“We must all suffer from one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.” These words from Jim Rohn run deeper than surface value. In life, pain is inevitable. No matter what, it comes knocking on your door sooner or later. Pain does not show any favoritism and it does not discriminate. For the sake of the conversation, let’s focus on the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. Think about it. You got through physical therapy school and are about to take your boards exam because you went through the pain of discipline. I am sure the pain of regret has also been present throughout the journey as well. It could be the test you could have done better on, if you would have just put in the proper amount of time to study. Nonetheless, the focus must now shift to the pain that you will have to embrace before taking your N.P.T.E. This is where the man/woman in the mirror does a gut check and must make an important decision. This is where you can find the true value of the word, “no.” You are going to have to say no to certain things at this point and go through the pain of discipline to become a licensed clinician.
Although these two types of pain are important to comprehend, there is another key aspect I need you to internalize. I need you to light the fire and burn your ships. Before you question where I am going with this, let’s talk about your plan B. You have been grinding for a long time to become a doctor of physical therapy. The road has been long, rough, and rugged. You take your N.P.T.E. and the test is harder than you thought it would be. You get your results back to find out you must retake the exam. Now you are thinking maybe physical therapy isn’t what I truly want to do. So, tell me what is your next step? What is your plan B? I mean after all we should always have a second option, shouldn’t we? We have grown up hearing all the different clichés such as, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”. Human beings are conditioned typically to have a back up plan in case our original plan does not work out for us.
I want to let you know that contrary to popular belief, having a backup plan is one of the worst things you can do for yourself. This is what I mean when I say burn your ships. We are so used to being comfortable that we think having a backup plan is beneficial. We never stop to realize how truly detrimental this can be for our future. With a backup plan, we prepare to fail because we are teaching ourselves not to believe in our goals and dreams. You must be so consumed with a burning desire to succeed that you fully invest yourself in your goal. This means that come hell or high water you will lock in solely on that mission. If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect other people to believe. Stop at nothing to pass this exam and live with your first plan. A lot of times we are afraid to burn the ships because we question our own ability to succeed. It is paramount that you break through that mental barrier, because on the other side of it is everything you want and dream about. Have faith in yourself and be determined to make things happen.
The Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes displays the perfect example of what burning your ships looks like. Cortes landed in Mexico with the purpose of obtaining the treasure that was being hoarded by the Aztecs. He arrived with his men and knew that he had to do something to motivate them to win the battle. “Burn the ships,” Cortes said. As any normal person would, his men resisted and were baffled at his request. Cortes explained that if they were to go home they would have to go home in the Aztecs ships. This gutsy call elevated his men’s sense of pride and passion. The option to fail had been eliminated from the equation. There were two choices originally. Fight and win or fight and retreat if things go south. As their ships went down in flames, the men only had one option, fight and win. They ended up winning the battle and getting the treasure they were after. If they never burned the ships, this would have been a different story. This my friends, is the importance of burning your ships. There is no room for excuses in the winner’s circle; this means that you must completely commit to your goal of passing the N.P.T.E.
Go through the pain of discipline instead of the pain of regret. Elect to do this by burning those ships. The only way to achieve the level of success you want to achieve is to go all in. The only way to go all in is to get rid of anything you can use as a crutch as to why you failed. When everything is all said and done, will you be grateful for the pain of discipline or be haunted by the pain of regret? Make up your mind. Burn those ships, discipline yourself, and I can guarantee you one thing. Whether you are taking the N.P.T.E. for the first time or not, the next attempt is the last attempt.
Karl Bourne, Lead Blog Writer