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You gotta have guts!

When I was a child milk was delivered to our door in large bottles with a round mouth. There was only one way to pour a full bottle without spilling. You had to be decisive and pour quickly. If you waffled and poured slowly the milk would dribble down the side of the bottle missing the glass. If your movement was too strong you would miss the glass.

Mom was always working and didn't have the patience to teach us such things. Having survived a war in which there were times with no food, she hated wasting anything and rather than watch with horror when we missed she would pour the milk for us.

Dad had grown up in a single-father family after losing his mother to the Spanish flu and then lived through the Great Depression and he couldn't stand wasting food either so taught us by filling an empty milk bottle with water. We'd take turns practicing with Dad leading the kids who were watching in a chant: "You gotta have guts!" He made it a game and we practiced, laughing at our failures, until the movement became natural. Then we were ready for the real thing.

We learned that there are times in life when we need to act in a courageous way and just doing it half ass won't do. In religions this is called, the leap of faith. It's a kind of trust that enables us to stop thinking of all the possibilities of what might happen, to move past the doubts of our ability to do it, and just do it. Yes, you might have failed before and you might fail again but you're willing to let go of the worries. You gotta believe!

In our excessive focus today on the power of con­scious thought and the benefits of willpower and self-control we overlook the pervasive importance of “body thinking”: quick, semiautomatic behavior that flows from the unconscious with little or no conscious interference. Sometimes we need courage and the willingness to trust that whatever happens we will be alright. You gotta have guts!

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