The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, beginning in 1519, was one of the most significant events in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. The man most credited for this was Hernan Cortes. Like many explorers we know today, Cortes’s role in the Age of Exploration was influential but extremely controversial. Controversy aside, you cannot take away from the fact that when his ships arrived on the Mexican coast at Yucatan, Cortes had one goal and one goal only: Defeat and conquer the Aztecs.
The Aztecs had been around for more than 600 years and they were one of the most powerful empires in the history of Earth. Needless to say, Cortes and his men were outnumbered by a huge margin. He caught wind of the fact that his men were scared. Because of this fear they were convinced they would lose. They were afraid they would not succeed and were worried they would lose and get slaughtered by the Aztec army. So Cortes’s men came up with a plan to leave and sail the ships back to spain. Cortes ended up hearing about this and he did something, that to this day, people consider one of the craziest acts in history. He went to his own ships and he set them on fire, burned them down and sank them to the bottom of the ocean. His men could not believe that he had burned their only way home. When they asked him how they would get home, Cortes pointed in the direction of the Aztecs and told them that if they plan to go home they would be leaving in their ships.
Cortes was 100% committed to his cause. For him it was all or nothing and failure was not an option. It was conquer or die! There was no Plan B because he had just burned it down. He knew that if he didn’t burn down his own ships he was giving away his powers to his men’s fears. Cortes understood that as long as his ships were still in one piece, his men would succumb to their fears and go back to Plan B.
Cortes defeated one of the most powerful empires in history because he had absolutely no fear, no Plan B and he was willing to die for his cause. He made a decision and he stuck to it. And in doing so he committed to achieving a result by cutting himself off from any other possibility. That is the kind of clarity that gave him power.
With clarity you can produce any result you want in your life. With this type of decisiveness you become limitless. You just have to be willing to see your plan come to fruition. You have to be willing to suffer and you even have to be willing to die for it. But you have to be committed to your plan. If you have a Plan B you are giving in to live a life of regret, a life of failure and a life of mediocrity. If you have a Plan B you are taking away from Plan A and in doing so you are giving in to your fear of failure. If you are afraid of failure then you will never embrace a hard fought victory.
The truth is, we’ve already made a decision. We either chose to follow our dreams or we chose to conform to Plan B. The problem with this is that most of us allowed the programming of our past to make that decision for us. Most of us are afraid of making the wrong decision so we unconsciously settle.
Without a doubt, we will make wrong decisions in our life. We are going to mess up more than once. But if you ask anybody who has ever accomplished anything they will tell you that success is the result of good judgement. Good judgement is the result of experience, and experience is often the result of of bad judgement. These seemingly bad decisions often turn out to be our greatest learning experiences. So make a decision and stick to it, knowing that you will fail repeatedly, but keep in mind that those repeated failures will eventually culminate into something extraordinary. The worst decision you can make is to not make a decision at all. Because if you don’t make a decision, life will inevitably make one for you, and it’s not going to be what you had envisioned.
Most people are living their Plan B and they don’t even realize it. We conform to mediocrity because we stopped believing in our dreams. We got punched in the face and chasing our dreams became to hard. So we settled. And in settling we pissed away our dreams and settled for plan B. Why? Because Plan B is what we learned when people convinced of who we should be rather than letting our dreams decide for us. It’s easier to listen to the naysayers and the critics then it is to listen to our passion. It’s easier because when we choose the path of less resistance we become less vulnerable. When we don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable then nobody can point their fingers at us and laugh. When we are vulnerable the critics tell us everything that we are doing is wrong. But we fail to realize that it is not the critic who counts. The credit belongs to us: Then man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
We just need to have the courage to dare greatly!
Instead of pissing away our dreams we should be more like Cortes and set our Plan B on fire, burn it down and sink it to the bottom of the ocean. Because every day we spend thinking of a Plan B is another opportunity wasted. And we are only allotted so many missed opportunities before it’s too late.
“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” Tony Robbins