20 Seconds of Courage

27th January 2023
Read time: 3 minutes

One of my favourite films is We Bought a Zoo. (Matt Damon, Scarlett Johannson)

Not only because of the heart warming story, but this line…

“All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, and I promise you something great will come of it”

And with 2023 underway, I’m sure you’ve got your habits, goals, and ambitions.

And I don’t know about you, but at the end of the year, I want to be able to say that I gave it my all.

The trouble is, we face friction both on a daily basis and in what can be crucial moments in our lives.

Steven Pressfield talks about how the bigger the dream, the bigger the resistance we feel. So if you’re feeling resistance, it’s because it means something to you.

And while a lot of people will talk about how it is determination, perseverance, and discipline that get us to take action, I believe the key ingredient is this:


Having the courage to do that thing that deep down means something to you.

The courage to become the person you hoped to be.

Perhaps it is a personal or professional goal. Or it could be going up to that person in a cafe, starting a new habit, or writing that first page.

All it takes is 20 seconds of courage, insane courage.

Courage requires us to dig deep into ourselves and take that first step through the resistance.

It hasn’t got to be a big step. A small one will do. But a forward step nonetheless.

In our most recent mindset masterclass on habits, we spoke about starting small.

This means that it doesn’t make it too daunting a task. Yet you also need to have a plan, a system that will help make the resistance less challenging and do a bit of the initial work for you.

Perhaps you’ve lacked the bravery in the past to take that first step. I know I have.

You’ll find friction occurring in the form of an inner voice telling you reasons not to.

It can be a small thought about what you’re going to say or do. Or it can be a more thought-out process. The main point is to plan to take action.

For me, a while back now, I remember walking along the seafront and seeing a girl that I instinctively would have liked to have talked to. But I didn’t. I wasn’t courageous enough in the moment. Where could things have gone if I had? Who knows.

I often think of this:

“What if it could turn out better than you ever imagined?”

((Share this as a tweet))


Yet other moments when I did have the courage to take action led to something great.

It doesn’t guarantee success; nothing does.

However, knowing that you tried and were courageous will give you confidence in the person you are.

Perhaps courage for you right now is starting to ask questions of yourself, through self-reflection.

(Remember: the quality of our life is determined by the quality of our questions.)

((Share this as a tweet))

So for the next week or so.

When an opportunity arises that gives you the feeling of leaning back, lean in to being courageous.

On the other side will be something great—an opportunity or maybe a lesson.

Perhaps you’ve been in a situation in the past where you wished you’d been more courageous; now is the time to change that.

20 seconds is all it takes. I promise you something good will come of it.

Go for it.

Here are the two scenes from “We Bought a Zoo.” Enjoy.


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