Burning Your Bridges
Posted by bebereader on Wednesday, March 3, 2010
“Don’t burn your bridges” is a warning you hear when you leave a job because you never know when the contacts you made will come in handy. The original expression is actually, “burning your bridges” and it comes from the actions of the Spanish explorer, Cortez when he conquered Mexico in 1519. To be sure there was no chance that his army would back down in war with the powerful Aztecs, he burned down his own ships. Cortez’ army had to fight because he took away any excuse for retreat. Translating this into everyday life, burning the mental bridge behind what you want to accomplish eliminates any excuse for not reaching a goal.
What does this have to do with David Archuleta? Well, we’ve seen evidence that David puts himself into positions where he is forced to grow and change. He wanted to audition for American Idol but was torn about having to give up his summer job at the park amphitheater in Murray. Ultimately he decided to follow his dream and quit his job in favor of the audition. He is now a successful recording artist and the world as we know it has been changed forever. David said he was never good at public speaking and that he was glad he had music in his life because that was the only way he communicated. When given the opportunity to speak at The Women’s Conference in Utah, he had the courage to break through his fears and accept the invitation despite the risk of failing. He said that accepting the invitation would be a good way to overcome his fear of speaking in public. He succeeded in giving a fifty minute speech. David understands that challenges are not barriers but opportunities for growth. He spoke about this in his speech:
“… sometimes even if it is a hard path to take, even if it has those big hills and climbs and all those scary trees and you can get scratches, and you can get hurt sometimes. But I think that’s what makes us grow. That’s what makes us learn in our lives. So when we get to that end of the path we have all those bruises and cuts and you can see that we had a difficult time getting to where we were; but at the same time, you can say, you know what, this is proof that I went and I took that path, and this is proof that I did all I could and that I was willing to take that path even if it wasn’t the easiest path to take.”
David accepts challenges with grace. Doubtful that he’d be able to write songs for his second album, he mentioned in an interview that he had writer’s block 24/7. But he rose to the challenge and is now writing with established songwriters in the field, determined to take a major role in writing all the songs for his sophomore album, to make the songs his own.
The courage David has shown in taking on new challenges, together with his ability to be insightful at such a young age is an inspiration to me. Never did I envision myself writing for an online fan site. I felt safer editing someone else’s work; my experience is in editing. When invited to come onboard The Voice, I was excited yet fearful that my writing wouldn’t measure up. Then I thought of David, his summer job and his American Idol audition. I thought of how he doesn’t shy away from challenges and how he welcomes new experiences in his life. His strength made me jump in and burn my bridge behind me, the bridge that was stopping me from moving forward. No more excuses. Unexpectedly, something amazing happened. I found that I really enjoy writing plus it’s given me an outlet for this severe case of ODD.
Most people feel fear but successful people like David don’t let it stop them because to them it pales by comparison to the fear of not knowing what they could have been. In his book, Chords of Strength, David admits how insecure he was about his voice due to having suffered vocal chord paralysis. But he didn’t let his fears stand in the way of his dream of becoming a singer because “he loved the way singing made him feel more than he disliked the way he sounded.” How different would David’s life be today had he chosen a different path? What if he let his doubts hold him back from auditioning for American Idol? I don’t even want to entertain the thought of how different our lives would be without him.
It’s a slow learning process and it’s not easy but I try hard to take a cue from David who, by example, has taught me not to let fear stand in the way of accepting challenges and accomplishing my goals. When in doubt I find myself tapping into his strength and it seems to empower me to push ahead. If I burn the bridge behind me, the only way I can go is forward.
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
Ander Gide (French writer, humanist and moralist, 1947 Nobel Prize for Literature)