Shrewd or spirited initiative and resourcefulness. This is the definition of gumption. Our “fight” seems to be a standard measure within American culture. When the pressure comes down to the wire, how well does one respond? The outcome then becomes the result.
If one does not respond well, we assume no or little gumption for the fellow that acts so. Unworthy. If one steps up to the demand, we herald them as heroic and give positive regard. Worthy.
I have never liked any fights at any level. Physical, Mental, Emotional, or even Spiritual. While it helps to alleviate a situation, there is hardly ever a substantial long-term resolve. Wouldn’t this be the rightful outcome for any cause? If so, why don’t we have a healthier environmental infrastructure?
Some would play me off as not having any “gumption for the fight” because of my passive nature. Yet, I seek to salvage victory at subtle and profound levels that are hardly visible at the surface. My work as a fitness enthusiast has become a more compassionate role. I came into the work-force having been taught that competitiveness raises the bar and improves the people around us. At the time, I could not argue against this because a lot of the teams I was on excelled. Although, as I have worked on my own as a personal trainer, it has been revealed to me that many of us within this community are barraged with self-defeat. We’re simply taking the “fight” or “play of the fight” too seriously.
Hatred is the shrewd part of gumption. A lot of individuals choose to use this as a proper weapon of self-defense. While it is highly effective, hatred seems to come back onto us like a double-edged sword. It shocks the body back into survival mode, and it becomes physically impossible to flourish, thrive, and enjoy life. The body cannot sustain itself solely at its primitive levels of function. Constantly triggering this survival effect paralyzes us into fear, and makes for an unhealthy standard of living.
If you think the world is shrewd, I invite you forward to compassion.
Love is the spirited part of gumption. Compassion, or vulnerability, has been taught for many centuries as a weakness that can be dominated. Bravery is the virtue of success, and thus, fulfillment and ultimate safety. I would argue that bravery is not an antagonist to vulnerability, but rather, a supporting character as an open-mind to the presence of nervous feelings, rather than the absence of them.
I hope I’ve not lost you. The message I encourage is Universal. If we truly wish for safety, health, and well-being above all else, then we must work at individual levels to choose the spirited approach to gumption. Love and compassion settle the fight.
Trey Tompkins is a local resident who writes fitness columns for the Record-Herald.