Benjamin (Matt Damon) talking to his son Dylan (Colin Ford) in the 2011 movie We Bought a Zoo.
Later in the movie we learn that the “20 seconds of insane courage” Benjamin is referring to is the time he met Dylan’s mom:
He saw her sitting in a restaurant; she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. He didn’t know what to do because he had never talked to a stranger like that before, but he figured all he needed was twenty seconds. He set the timer on his watch. He went into the restaurant, and almost lost his nerve now that he was close enough to touch her - but he still had 15 seconds of bravery left. He said, “Excuse me” and she turned to him. He said to her, “Why would a woman who looks like you ever talk to a man like me?” But she smiled and said, “Why not?”
This is how we all gotta live!
Like Benjamin explains, you just need that short burst of “embarrassing bravery” once in a while, at the key moments.
Whether you want to:
* Approach a stranger you want to meet
* Make a cold sales call
* Initiate a difficult conversation
* Begin a daunting project
* Learn a new skill
* Do anything you’re afraid of
It’s a relief to know we don’t all have to be Michael Jordans to attain the life we want. We don’t have to be ready to take the game-winning shot every single night. We just need to be willing to take it once in a while, at strategic times.
Can you do that for yourself?
Can you muster 20 seconds of insane courage when you need it?
Great article! As a teacher in a Middle School, I plan on teaching kids about the :20 SECONDS OF COURAGE. Hopefully this will encourage students to go beyond their initial fears and participating more – answering questions, even though they might be wrong; overcoming the fear of public speaking and of course, talking to that “special” person they’ve had eyes on. Thanks for all of the great stories that you post online!