Move Your Mountains
“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.”
-We Bought A Zoo
One of my favorite songs is “Only a Mountain” by Jason Castro. I like mostly for the chorus. “This is only a mountain; you don’t have to find your way around it. Tell it to more, it’ll move. Tell it to fall, it’ll fall.” Then it continues to my favorite line in the song. “This is only a moment; you don’t have to let your fear control it. Tell it to move, it’ll move. Tell it to fall, it’ll fall.”
I can still remember the first time I heard that song and how long that one line stuck with me. I began to think about it whenever I encountered a situation that made me anxious. Saying hello to someone in the hallway: this is only a moment. Answering a question in class: you don’t have to let your fear control it. Ordering food in a restaurant: tell it to move, it’ll move. Eating lunch at school: tell it to fall, it’ll fall.
That simple concept gave me an insane amount of power. Once I began to think of things that seemed like big scary mountains as nothing more than moments, they didn’t seem so bad. I began to realize that most of the things that triggered my anxiety didn’t last more than a few seconds. Like ordering food, saying hello, and answering a question in class. They were just moments. Moments I was in control of.
I find this is the most efficient way to deal with my anxiety. I remind myself that I am in control. I remind myself that this may look like a mountain, but that doesn’t mean I need to be scared of it. I remind myself that this is only a moment. My fear does not have to control it. Then I take a deep breath and do whatever I need to do.
While this works great for little things, it doesn’t work with bigger stuff. Things like giving a presentation, or the first day of school, or a job interview. Those things are more than a moment and my fear is in control. Big time.
So I found another approach: the one quoted above from the movie We Bought a Zoo. There’s a scene (found here) in the movie in which the dad talks about how he used the concept of 20 seconds of insane courage to meet his wife. The 20 seconds didn’t get him through the moment, but it got him into the restaurant and to a point where he couldn’t back out.
20 seconds of insane courage gets me to the front of the classroom. 20 seconds gets me inside the building on the first day of school. 20 seconds gets me through the “nice to meet you” handshake of an interview. 20 seconds gets me through the scariest part: the beginning. Once I get past that, once I start climbing the mountain, it doesn’t seem as bad.
Nothing comes from backing out and I hate when my anxiety talks me out of doing things. Reminding myself it’s only a moment gets me through the little things and 20 seconds of insane courage gets me into the big things. Both help me remember that I am in control of the situation, and I am more powerful than my anxiety. I can tell it to move. I can tell it to fall. And it will.
If you also have times when life feels overwhelming, try these techniques. Try reminding yourself it’s only a moment and you can move it. Give yourself 20 seconds of insane courage to get started. More often than not, you’ll find you have the power to do it.
You are in control. Your fear is not. It’s only a moment. 20 seconds of insane courage. You got this.