The story behind Burn The Ships

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What exactly does burn the ships mean? The question we have been asked multiple times since dropping our “Burn the Ships” tee and cropped tee last month. Now with a second design being printed, we guess it’s time we explain. 


“In 1519, the Spanish explorer and conquistador Hernando Cortez decided that he wanted to seize the treasure that the Aztecs had been hoarding.  He took 500 soldiers and 100 sailors and landed his 11 ships on the shores of the Yucatan.  Despite the large army under his command, he was still vastly outnumbered by a huge and powerful empire that had been around for 600 years.

Some of his men were unconvinced of success and, being loyal to Cuba, they tried to seize some ships to escape to there. Cortez got wind of the plot and captured the ringleaders. He wanted to make sure that the remainder of his men were completely committed to his mission and quest for riches, so he did something that seemed completely insane to his people:  Cortez gave the order to sink his own ships.

His men resisted, wondering how they would even get home, and his answer was: “If we are going home, we are going home in their ships!”

The path forward was clear for Cortez – All or nothing, 100% commitment.  The option of failure was gone – Conquer as heroes, or die.”

Creating Bexar Barbell during a pandemic was a risk. A risk few would probably have taken but it was our way to do just this, burn the ships. By walking away from our previous situation with no ability to return we had no option but to succeed.

When you remove your plan B, remove your backup plan, remove your “I’ll do this if that doesn’t work out.”, your mindset changes. When there is only one path, you have no option but to follow it. Remove any option but success, and watch the world change around you.

Burn the ships. Succeed or die. There is no other option.

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