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Not to be dramatic, but in 2011, my life changed. I didn’t have a life or death experience. I didn’t have an earth-shattering event happen to me. Instead, I watched the movie “We Bought A Zoo.”

Growing up, I would say I was an outgoing kid—I talked everyone’s ears off and I walked around with confidence and spunk. I didn’t have a care in the world. This energy continued until I hit high school. That spunk and confidence became replaced with self-confidence issues and self-consciousness. I suddenly became aware of myself and those around me.

In “We Bought A Zoo,” the main character, Benjamin Mee, and his family moved from the city and bought a zoo full of exotic animals. There is one quote from this movie that is underrated. I didn’t fully understand its importance until much after I first heard it.

Mee said, “You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

Just let that sink in. As I said, when I first heard this, it didn’t phase me at all. My first couple of high school years weren’t less awkward because of it. But something changed between my freshman year and my senior year. The quote started to change me.

Instead of hiding in an old turtle shell, I faced different situations head-on. I didn’t stagger until the influences of others. I didn’t feel the need to fit in with the other high school girls. I didn’t care about what anyone thought of me. Instead of worrying about others, I decided to take those 20 seconds and do something different. I decided to be me. Why would I allow someone to change me? Why wouldn’t I be myself?

  • Why wait for that cute guy or girl in your ward to ask you out? Why not ask him instead?
  • Why act like someone you’re not?
  • Why not share your testimony on Fast Sunday?
  • Why not apply for that internship you think you’re not good enough for?
  • Why sit in class and not participate?
  • Why not be courageous?
  • Why not have that “embarrassing bravery” as Benjamin Mee said?

Maybe I am being dramatic, or maybe I’m not. My life became better when I applied that simple movie quote into my life. I literally have based all my life decisions on those words. This quote inspired me to serve a mission, go to college and apply to work for the Scroll. Yes, it took courage and bravery for me to make those big decisions and even the small ones. But something great did come from them.

Instead of stagnating in your comfort zone, why not take “20 seconds of insane courage” and “20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery” and do what you want?


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