Who hasn't heard the supposedly inspirational phrase "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take" at least one point in their life? I know I was told this many many times as a child while being prodded to do everything from ballet to rock climbing. I think back on all of the things I would have missed out on if my parents had just let me wuss out throughout my childhood. Yes, sometimes we will still miss 100% of the shots we do take, but at least we'll get a bit of an arm workout in the process. While you may walk away from your failed attempts with a bruised ego, you will have rock hard deltoids.
Now, I am not looking for any positive affirmation, because I truly do know my limitations. I'm a terrible bowler. I am not really that funny. I can't draw a straight line to save my life. I am super shy. I can only play the trumpet mediocrely. I've got naturally boring brown hair and brown eyes. I will almost always be in last place playing mario kart, after driving backwards about 3 minutes. One thing I can say for myself is that I will try. Even when I know that failure is not only plausible but nearly inevitable, I will do all that I can to at least attempt. I do not let fear stop me. It isn't that I am not easily scared... sometimes just thinking about things I have to do raises my heartrate about 500 bpm. It is that I am able to put this behind me and keep trucking.
The thought of flying into Portland by myself this last weekend was frankly terrifying. I had never been there before, and had to use public transportation to get everywhere that first day. Now, where I'm from, you can get shot just looking at a light rail. But I did it. I bought myself special 3 dollar de-stress water, I found my way, I carried my 3.4 ton backpack alone around the city for 6 hours and I showed up at the end of the day alive and with some new friends (that's you Bruce and Sugar)
I think back on even just the past few months. If I had let every fear of failure, embarrassment, or injury hold me back, I wouldn't have done anything. But I didn't. So what if you know you're going to lose the game, or if he doesn't like you back, or if you know you're just going to look like a dork? Bravery is knowing you're probably going to fail, but trying anyway in hopes that one freak shot towards the basket will go in.