I’ve had a lot of time to think this last week about courage. A lot of time to mull over a chance that could change my world–not the one at large, but the one made up of 600 other teenagers at my small-town High School. It’s time for my Last Lecture speech, and for a girl who struggles to express herself even one on one, the idea of public speaking looms large. This week, the motivation I need and want to share is that of courage–insane, brain stopping courage to change your life.
I’ve never actually seen the movie We Bought a Zoo, but I have heard about ‘your twenty seconds’ before. In contrast with Your Four Minutes, the idea behind your 20 seconds is the time it takes to gather courage for your longer “four minute run” through life. In the words of the movie:
“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.”
My favorite part of this is his final thought: and I promise you something great will come of it. The twenty seconds of courage is not what makes you great–it’s what comes after that’s important. If you spend twenty seconds outside your comfort zone, your life can change. I won’t pretend that it always goes well or that trying being brave will always bring success (I’ve been shot down before too, and it hurts)–but you will have decided to change your life. And once you’ve set yourself down a new path you open the door for great things.
Keep in mind what I said earlier, about being vulnerable. Your twenty seconds of courage doesn’t equate to twenty seconds without a filter. Self-restraint is valuable and desirable: not everyone needs to hear the gritty details of your life, and some things deserve more respect than broadcasting them to the world can give them.
That doesn’t change the principle, however. Sometimes it takes 20 seconds of mind numbing resolve to begin something new and just fly. Once you’ve done it, you’ve proved it’s possible. And if it’s possible, you can (with perseverance) make it probable. All it takes is short moment to start. Definitely not easy, but definitely possible.
If you had twenty seconds to set anything into motion, what would you do?
PS This doubles as my quote of the week, as I don’t want to be redundant and post again on the same words.