The following is an article I found on general Sun Tzu’s concept of creating a “death ground” in which you have no other options but to advance:
Sun Tzu wrote of creating a ‘death ground’ — a place where an army is backed up against some geographical feature like a mountain, a river, or a forest and has no escape route.
It was reasoned without a way to retreat an army fights with double or triple the spirit compared to being on open terrain, precisely because death is viscerally present. Sun Tzu advocated deliberately stationing soldiers on death ground to give them the desperate edge that makes men fight like they never had before. There doesn’t seem to be any better way to motivate someone to give it their all and maybe it’s time for you to create your death ground?
Yes, back yourself into a mountain, in fact, back yourself into a mountain full of dry trees and light that mountain on fire. This way you have no choice but to advance.
At first you can admire the great spectacle that is the flames. But as it grows you will begin to feel the heat. The flames rise and you are left with a choice.
Do I stand here and die or do I fight my way through the other side?
We all are on a slow path to death. Grim isn’t it? You’re slowly dying…
It’s either you choose to place your back against the wall or you choose to live a life that does push you to your outer limits.
People change their behavior only if they have to.
We are creatures of habit. We get into the daily grind. When our situation is relaxed we tend to repeat the same motions every single day, often we fall prey to this self replicating nonsense.
If you want to change you must create a sense of urgency, immediate urgency will break this spell. I think there’s one true way to ensure you snap out of this trance…
Act Before You Are Ready
One of the best ways to put your back against the wall is to take action before you are ready. This doesn’t mean to just go and jump off a cliff without a safety net–but sometimes acting rash will payoff.
Most successful people have the ability to execute a strategy or execute when they’ve gathered enough data but they feel something in their gut. A general rule when creating your death ground is to act before you think you are ready.
This is when you will become more resourceful with your efforts and under pressure creativity will flourish. It’s just like the soldiers on the battlefield, with nowhere to go and their backs against the mountains, suddenly they find strength and stamina they didn’t know existed and just enough to come out alive.
What To Do Now
Can you think of something that would be bold and a massive leap for you? What’s holding you back from taking this leap? Why didn’t you take this leap yesterday? Will you regret not taking it tomorrow, in a week, or a year? If so, then maybe it’s time to create your own personal death ground. If nothing else has worked for you up to this point then maybe you need to place your back up against that mountain, light the forest on fire, burn your boats, and never look back.
Go ahead, cross the Rubicon.