You’re faced with a huge project. Or you’re trying to face one. Fear is eating at your gut. The saying now goes: No gut. Nothing to follow. But you try your hardest to not let it.
Gumption isn’t so much about putting up a fight with fear and pressing forward; actions and emotions are only half of it. The first half is having a project for fear to work on.
For me, I’m putting together a team to make ideas happen, for Robert Pirsig, it’s repairing a motorcycle, for you it may be starting a blog, showcasing your art, deploying a new business strategy, deploying a new business, talking to people who are different from you, or simply tackling the list of to-do’s you’ve put off.
Gumption isn’t associated with the tough decisions you hear CEO’s having to make, nor is it connected to those wearing hooverflags. No. Gumption doesn’t follow guidelines, restrictions, or limits. It doesn’t care how you were raised, what school you went to, or whether you skipped breakfast or not.
L. M. Montgomery said, “Anyone who has gumption knows what it is, and anyone who hasn’t can never know what it is. So there is no need of defining it.”
I suppose Maud never tried repairing a motorcycle. But now, everyone has to repair a motorcycle at some point during their life… or at least something similar to repairing a motorcycle.
Puzzling to acknowledge is that there are a lot more meaningful predicaments similar to repairing a motorcycle than not. Pirsig would agree with me that, yes, repairing a motorcycle takes courage, spunk, guts, initiative, aggressiveness, and a high altitude of resourcefulness.
It also takes fear and dances with it. When you go to repair a motorcycle, you know you’re going to have one hell of a time. Bolts won’t fit, parts will be stripped, dents will be accidentally made, you’ll have to repeat tasks, and – my favorite part – you will deviate from instructions.
If you ask me, Maud was partially right. Gumption can’t be defined.
However, it can be felt.
“I like the word ‘gumption’ because it’s so homely and so forlorn and so out of style it looks as if it needs a friend and isn’t likely to reject anyone who comes along. I like it also because it describes exactly what happens to someone who connects with Quality. He gets filled with gumption.
A person filled with gumption doesn’t sit around dissipating and stewing about things. He’s at the front of the train of his own awareness, watching to see what’s up the track and meeting it when it comes. That’s gumption.
If you’re going to repair a motorcycle, an adequate supply of gumption is the first and most important tool. If you haven’t got that you might as well gather up all the other tools and put them away, because they won’t do you any good.”
― Robert M. Pirsig
Stay Positive & Go Find Your Motorcycle
Garth E. Beyer