Can 20 seconds of courage really change your life? A lot can happen in 20 seconds. It can be life-altering. Sometimes you don’t have control over what happens, but how many 20 second intervals in your life do you have control of?
We just got done having family movie night, and we let the kid a.k.a. “The General” pick the movie. Being an animal enthusiast, she picked the movie “We Bought a Zoo.” It’s based on the true story and book of Benjamin Mee and his two young children. We could pretty much relate on some level, since we feel like we own a zoo, or as one of our family members would say “a pet store.” At this time we have 6 bocky chickens, 6 rabbits, and a fiery orange bearded dragon. With our rescued feral rabbits, we can relate to the need to make a difference for animals that would otherwise die or be destroyed.
But it wasn’t the animals that stuck in my brain. There was one quote in the movie that really stood out and stirred up some childhood memories:
“You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery, and I promise you something great will come of it.”
Have you ever had 20 seconds of insane courage? Did it change your life? Maybe it didn’t change your life, but it changed your world-view and more importantly, it changed how you see yourself. What if you did something courageous every day, or even every week? How would that change your life?
I thought back through my childhood and remembered when I got up the courage to try something out of my comfort zone. You see, I was pretty darn shy as a kid. Risks were not in my bag of tricks – not that I even had a bag of tricks at that age. P.E. was terrifying to me, and as an introvert, team sports or close interaction with more than a few people at a time was pretty overwhelming.
But, one day at recess, I was watching the kids playing tetherball. It looked fun, and I always wanted to try it, but I didn’t know how to and I was always scared of looking dumb or awkward. Somehow my want overruled my fears and I got up, walked over and stood in line.
I didn’t like being put on the spot, but I choked down my fear and eventually my turn came to play.
I HAD NO IDEA HOW TO PLAY!
I didn’t know the rules or what to do. I just kinda stood there totally confused and lost. The kids yelled “hold!” when I picked up the ball to throw it, so the game was over. I broke one of the basic rules. It was over in 20 seconds, but you know what? I lived through it!
Here’s the thing though. The kids weren’t mean about it, they yelled out any broken rule for anyone who played the game and messed up. They were fair, and guess what else? They were kind and encouraging.
The regular me would have quit and been embarrassed at my failure.
Fortunately, my legs wouldn’t allow that and I got back in line. Then, I went back again. It happened over and over again. Over time, I actually got pretty good at tetherball, until it finally got to the point where no one could beat me! When you are a shy kid who really stinks at sports, something like this is one of the most wonderful things that can happen to you. It taught me a valuable lesson, one that none of us should ever forget.
Rewards are gained by TAKING RISKS.
Mathematically speaking, the higher the risk is, the higher the potential reward. If we never take risks and never get out of our comfort zone, we can never have those wonderful rewards that are waiting for us. When fear wins, we lose and we never really know what great things we missed out on.
When we do take risks, we have the opportunity to learn and grow.
We find out what our true potential is. I think too many people severely underestimate just how much they can accomplish. They fear what others think, how they will react and what they might lose. The thing is, most of the time we overestimate the possible bad outcomes. Most of the time we are just trying to protect our pride. We imagine the worst things happening. I guess it is a survival skill, but if not kept in check it can paralyze us into inaction.
One of my favorite songs is by Garth Brooks and it goes, “Life is not tried, it is merely survived
if you’re standing outside the fire.” It’s like a good old country music proverb. Do you want to merely survive or do you want to live while you are here? I will let you in on a little secret… You WILL DIE eventually whether or not you take any risks at all. You can’t outsmart death, so wouldn’t it be great if you decided to take the small amount of time allotted to you and make the best of it?
To this day I can clearly recall myself getting in line to play tetherball. I can see the playground, hear the sounds and even see some of the faces. It happened long ago, but it remains clear in my mind because it changed me. It shaped my whole life. Now just for the record, we are talking about calculated risks. Foolishness never benefits anyone. 🙂
Have you ever had a brave 20 seconds? Think back to one or more of those times and let it empower you today. Remember how it felt to conquer that fear and use that feeling to be brave again! Make it a habit!
Disclaimer: Jaimie is not the great and powerful Wizard of Oz, a lawyer, a doctor, a veterinarian, or a CPA. Nothing your read in my blog is a substitute for professional advice and doing your own good research. Remember that just because someone has credentials doesn’t guarantee their advice is golden or perfect. Put your smart hat on and do your due diligence. Good luck!