‘Crossing the Rubicon’ is a phrase that has been used throughout history. It means to take a bold course of action and cross a point of no return. But where does it come from and how could it be useful?
Take A Leap Of Faith
In the year 49 BC Julius Caesar, then a renowned military leader and governor of a region in southern Gaul (modern day France) was vying for power. His term as Governor was coming to an end and power hungry as he was, he did not want to give it up.
The Roman Senate ordered him to disband his army and return to Rome. But fearing things would not go his way, Caesar decided to march his army into Italy and take Rome by force.
At the time, the Rubicon river was the northern border of Italy and by bringing an army across this river would mark an act of treason, insurrection and a declaration of war on the Roman Senate. If a general entered Italy in command of an army, both the general and his soldiers became outlaws and were automatically condemned to death. If Caesar marched his army across the Rubicon river there was no going back and hence, the phrase “crossing the Rubicon” stems from here.
It was a pivotal moment, but being the bold man he was Caesar decided to take the risk. As he led his army across the shallow river Caesar shouted the phrase “the die is cast” which comes from the idea that once you’ve thrown the dice your fate is decided. Caesar had passed a point of no return; it was all or nothing.
Caesar rolled the dice with one daring act and it resulted in his favour. It forced his rivals to flee Rome allowing him to take the city and eventually become ruler of the Roman empire.
What’s Your Own Rubicon?
Although Julius Caesar was a power-hungry and ruthless dictator, can we learn from this mentality and would a little bit of this behaviour help us in our own lives?
We can so easily become comfortable with our own safety net, telling ourselves that one day when the time is right we will: start that business, write that book, take that trip or see that friend.
But we trick ourselves into never taking any action until eventually it’s too late. Sometimes you have to cross your own Rubicon, take a leap of faith, jump in with both feet first and not give yourself any other option.
You might not be ready but by taking bold action it creates a sense of urgency and a drive that will force you to better yourself, to find a way and make things happen.
But What If It Doesn’t Work Out?
Think long and hard about what’s the worst that can really happen? Most of the time, things aren’t as bad as we think. Any humiliation from failure is most often short lived.
More often than not, to test ourselves and grow we have to operate without a safety net.
Try taking a leap of faith with bold, brave action.
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