We Bought a Zoo is one of those heart-warming family films that captures the importance of taking chances and embodying courage. A father is stricken with grief at the recent passing of his wife. And after losing his job, he sells the house and packs up his two children to move to a zoo. Crazy, right? The home he’s interested in comes with a broken-down zoo that’s surviving on a few remaining staff. Wanting to create a new beginning, the father decides to buy the house and re-open the zoo. But despite his attempts to create an adventurous life, the zoo is declining and his children are unhappy.
In one particular scene, the father finds his son sitting alone. The son reveals that he’s reluctant to take chances because he’s afraid of failure. Smiling, the father replies, “All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. And I promise you, something amazing will come of it.” His advice is simple but yet so profound.
Regardless of our journey, we all can resonate with the son in the film. We’re afraid to take risks that may result in a possible negative outcome. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to put yourself out there, only to fail or receive rejection. Fear of failure is a toxic venom that seeps into our veins and poisons our desire and ability to succeed. At some stage in our lives, we’ve all succumbed to fear; and as a result, it’s possible we’ve lost an opportunity for success.
Facing Our Fears
How do we fight our fears? The answer is simple – we face them. Perhaps this is a response you hear often and is a bit mundane, but there’s a lot of truth in it. It’s still challenging for me to accept the fact that as humans, we fail . . . A LOT! As a perfectionist, I strive to be the best, and if I feel like I won’t succeed in something, I won’t make an attempt. However, this approach prevents one from numerous opportunities, as well as room for growth. Without failure, we become too comfortable with the easy choice. If we don’t seek the courage to try, we are already failing ourselves. Life is about taking chances, and understanding that sometimes we won’t always succeed and that’s okay.
If you struggle with the word failure, remind yourself of these words:
“All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage to accomplish something great.”
Repeat these words over and over again if necessary. We all have something that appears intimidating; maybe that means facing a fear, scoring a job interview, or traveling abroad solo. An important part of succeeding is trying. If you take that challenging first step, progress and possible success will come of it.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, NIV).
Madeleine Lowe writes from the midwest.
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