I’m writing this about 4.5 hours into a 13-hour flight from Newark, NJ to Beijing, China. I took a break from my Mandarin crash course to watch the movie We Bought a Zoo. Near the end of the movie Matt Damon tells his son “Sometimes all it takes is 20 seconds of insane courage and great things will happen.”
Think about the times in your past when your course has changed dramatically because you mustered the courage to step outside your comfort zone and do something. What relationships were spawned by such acts of bravery? What career-changing events have hinged on some key courageous moment?
Of course, you can’t consider the statement without pondering the areas in which you currently need to demonstrate just 20 seconds of courage. Is there a damaged relationship in your life that continues to cause pain or irritation where one of you needs to take the initiative and say something? Is there a lifestyle change that needs to occur that requires telling someone (maybe yourself) a giant “No!” or “Yes!”? Are there other people’s lives you can dramatically impact for the better by taking that action you’ve been thinking about for a long while?
20 seconds. That’s it. We’re not talking here about being super courageous every moment of every day. 20 seconds is more than enough time to say “I love you” or “You’re forgiven” or “I quit” or “Let’s do this” or “Hi, my name is …, what’s yours?” or “Here’s an idea I think we should consider” or “I think you would be magnificent at…” or “Thank you for what you did” or “Can we talk?” or a thousand other things that you know you’ll regret if you don’t act.
Sometimes you find nuggets of wisdom in the most surprising places – this time in a cramped economy class seat with a couple hundred others nearby, watching a movie I had no plans of watching today.
Leap year lesson #110 is Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds.
p.s. – I’m keeping the chopsticks they gave us during lunch on the plane. I need more practice.