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Mr. Intellect: Burning Bridges Out Of Choice Or Force?

Recently, I had a chance to witness some people burn bridges, and it made me ponder to myself whether this was a good practice or not? These actions made me wonder how I would personally go about this in the future. Generally, there wouldn’t be so much thought placed on this situation because I would considered myself a righteous person, and I constantly make an effort to leave every passing situation on a positive note. With that being said, the decision to burn a bridge is something that everyone will be forced to face at some point, so why not examine our course of thought on this?

Upon my reflection on this topic, this is what I can determine about our travels through this journey we call life: There are people who will burn bridges so they won’t have to retreat. In this case, bridges are only burned in places you don’t have any desire to go back to. Sometimes burning bridges is necessary so you can’t go back, and so the places of negativity can’t come and disrupt my new and more positive route. Nonetheless, letting go will always allow new things to come!

The question or dilemma here is, do I necessarily want to cross over the bridge that took me to the other side, or the next level? It’s been said by many to keep pushing forward in life and not to look back; however I never seemed to quite get the gist of that. It’s impossible for me to forget the struggle I had to endure in order to cross those bridges in the past, and the people along the way that helped me. At the time, they were there for a reason and they may still be in that same place. Why would I go back if I’m pushing forward, and they’re still right where I left them? I’m reaching for more than I had; therefore to go backwards almost seems like self-sabotage. On the other hand, I may need to cross those bridges again, hmm…or will I? Once you’ve destroyed a relationship with someone you’ll never know when you will need their assistants again. So, is it really burning a bridge, or moving on to the next level as you step-on whom you must, to get to what you want?

It’s a small world, and you never know when you’ll need help, or work with the same people again. On that account, having the right attitude and being courteous and professional is the best way to go. Point being made as for working in the entertainment industry, there’s an experience where I can recall working with and establishing a connection with a Production Assistant on a particular project, then this same person turned around the following year to become a director of a major motion picture. As a result of maintaining this connection, the former production assistant helped me to get other opportunities in the industry.

On the other hand, there may be times where you will be forced severe the ties with certain individuals for good. “Who do you think I am, I don’t need this”, were my words when I had enough of dealing with a very influential person in the entertainment industry. I stated this knowing that if I spoke up or lashed out in anyway there was a possibility of being blackballed, or have a dark shadow cast over my head for sometime to come. However, there comes a point where you maybe forced to burn a bridge with someone; not because you want to, but have to. When you are consistently being disrespected, you must take a stand by voicing your opinion, and this includes forgetting about all the possible opportunities you might lose by speaking up. In this situation, I didn’t think twice about burning a bridge given that this is one pathway I refuse to backpedal to.

Be that as it may, I’ve seen the shrewd businessman burn bridges, and get ahead. I’ve seen the more conscious businessman be nice and stay in the same place complaining about the shrewd man, all the while wishing they had the courage to do the same. Through all of this I’ve come to the realization that burning bridges is just not for me. There have been many times in my life when those bridges have helped me on so many occasions. Therefore, who’s to say you’ll never need help from a particular individual again? So, whether you burn a bridge out of choice or force, it’s up to you to be the judge.

From my mind to your mind

Mr. Intellect  (edited by Shawna Kaye)

In life, do you agree with burning bridges, or do you only support it on a conditional basis? In what situation would you voluntarily choose to “burn a bridge”? Express your thoughts, and join the conversation by leaving a comment below. Share this post if you found it thought provoking, or helpful to you.

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  • Jackie

    Very interesting!

  • Mike

    It takes courage to burn a bridge behind you. Sometimes, there is no advancement in a career or in a life without burning a few bridges. It also takes courage to be willing to accept whatever transpires after a bridge is burned–to accept that there is no going back.

    There are some who will burn a bridge out of arrogance, to prove that they are right. Anyone who burns a bridge to prove that they are right is, most likely, very wrong and will suffer the consequences of their self-indulgent pyrotechnics at some point in time.

    Back to the original idea–that burning a bridge behind you takes courage. We have all, at some point, been in a situation where setting a path behind ablaze was the obvious choice. But is was not the easiest choice or the safest choice. So, we put up with the situation and stayed where we were. This may have been the easiest thing to do. But, in the end, we realized that action (or inaction, really) stilted our progress. Hopefully, we now know much better. Hopefully, now the courage is there to be drawn upon. There is much ahead to be accomplished. There are many battles to be won. And many bridges to be burned.

    • Mike, indeed it does takes courage to burn a bridge. In life, there’s always some form of risk involved when severing the ties with someone, but as long as the potential outcome is totally worth the risk, you may want to go for it. However, burning a bridge shouldn’t be a consistent practice, and this card should only be pulled in rare circumstances. With that being said, anyone engaging in such acts must be prepared for any aftermath that might come from their actions.

      • Mike

        I totally agree, Shawna. Burning bridges should not be a consistent practice. It should be a considered practice. If someone is habitually torching pathways, that person is just an emotional arsonist and has a few issues to work through. Therapy would be a good idea.

        But to stand for who one is and what one wants out of life will sometimes take the courage to light a fuse, bring down a bridge, and let go of circumstances that have been a drag–a hindrance–on progress. After carefully considering available options, this might turn out to be the best one.


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