Burn The Boats 1


Failure is not an option

When Cortés landed in Mexico, the order he gave to his men was to burn the boats. They were either going to succeed or die trying. Likewise, Alexander the Great gave the same order when confronted with a superior Persian enemy. In both cases, with no avenue for retreat, the groups which should have lost instead won the day and achieved their goals.

We need to approach success at reaching our goals the same way. I’m not advocating working yourself to death, but I am saying to aspire to be like a freight train. Essentially unstoppable in your drive to reach your goals.

failure is always an option

Adam Savage from Mythbusters is fond of saying that failure is always an option. Edison worked for several years and tested several thousand filament materials before finding a long lasting light bulb filament. Each failure could have caused him to stop, but Edison knew that failure was always an option when reaching a goal. He never let failure slow him down and instead used it to drive him forward knowing that each filament that didn’t work was one step closer to a filament that would work. In life we will undoubtedly try to achieve a goal and fail. On the first attempt, failure is often to be expected. We should shrug off failure. Learn what you can from the experience and start anew.

Don’t Fail, fail

The two, seemingly at odds, points above are actually complimentary. In reaching the goal of being a six figure developer, you will trip and stumble. A missed blog post here and there is certainly not desirable, but ending your blog would be detrimental to achieving the six figure developer goal. Another example is giving a poor presentation at a meetup. Forgetting your slides and having to shoot from the hip, or accidentally skipping over a crucial piece that makes the whole presentation worthwhile can be devastating to you internally. Never presenting again would be far more damaging to the goal of becoming a six figure developer.

Last week I gave a presentation where everything seemed to go wrong. My slides were messed up and my laptop didn’t even have a workable version of Visual Studio on it. After borrowing a laptop and jumping between two different slide decks I managed to give the presentation. I was a wreck and not satisfied with my performance in the least. The audience didn’t seem to notice though and so I believe they thought the night was a success. Because I had a terrible experience now is the time to make sure I jump back on the horse. I am contacting the local JavaScript meetup and offering to give a presentation for that group.

Never give up! Never surrender!

Clayton has been programming professionally since 2005 doing mostly web development with an emphasis on JavaScript and C#. He has a focus Software Craftsmanship and is a signatory of both the Agile Manifesto and the Software Craftsmanship manifesto. He believes that through short iterations and the careful gathering of requirements that we can deliver the highest quality and the most value in the shortest time. He enjoys learning and encouraging other to continuously improve themselves.

Please Consider Sharing This Post:

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedin
  • John Voris

    Remember, when presenting or doing anything, 80% of the job is showing up.