“Gumption” is by far one of the oldest words I heard growing up. “You need gumption if you plan on making it!” or “Where is your gumption!?” or “Where is your oomph!?”. This word, these words never meant anything to me until my back was against the wall.
There is only one universal truth. “Shit ain’t gonna always be good!” Life is always and consistently balancing itself out. It is the nature of the universe to seek out and obtain equilibrium. We are a part of that universe.
So when I wake up every morning, I remember that stupid word my grandmother would say to me when she would really want to call me a “lazy-good-for-nothing” [your choice of expletive]. I remember the need for that “gumption” when I reflect on the times when all I had was gumption. When I was unemployed and had to live on workers’ comp. When the numbers didn’t add up but I was still forced to find a way. The ultimate test in life is when the shit hits the fan and you have to stand on your own two feet. When you have to swallow that pride and do what you don’t want to do for those you have in your charge. When you know that failure cannot be an option because failure is death.
Six years ago, I was unemployed for four months. Four months of living off the gubment teat. Four months of waking up and applying for jobs and checking my rejections. Four months of spreading that dollar to it’s fullest and explaining to creditors that I just didn’t have it. I had two job offers: one I didn’t want but would take and one I wanted. I woke up early Tuesday morning to a dreary cloudy morning. I had made it up in my mind that enough was enough. I called the first job. they kindly told me that I wasn’t offered the position. Despite not really wanting the job, my feelings were hurt. I called my mom. She said just call the other job. I started to call but before I did, I stopped. I went into a weird trance as I looked into the future. (Stay with me!🤯🧙🏾♂️) As I looked into the future, into the phone call there was nothing. There literally was no future; there was emptiness. I came out knowing that if this job said no then I would die. (Dramatic I know but truth💀) I called and they said, “Mr. Ansari, I was just about to call you. You’re hired!”
So many of us either lack gumption or misunderstand gumption. You have to do something, not just think about it. Not just talk about it. Not just plan it. You have to get off your ass and get to work. Nobody owes you anything. Nobody is responsible for you, or your happiness, and ultimately, no one cares what you do. The great doers of the world are not sitting around wondering about what you’re not doing. They’re planning and positioning for their next move. They’re remembering that dreary foggy Tuesday morning and running from it everyday. They’re remembering when they had nothing and pushing the boundaries of success even further.
If that’s what they’re doing, what are you doing? Maybe it’s not an event for you. Maybe it’s a moment. Find your springboard and get to jumping. Like the little boy said in Forrest Gump, “you can’t sit here!” I didn’t want to anyway! (You little bastard!🖕🏾).
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