Thursday, June 6, 2013

20 Seconds of Insane Courage

Movies can transform you. They can change the way you see yourself and the world. One of my favorite movies is We Bought a Zoo. I love this movie! There’s a scene where the son is afraid to tell a girl he likes her and the father tells him, “All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and I promise you something great will come of it”. So simple, so profound!

I’ve used this mantra at conferences and bookstore signings. It’s so difficult to approach art directors, editors, and successful illustrators at these events. You desperately want to talk to them, to connect in some small way, but the hurdle of shyness looms large. I literally have to recite this phrase to myself before I take the leap. It works! Anyone can muster 20 seconds of courage. Remember that those people you’re afraid to talk to are just people. Most of them are incredibly friendly and generous. They share your passion for children's books. I urge you to just go for it. You can’t make connections if you never try. Be brave! And for goodness sakes, please rent this movie!


  1. YES!!! I call these Let Fly moments..just be brave and Let Fly with whatever it is you need to do! Great post!!! Sarah :)

  2. Sure smart advice, Laura! I'm super duper shy by nature so I really get by on those small bursts of bravery :)

  3. Excellent advice! I don't generally take my philosophy of life from the movies, but I have used this trick many times since I first saw this film. Though technically this is based on a true story, so I guess my pride is still intact:)

    1. It's not so bad to learn from movies. There are artists with messages who create these movies, so really it's just being inspired by art, right?

  4. Love this, Lauren and this movie!

  5. Laura, I loved reading this. I am super duper shy, and I am glad to know that I am not the only one who struggles. I love that movie too :) so I appreciate your advice :)

    Luda Kiperberg

  6. Exactly! I found myself wrestling up courage left and right at a NESCBWI conference and you are correct in saying that almost all were generous, friendly and just amazing individuals.
    You only live once, so you have to just go for it!