2.12: What it Means to Burn all Bridges and Leave No Retreat with Anthony De la Cruz of Virtuoso Home Improvement


Anthony’s story provides a great example of what it really means to sink or swim. He lost his job as an electrical contractor when his boss committed suicide during the economic crash. No contractors were hiring and he had bills to pay. He had no choice but to either succeed in making money for himself or crashing and burning. He shares the steps he took to make his story a success.

Anthony’s experience reminds me of a suggestion in the landmark business book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Hill suggests that in order to be successful you must burn all bridges and leave no retreat in the pursuit of your objective. The idea is that this leaves you with no choice but to succeed. The context for this suggestion comes from the story of a man named Edwin Barnes, who desired to be a business partner with Thomas Edison. Regarding Barnes, Hill writes:

[H]e did not say to himself, “I will try to induce Edison to give me a job of some sort.” He said, “I will see Edison, and put him on notice that I have come to go into business with him.”

He did not say, “I will keep my eyes open for another opportunity, in case I fail to get what I want in the Edison organization.” He said, “There is but one thing in this world that I am determined to have, and that is a business association with Thomas A. Edison. I will burn all bridges behind me and stake my entire future on my ability to get what I want.”

He left himself no possible way of retreat. He had to win or perish!

Many of the stories I have shared on this podcast come from exactly this position–sink or swim. At some point, you have to put it all on the line. I think that’s the reality of things. When to do that is up to you and I think it’s wise to have an appreciation of the risks, but know at some point it will have to be done.


You can reach Anthony at delacruz@virtuosovegas.com. You can also follow him on Facebook, where he posts pictures of some of the pretty fancy places he gets to work!

Also, here’s a picture of Anthony with Nicolas Cage!

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