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We just finished watching “We Bought a Zoo,” with Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson.  One of the great lines from the movie is that it only takes “20 seconds of courage” to discover something great.

That line got me thinking about my life. When have I dared 20 seconds to be courageous? What is courage?  How did it look in my life?

As you can probably tell, I am a closet philosopher, waiting to discover nuggets of wisdom or knowledge that distills my world into discernible bites.  Spoon feed me bits of understanding and I will create a new recipe for living.  Try to cram down too much, too soon, and I refuse to accept it and turn the other way.

Perhaps that is why this concept of “20 seconds of courage” is so intriguing to me.  Spending 20 seconds on anything seems very doable, even easy.  Heck – it took me 20 seconds just to type that last sentence! So what could be the big deal?

It depends on your definition of courage.

What comes easy to one person can be terrifying to someone else.  Ask a teacher to speak in front of a group of people, and she will readily accept.  Ask a computer geek to do the same, and terror instantly transforms him from a knowledgeable expert to a puddle of insecurities. It all depends on what events, circumstances or even people make you immediately say, “No, thank you.”

When you are faced with those situations that make your heart pump faster and your lungs pump harder, there is a brief moment in time, suspended between what was and what could be, that waits to be acknowledged. Skip past it and you lose the possibility of change. Pause and consider before you react habitually, and you step off your well-worn path and forge new ground.

With the new year almost upon us, why not take this admonition to heart? Why be good, when you can be great? You are the only person on the face of the planet who can be you. Why not make decisions and choices that create the best you that you can be?  Why ever not?

20 seconds – that is all it takes.

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