1/3rd of a minute.
1/4320th of a day.
Today I’m going to issue a challenge, and it will only require 20 seconds. Sure, twenty seconds doesn’t seem like a lot of time. But I’ve come to learn that when it comes to getting healthy, taking risks, and living a life worth living, twenty seconds is often more than enough to change one’s life.
Right now you probably think I’m crazy. Which is fine, because I definitely AM crazy.
But I’m also right, and I’m going to prove it.
Two weeks ago, I was in Brazil for Carnival, and my friend Chris brought up the concept of “20 seconds of courage.”
He had just recently watched the movie, We Bought a Zoo (which I’ve since watched and really enjoyed), in which Matt Damon’s character meets his wife by mustering up the strength for a mere 20 seconds of courage to talk to her…despite being a complete nervous wreck before and after. Had he never taken those 20 seconds to step outside of his comfort zone, he never would have met the love of his life.
Last week I randomly made a comment on twitter about series of books I used to read as a kid, Redwall. If you’re not familiar, these fantastic books are basically epic fantasy novels, but with mice, foxes, weasels, and eagles. I received a crazy number of responses, but there was one comment by my friend Reese that immediately started turning the gears in my head:
You see, Lord Urthstripe was the (badger) lord of an epic mountain under attack. At one point in the book, Urthstripe flips on his “bloodwrath” switch, and goes into a super invincible, crazy badger attack mode…obviously laying waste to all of his enemies in the process.
Hopefully by now, you DEFINITELY think I’m crazy, but I swear there’s a point to be made here. The idea of “bloodwrath” got me thinking that this concept was just like “20 seconds of courage” or even the ”Berserker” mode that old Norse Warriors would enter before going to battle:
Berserkers were Norse warriors who are reported in the Old Norse literature to have fought in a nearly uncontrollable, trance-like fury, a characteristic which later gave rise to the English word berserk. Most historians believe that berserkers worked themselves into a rage before battle.
If you’ve ever played ANY video game, you’re probably well aware that the concept of a “temporary power up” is an important part of nerd history.
And it hit me: If Lord Urthstripe could have his Bloodwrath, Norse Warriors their Berserker mode, and Matt Damon his “20 seconds of courage,” why can’t I have a Berserker Mode of my own?
And why can’t you?
Now, a real life application of Bloodwrath/Berserker mode might be slightly different than described above; we’re not gonna send you into battle, and we’re not expecting you to fill yourself with so much rage that you black out.
Instead, your twenty seconds will help you overcome real, everyday barriers:
Chinese philosopher Laozi once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Well, a life where you actually get what you want and deserve begins with 20 seconds of courage. Make the step. Approach that girl/guy. Sign up for that club/class/speaking engagement.
True story: I am TERRIFIED of public speaking. I literally have to look into a mirror and give myself a pep talk before I go out on stage, whether it’s at Google, TEDx, or a classroom of college kids. However, once I get through my Berserker Mode of 20 seconds, I find that everything else becomes so much easier.
I guarantee in EACH AND EVERY ONE of the instances above, that thing you’re afraid of is much less complicated, scary, or difficult than you’re making it out to be. So don’t worry about the task or your fears.
Just focus on your 20 seconds of courage.
“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“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.” – Matt Damon in We Bought a Zoo
Today, I’m laying down the gauntlet.
I’m issuing a challenge to myself, and I want you to join me.
I am challenging us to implement 20 seconds of Berserker Mode every day, in some way. Try:
And so on!
Do you have a “20-second” mode?
What do you call it?
What kind of things are you capable of in those 20 seconds?
We’ve created a new thread on the NF Message Boards in the Woot Room where you can share your 20-second Berserker Mode success stories. And I want to hear about it!
BEAST MODE: ACTIVATED
Who’s with me?!!?