“A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves obscure men whose timidity prevented them from making a first effort.” — Sydney Smith (British writer and cleric)

How tragically true. But easy to say. How do you summon the courage? For that I love the following quote. The answer is, it doesn’t take much.

From the movie, We Bought a Zoo: “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.”

Take a deep breath, dive in, and then hang in there for twenty seconds. Twenty measly seconds. I look back on every time I’ve had to face my fears to do something and the scary part is over so quickly. Then you are on your way, acting, doing. You don’t always succeed but failure feels a lot better than not trying at all. (By the way, I believe I got that first quote from Criminal Minds which I am still watching. Apparently I am not ready to let go of the characters.)

A Christmas tree on Charles Street. Every year they do something beautiful on those steps.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

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