What Can Twenty Seconds of Insane Courage Do for You?

March 16, 2012 — 49 Comments
What Can Twenty Seconds of Insane Courage Do for You? | Joseph Lalonde

Hiking the Appalachian Trail. Jumping out of an airplane. Moving out the state. Creating a movement that changes the world.

Serving your country. Pursuing your dream. Trying out for the Broadway play. Asking for your girlfriend’s hand in marriage?

What do you need to start these events?

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You are probably thinking it requires money, time, commitment, etc. Some great hurdle to overcome.

Yet it doesn’t require much to get started.

It only requires a brief few moments of courage.

Just enough to push you out of your comfort zone and into an adventure you haven’t known before.

Don’t believe me? Let us break down a few of these events and see what could get them started.

  • Skydiving: I wrote about my skydiving adventure.
     
    When you’re sitting at the door of the plane at 10,000 feet, it doesn’t take much to get you out of the door.
     
    Just a brief few seconds of courage. Once you’re out of the door, you’re moving towards the ground and having the time of your life.

  • Asking Someone Out on a Date: This was always a scary experience for me.
     
    Never knowing whether the person would say yes or no. But, without 20 seconds of courage, you would never approach someone and ask them out.
     
    You may never meet your future spouse. You may get embarrassed. You may not.Is it worth 20 seconds of courage?
  • Creating a Movement: All movements start with a brief moment of courage.
     
    You have to push aside the fear and see if your idea will work. If it does, great! If it doesn’t, oh well. You move on.
     
    Without having the brief moment of courage you would never know what you could have done.

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”
— C. S. Lewis

The greatest moments of our lives start with just 20 seconds of insane courage. In that amount of time you can change your life. The lives of those around you. And possibly the world.

What would you like to do?

  • Move to a foreign country
  • Climb mountains
  • Live a minimalist lifestyle
  • Learn to dance
  • Give more to charity

What’s holding you back from taking the first step of courage?

  • Someone’s opinion
  • Fear of failure
  • Security

Think about it. Put a name to it. Face it.

Once you face your problem with courage, the world starts to open up.

You will see opportunities instead of trials. You will see new ways of doing things instead of dead ends. You will find freedom.

Today, I implore you to find that one thing that needs your 20 seconds of courage.

Do you have it in your mind what you need to do? Good!

Now take 20 seconds of insane courage and do something about it! Go change your life today!

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”
— Benjamin Mee (We Bought a Zoo)

Question: What situation in your life do you need to apply twenty seconds of insane courage to? How could it change your life? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    You mentioned the Appalachian Trail. I would love to thru-hike. That doesn’t seem possible right now with a mortagage to pay and kids to finish raising. I have it as a type of retirment goal right now.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That is a fantastic goal to have. It is a beautiful trail and brings you to many great views. You won’t regret doing it!

      My wife and I had planned to hike part of the trail in Maine last summer but due to the floods and hurricanes we were unable. We hope to make it back that way one of these days.

      • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

        My father-in-law and I talk about it all the time. He won’t get to. I know someone who started three weeks ago.

    • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

      Agreed. I’m blessed enough to live close to a section of the trail, have never thru-hiked but have done some pretty sweet section hikes on it. Love the AT!

    • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

      This is a great goal. I’ve done sections of the trail. The idea sounds so cool, but I would have trouble getting out of current commitments.

      • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

        Maybe when I retire.

  • http://twitter.com/_ThomasMason Thomas Mason

    Inspiring post, Joe! Unfortunately I don’t yet have that one thing that needs my 20 seconds of courage. I think all those reason you mention hold me back from taking a leap of faith: someone’s opinion, fear of failure, and security.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Thomas, you’ll know it when you find that thing. Just be willing to take the 20 seconds of insane courage and do it!

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    I need 20 seconds of insane courage for some street preaching we want to do in our city. There are some street preachers that do it but I’ve felt the call myself to preach the Gospel to large groups of people in our city. Pray for me for that 20 seconds! Great post Joe!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      That does take a lot of courage Kimanzi.

      • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

        Pray for me Dan, I have street preached a couple of times but need to do it more!

      • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

        Pray for me Dan, I have street preached a couple of times but need to do it more!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      I agree, that will take some extreme courage. Good luck my friend!

  • Lill

    Last year I really wanted to go to the Super Bowl. Everyone told me I was crazy–it was hundreds of dollars just to stand outside and watch it on a screen and I had no money. I was really afraid, but against opposition I drove 4 hours to the Cowboys stadium last year and someone gave me a ticket (long story). Point is: It was easier for me to just stay at home and assume it wouldn’t work out anyway than to take the risk of failing. I felt God said–Just Go–so I did….and it is an experience I will never forget. Mainly that my faith was strengthened because I exercised it.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      I don’t know what to say to that one Lill except that is exactly what insane courage brings! Congratulations on following through and getting a ticket. I bet that is one event you will never forget.

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    Joe,
    Boy, do I love that C.S. Lewis quote. My 20 seconds of courage would all have to do with my future! Thanks for the reminder to make it happen!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Get point about 20 seconds of courage being focused toward the future.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Barry, thanks. CS Lewis is the man! Good luck on using those 20 seconds on your future.

  • http://thebeardedidealist.com/ Stephen Haggerty

    Very cool, Joe. It’s amazing the impact a brief moment of bravery can have on a lifetime. PS- love that picture- makes me think of 127 hours, which is an amazing story of bravery, speaking of.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      127 Hours, is that the book/movie about the climber who had to cut off his arm?

  • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

    What a great and valuable principle. I know I could use 20 seconds of courage on certain things and on different occasions. This is such an applicable principle to know and remember.

