How to be Brave

I love this video because it shows something you rarely see: the anatomy of a courageous moment.

Improvement isn’t just about getting better — it’s also about getting braver. It’s about encountering thresholds, and taking big, scary steps across them; it’s about jumping into uncharted territory where you don’t know if you’re going to fly or flop. This girl, who’s in the fourth grade, is experiencing the same kind of moment that happens on a theater stage, or on an athletic field or in an office, and she gets past it with a great bit of strategy.

  • First, positivity. She assures herself that she’s going to do it, and she’s going to be fine.
  • Second, simplicity. She’s not caught up in remembering a bunch of stuff, but focuses on two things. (Go straight. Don’t snowplow.)
  • Third, a reference point. She reminds herself that this is like what she’s done before, just a little bigger.

It’s a good combination — a nifty three-step program for getting past a threshold — and shows us the old truth: courage isn’t about transcending fear; it’s about dealing with it and moving forward anyway.