What sources for inspiration for courage can you think of?
March 29, 2010 12:35 PM   Subscribe

What sources for inspiration for courage can you think of?

I have a serious crush on guy who lives in the same hall as me, and as much as I hate mundane relationship questions on AskMeFi, yes it has come to this. The problem is that I, someone who is never shy about things and always goes after what she wants, am at a loss for the courage to do something about my crush. So now I'm looking for stories, movies, music that help you to feel inspired when you are looking for the courage to do something that you care a lot about yet feel a little intimidated by.
Also accepted in this post: sweet and not 'in your face' ways of telling a shy guy you like him/asking him out.
posted by hipersons to Society & Culture (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Don't know about the stories, movies, music, etc, but speaking as a sometimes shy guy, how about, "I like you. Do you want to go out some time?" If he's shy he might appreciate you being direct with him.
posted by squawk at 12:56 PM on March 29, 2010

Best answer: Do you know him yet? I like to psych myself up with the song "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads. I don't know why that particular song helps, other than maybe the sorta message about not wanting to end up wondering what you did with your life, but it seems to work a bit for me.
I would suggest asking him to hang out one-on-one rather than telling him you like him right off the bat (unless y'all already hang out alone). It's easier to ease into things and get your courage up to do that than it is to straight up tell him you have a crush on him.
posted by ishotjr at 1:06 PM on March 29, 2010

The trick is to not treat it like it’s a huge burden and a big deal to ask them out. I heard a TSOYA interview with the actress who plays Pam talking about going on auditions, and how one of her coaches said she needed to collect 50 no’s before she could even begin to consider quitting, so she didn’t feel every rejection individually but as a drop in the giant no bucket. This has helped me in the approaching people department.
posted by edbles at 1:08 PM on March 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Randy Pausch if you want to get inspired (Last Lecture)
posted by stormpooper at 1:08 PM on March 29, 2010

Best answer: Well, what gets my psyched up about crushes is usually music. I like The Tide Is High by Blondie.

"I'm not the kind of girl who gives up like that, oh nooooo".

(FWIW, I'm a female in my 20s.)
posted by too bad you're not me at 1:15 PM on March 29, 2010

Best answer: In no particular order:

1. Defying Gravity (from Wicked) (lyrics):

"Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!"

2. Neil Gaiman had that wonderful story in Sandman about the guy who dreams about climbing a mountain and always wakes up right as he starts to fall. Finally, he manages to stay and see what happens next:

"Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly."

3. I have a poster up on my wall of this poem by Charles Bukowski:

"your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you."

I have a stack of spare posters of it, somewhere. If I can find them, I'd be happy to send one to you.

4. This comic strip from a softer world: "Death is coming and we've been making charts, wasting time."

5. This comic strip from xkcd: Regrets.

6. The Summer Day by Mary Oliver:

"Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?"

7. A friend of mine had a homework assignment in business school that she insisted I do with her - we went around collecting as many NOs as possible for a month.

When you start looking at it that way, it becomes astonishingly difficult to get a NO in response to any question, no matter how you try. You find yourself asking for everything you want, pushing yourself in the attempt to collect NOs. Along the way, you get far more YESes than you can possibly imagine, and you learn how to gracefully accept the NOs when they come.

Seriously, it was one of the most valuable experiences of my life. I've tried very hard to keep approaching the world that way, even now that I'm no longer keeping count of my NOs and trying to beat her number for the month.

8. One of my favorite books in the world, The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt. (No, it has absolutely nothing to do with the movie with that title.)

One of the themes in the book revolves around the protagonist, a boy named Ludo, trying to figure out who his father was. He approaches all these men who could have been his father but weren't, and gets to know them. One of them is Red Devlin, a writer whose talent was for "making outrageous demands which people found impossible to refuse".

Pages 245-248 of the book explain how he does it: He asks, someone says no, and then he says: "Oh go on" and the person invariably responds with some variant of "Oh all right then". The trick is that he appeals to people's better nature and convinces them to do the right thing, the thing they know they ought to do but think they somehow can't.

For example, he wants to help a couple adopt a Romanian child. Getting the papers turns out to be difficult. As the story goes:

"Sure you can, said Red Devlin. Anyone can say it, but Red Devlin really believed it, and every time he said it people who had only been doing their job stopped doing their job."

Sometimes I think my goal in life is to be just like Red Devlin and say "Oh go on" and "Sure you can" to people until they believe me and go on and do whatever it is.

It's an amazing book.

9. tl;dr version: As for the guy who lives in your hall - oh go on. Just tell him you're interested, and ask him out. Sure you can.
posted by Eshkol at 1:47 PM on March 29, 2010 [12 favorites]

Best answer: COURAGE WOLF
posted by signalnine at 2:29 PM on March 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Missed one! (I might keep doing this. Um.)

10. Another asofterworld comic: "I called my therapist yesterday, in a panic. I said, 'what if the sky falls again?' and she said, 'well, what if you fall in love?'"

That comic strip got me a girlfriend once. Honest. No kidding. (Sort of.) It came up as a random wallpaper on my laptop as we were googling for something together (salt mines in Poland, I think) and she got all teary-eyed and looked at me and, well, I'll cue a nice romantic blur past what happened next.
posted by Eshkol at 2:31 PM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

There was a great talk that MeFi's own Adam Savage gave at some Maker Faire about how many times he's failed. It's a good talk about this in general, but the thing I remember is more specific than that.

I believe in response to someone's question he says, very simply, that when he wants something he asks for it. How else can he have the possibility of getting it? Now, this could be pretty personal to me because Adam has been a sort of demi-hero to me. Demi because, while Adam's smarts are definitely well above average, he's not Bertrand Russel or Camille Paglia or someone else just lightyears beyond my own capabilities. He's gotten where he is (in my allegorical perception) through character and hard work, and, of course, by asking for what he wanted. I try to do that too,.
posted by cmoj at 2:58 PM on March 29, 2010

Best answer: Tank Man in Tiananmen Square is my shorthand for courage.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 5:55 PM on March 29, 2010

Best answer: maya angelou's phenomenal woman
posted by jus7brea7he at 5:59 PM on March 29, 2010

Response by poster: Yes, we know each other quite well. The whole thing is complicated by the fact that we're good friends and we hang out for hours each day. And that his friends have figured out that I have crush on him (and are rooting for me, apparently). FWIW I'm in my late 20s.

Adding some ideas of my own.
Let Go by Frou Frou
Garden State
posted by hipersons at 5:31 AM on March 30, 2010

Response by poster: Link to Adam's talk:

Link to the Last Lecture:
posted by hipersons at 5:35 AM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

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