way, not at all. I am just saying, that sometimes you need the courage to burn the bridge behind and end things once and for all. If it is your job, relationship or friendship. In order to realize that it is time to move forward, and invest all the energy in a new present and hopefully better future.

10 thoughts on “Burn That Bridge Down!

  1. This is really powerful stuff, Svet. I’ve heard of “conquer or die” before, where commanders would burn their ships (can’t remember where, maybe in romance novels:)) It’s scary stuff, but in so many ways liberating. I think I’ll be pondering this all week. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Kim! Well, I am not sure about the accuracy of the story about the pirates 🙂 it was told verbally during a lecture. But, I just look on it as a way to let go of major decision I made in the past and focus on the future.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it’s accurate, that they burned the ships. And it’s a great metaphor for letting go of fear and clinging and forcing one’s self to move forward. I appreciate this post so much!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a really good perspective! I had always thought that “burning our bridges” was a bad thing, but now I see that it can also be a very good thing as well. Sometimes we need to just cut all ties so that we are not only free to move on, but have no other choice. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very touching, I think that you are absolutely right, sometimes we just need to let go and leave the past in the past. As an immigrant myself I can relate to this ambivalent feeling, but at the end of the day everything is for the better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mery! I think it is easier written than done in real life. Even though I made the decision I still sometimes drug myself to the past. But the sooner we accept that there is no return it is for the better.


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