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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Have You Got Gumption?

“Only two things you ignore: things that aren’t important and things you wish weren’t important, and wishing never works.” (David Shore) – from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

This saying is particularly applicable in life if you substitute the words “put off” for the word ignore. It seems somehow falsely comforting to put off things that we really don’t want to do or face. There are meetings we really don’t want to have with people that we really don’t want to see to discuss topics that we really don’t want to talk about. So we put them off. We wish that they would go away, but they never do.

The real irony is that those meetings never turn out to be as bad as we imagined them to be when we were putting them off. That person whom you were sure would get upset and mad at what you had to say might just as easily say, “Oh, OK.” And let it go at that. Then you will have wasted a lot of energy and time worrying about a non-event. That tend to happen to me from time to time. I think it is the result of an over-active imagination that dreams up all sorts of scenarios that are really improbable, but which capture my thought process and consume lots of wasted energy. Does that ever happen to you?

I suspect that another saying from Jack’s Winning Words also applies to this issue – 

 “Everyone who has gumption knows what it is, and anyone who hasn’t can never know what it is, so there’s no need of defining it.” (L.M. Montgomery)

Well, I did look up the meaning, according to Webster’s dictionary –

GUMPTION -

Pronunciation: (gump'shun)

—n. Informal.

1. initiative; aggressiveness; resourcefulness: With his gumption he'll make a success of himself.

2. courage; spunk; guts: It takes gumption to quit a high-paying job.

3. common sense; shrewdness.

 
We don’t use that word very often. Maybe it’s because so few of us really have gumption. I think if there were more gumption around there would be less putting off of things, especially things we’d rather not face.  It certainly appears that our legislative leaders in Washington lack gumption when dealing with almost anything, especially fiscal issues these days.

I don’t think there are any gumption self-help books or gumption coaches around to help us find or get gumption; so most of us seem destined to go through life with little to no apparent gumption. Maybe, however, that if we focus upon the third definition from the list above (at least the “common sense” part) we’ll find that we have enough gumption to get by in life. So, show your gumption today and tackle those things that you’ve been putting off.

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