An actress turned writer, Ruth Gordon was familiar with courage as a perpetual exercise. After a Broadway debut and a handful of successful films in the 1940s, she took a 22-year absence from movies, preferring the visceral courage of stage acting. After marrying screenwriter Garson Kanin, Gordon dove into new territory once again by collaborating with him on screenplays, netting several Oscar nominations. When she did return to the screen, her quirky characters — in films like “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Harold and Maude” — made her a cult favorite. Gordon’s commitment to new ventures inspires us to embrace unfamiliar experiences: The more we do, the less frightening they’ll be, and the more we can grow.