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.