Sunday, July 15, 2012

Gumption..what is it and how does it help us succeed?

 WikiDictionary describes gumption as: 

gumption (uncountable)
  1. Energy of mind and body, enthusiasm.  
  2. Boldness of enterprise; initiative or aggressiveness, guts; spunk; initiative.gumph chutzpah
Think about the successful people you admire. Chances are, that they have guts-initiative to just "go for" something they really want. Sure, talent is a factor, but to go beyond that point where talent is not enough-to get out there and show the world what your special skills are regardless of whether you'll fail or not is the key.

Margaret Mitchell, author of the highly successful novel Gone with the Wind wrote:
"If the novel has a theme it is that of survival," wrote Mitchell when Gone With the Wind was published. "What makes some people able to come through catastrophes and others, apparently just as able, strong and brave, go under? It happens in every upheaval. Some people survive; others don't. What qualities are in those who fight their way through triumphantly that are lacking in those who go under...? I only know that the survivors used to call that quality 'gumption.' So I wrote about the people who had gumption and the people who didn't."

 So, if gumption is the key to success, then knowing that, why do so many people fail in what they set out to do? Whether it be in relationships, business, hobbies, or financial situations?

There is also such a thing as a "Gumption Trap". Wikipedia describes it as:
A gumption trap is an event or mindset that can cause a person to lose enthusiasm and become discouraged from starting or continuing a project. The word "gumption" denotes a combination of commonsense, shrewdness, and a sense of initiative.
Although the last of these traits is the primary victim of the "gumption trap," the first two suffer indirectly in that a reduction in initiative results in a reduction in constructive activity and therefore inhibits one's development of the first two traits. The "trap" portion of the term refers to the negative feedback loop that the event or mindset creates: That the reduction in the person's enthusiasm and initiative decreases both the person's likelihood of success in that project and the degree of success likely (thus doubly affecting the expected outcome of the person's efforts). The usual result, whether a mere lack of success or instead an outright failure complete with embarrassment and loss of the resources initially invested, further discourages the person.
Personally I think we could all use more gumption. We all have hopes, dreams, projects, or relationships we want to pursue and there's a lot to be said for getting over that initial hump vs the alternative of sitting back and letting the world run you down.
"It is very easy to forgive others their mistakes; it takes more grit and gumption to forgive them for having witnessed your own". ~Jessamyn West

So true.


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