    I really needed to hear this today, thanks for writing about it.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Glad it was able to touch you Dan. It’s something we all need to hear.

      When my wife and I had heard the quote, she mentioned she had been told that before. She felt it would have encouraged her to try more things.

      Imagine if everyone was brought up with that idea drilled into their head. The world would be changed!

  • http://www.DebtFreeAdventure.com/ Matt

    Way to push Joe. Identifying and overcoming barriers is everything, and courage is the key ingredient.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Thanks Matt! I know you and Claudia are pushing yourselves also. It’s been fun to read your IDC series and seeing how you are stretching and growing!

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  • holland

    It took only 5 seconds of insane courage to ask out someone and the other 15 doing jumping jacks and beating myself up for asking that at the same time while waiting for the reply….. now we are planning on getting married. It only took one second to accept the friend request on Facebook. Wow…. only a few seconds and it changes everything. Truly amazing.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Awesome! Congrats on the upcoming marriage!

  • Isaiah

    Well i really like this girl but i dont know if she fills the same so i couldd really use those 20 seconds to tell her how much i like here

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Isaiah, all it takes is 20 seconds of courage, maybe less, to talk to her and see how she feels about you. I hope you’re able to take the step and talk to her.

      • Isaiah

        thanks thats really encouraging

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          Just wondering Isaiah, did you ask this special girl out?

  • Isaiah

    I think im going to tell her next time i go to church m kinda scared though shes the most beautiful girl ive ever met if your reading this madison you know how i feel.

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  • http://rise365.com Claudia Good

    Joe,
    Michael said he really enjoyed this post, so I had to check it out. Glad I did! That spoke to my heart!

    I love that Benjamin Mee quote!

    I’m gonna make a much needed phone call. Thanks for the kick in the butt! :)

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      You’re welcome Claudia! We all need that kick once in awhile. Hope the call goes well.

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  • Kevin

    actually what the reason why I found your website is because somebody did that to me and I never had any idea abkut this 20 seconds moment of courage thing.
    My story begin in a cofee shop, I was just starting studying and my cofee was just served , I saw a beautiful girl setting just two tables away from me and when I took that sneak peek look at her she did at the same time so I turned my eyes toward the book. What happened next was amazing , I saw the girl approaching approaching me and asking me if she can set infront of me , I said ok no problem, she sets down and she tells me that I have the most amazing beared that she have ever seen in her life , I was shocked, but kinda in a good way, and I liked her for the courage she had to do that, she set there for 20 seconds only and left me without giving me any information about her. so I ran after her after a few seconds and got her social network account, the next day I went to another cofee shop in the same area , and saw her there by coincidence!
    anyway I asked her about the thing that happened yesterday and she told me about a study of telling someone what you feel in 20 seconds so I searched about it and I ended up reading your website,any way she says that doesnt necessarily means that she likes me but that doesnt make sence to me, I couldnt stop thinking about what she did that nite and the next nite I couldnt stop thinking about her. She accepted to be my friend and that was totally fine with me but I expected that she wants to be more than a friend … anyways maybe she needs another 20 seconds of courage to tell me that ! we are friends now and I think we can be really good friends I have a very good feeling about this beautiful lady.

    Thats my story and it happend two days ago!

  • Kevin

    actually the reason why I found your website is because somebody did that to me and I never had any idea about this 20 seconds moment of courage thing.
    My story began in a cofee shop, I was just starting to study and my cofee was just served , I saw a beautiful girl setting just two tables away from me and when I took that sneak peek look at her she did that at the same time so I turned my eyes toward the book. What happened next was amazing , I saw the girl approaching me and asking me if she can set infront of me , I shaked my head and said ok no problem, she sets down and she tells me that I have the most amazing beared that she have ever seen in her life “short beared not bikers beared :p” , I was shocked, but kinda in a good way, and I liked her for the courage she had to do that, she set there for 20 seconds only and left me without giving me any information about her. so I ran after her after a few seconds and when I reached her I asked her about her name and what she do and if I can get her social network account and she accepted to give me. The next day I went to another cofee shop in the same area , and saw her there by coincidence!
    anyway I asked her about the thing that happened yesterday and she told me about a study of telling someone what you feel in 20 seconds so I searched about it and I ended up reading your website,any way she says that doesnt necessarily means that she likes me but that doesnt make sence to me, I couldnt stop thinking about what she did that nite it happened. The next nite Iafter meeting her again by coincidence couldnt stop thinking about her. She accepted to be my friend and that was totally fine with me but I expected that she wants to be more than a friend … anyways maybe she needs another 20 seconds of courage to tell me that ! we are friends now and I think we can be really good friends I have a very good feeling about this beautiful lady.

    That is my story and it happend two days ago!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Kevin, that is so awesome! I’m glad you found the site and someone did a 20 seconds of courage thing to you. It’s amazing how that works and how it can make someone feel. I hope this 20 seconds turns out well for you.

      Oh, and congrats on growing an awesome beard.

      • Kevin

        If she havent told me about the 20 second thing , I think I would have not found about it”20 second rule”.
        Any ways as much as the 20 second courage rule will effect who do it ” which I still didn’t do it” I believe it effects the other party as well, I mean I was a total stranger to her but what she did in that 20 seconds really effected me and now I think that I really like her .

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          That’s true. It’s affects ripple onward. The other interesting tidbit is how you’ve continued to run into this person. You never would have noticed it if not for those 20 seconds of courage.

      • Kevin

        oh and Thanks for the compliment ! just wish me luck ! and I am very glad to find your site I think we can learn allot of things that we can use on our daily life in this site. Cheers !