Cut The Rope, Burn The Boats !

Cut The RopeA few days ago, I came across a wonderful article written by Amit Grover. Amit, who is an IIT-IIM graduate, is the founder of Nurture Talent Academy, India’s 1st Training Institute for Entrepreneurs. He has previously worked with organisations like Infosys, Asian Paints and Onida in variety of strategic and management roles. He is also a member of Mumbai Angels, India’s premier group of angel investors and has led over 30 early stage investments for the group in last 4 years.

In this article titled “Starpreneur“, which was published in The New Indian Express, Amit talks about a scene from the Batman movie – The Dark Knight Rises. Those who have seen the film would be familiar with the scene where the lead character is being held a prisoner in a deep well, from where no one has ever escaped, except a small child. Each time someone attempts to climb out of the well, they do so with a rope attached to their waist, so that it can save them in the event of a fall. The only way to escape from the well is to climb slowly and painfully to the top-most ledge, and then from there take a leap to the edge, and it is during this leap that almost everyone falls down, eventually saved by the rope, but back to square one. The only one who escaped from the well alive was a child, who did it without a rope. Eventually, Batman too decides to risk it without the rope, knowing fully well that it would be a do-or-die attempt, and it is this knowledge, perhaps, that gives him the extraordinary strength to take the final leap to safety and freedom.

Says Amit: “And Batman, our Hero, also makes it only when he decides to cut the rope – that is the secret of success of entrepreneurs. They cut all ropes that bind them – a monthly salary, regular incomes, club memberships, weekly holidays, social/comfortable lives etc, and then take a jump. If you keep thinking that these ropes will save you if you fail in your business, then you do not take that effort required or stretch yourself to your true potential.  So go ahead, leap for your love! Be what you want to be! “  (Read the full article here)

This article also reminded me of a story told by Napoleon Hill in his book “Think And Grow Rich”, about a certain general who led his men into a situation that was hopeless. Here is an excerpt from the relevant section of the book: A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own. he loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed to the enemy’s country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave the order to burn the ships that had carried them. Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, “You see the boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win ! We now have no choice – we win, or we perish !”  They won.”

Different situations, but both the stories bring to the fore only one point – in order to succeed we must be prepared to cut the ropes that bind us, and burn the boats that could provide an escape route. Till such time that we train our minds to do so, we will always keep falling down, knowing that there is a rope to save us. Or we will give up the battle and retreat, taking the escape route provided by the boats.

So get rid of the ropes, and burn the boats.

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