I consider burning the flag to be a bad thing. Burning marshmallows, on the other hand, I find to be quite good indeed. Burning a CD of my favorite songs; also quite good. Normally, burning bridges is a bad thing, especially in relationships with people.
But with dreams – now that’s an entirely different story.
Today I met with some retired business executives hoping to get some golden nuggets of wisdom about attaining financing and managing cash flow. As I summed up the last two years in a fashion that would make Chris Berman jealous, I could tell they were very interested in this unusual business I’m spearheading.
One fellow complimented my artistic skill, and then went on to say that if this particular venture doesn’t pan out, surely there would be some large mega corporation eager to hire me for my creative skill. I didn’t know how to respond, but I think I nodded and agreed that the possibility of such a notion could exist. In reality, however, that scenario, and any similar scenario, are completely out of the question. There is no “if”.
The idea of doing anything else besides Kim & Jason has been eliminated from the play book long ago. When Kim and I decided to travel down this road we’re on over two years ago, I burned all the bridges behind me. Sure, the whisper of a different, maybe easier life still makes its way to the back of my head every once and awhile. But those images are just charred remains of bridges I’ve already burned.
I think when you’re pursuing a dream, you’ve got to burn the bridges behind you. No more backup plans, because you’re leaving open the possibility that you will fail. When people think of following their dreams, many envision an exciting and fulfilling life. Those people are right. But pursuing a dream is also scary, and uncomfortable. And if you leave those bridges intact, it will be very tempting to give up and settle for plan B or C.
I’ve found that mentally eliminating all life choices that won’t lead me down the path to my dream has been absolutely necessary. It has forced me to press on when I’m scared, with nowhere else to go but forward. And it has pushed me to do and accomplish things I never could have fathomed possible. Plus it has made me rely on God more than ever, which has been the greatest blessing of all.
Someday when I’m eight-nine, and my grandkids think I’m senile, I’ll tell them, “Don’t burn rubber, don’t burn your toast. And for Pete’s sake, don’t burn the flag. But when it comes to following your dreams, burn all the bridges behind you.” To which they’ll say, “Grandpa is weird.”