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The requested Gumption

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I have been asked just where you buy this precious commodity, so here is the answer, you can get it right here on the forum and it's free! My article has been posted before but for those who are interested, here it is again. Hope you enjoy it.


Gumption Traps


Gumption’s great! Lots of folk have loads of it, some have none.

It’s essential, it’s something money can’t buy and it’s immensely valuable.

The word “gumption” is Scottish. I think it’s a lovely word. It sounds kind of old-fashioned and has none of the feelings associated with our modern hectic world.

If you look it up in the dictionary, it gives a meaning: “Drive and Initiative”. I think those words sound a little wrong, it’s more akin to “common sense”. I myself prefer to use that good old original word: gumption.

You don’t just automatically have this stuff. Gumption is like a reservoir. You start off with a little and by playing your cards right you may gain a little bit more. Once you are all topped up with gumption you can tick along quite nicely.

I should say at this point that I must be the world’s leading expert in just how NOT to build up “gumption reserve”; that is, I’m an expert on “gumption traps”.

Over the years, my wife Kay and I completely rebuilt our own home. I am not a builder and have always prided myself on an ability to have drive and initiative. I thought I could easily turn my hand to just about anything. You could call that “gumption”. With me, it was better described as being “too big for my boots”. (As Carol now constantly reminds me, “Well your a man!” as if I needed reminding!)

Over the years working on the house, I have fallen countless times into many gumption traps. Moments of total despair. Quite the opposite of what I really needed.

For example, years ago when I first started, I thought the art of wallpapering was hereditary. As children, it was always my mum who seemed so effortlessly to throw wallpaper at a wall and, in the twinkling of an eye, end up with a first class professional look. It had never crossed my mind that you actually had to learn to wallpaper!

I threw myself at the job. I can see that glossy brochure even now and just how much I believed, with a couple of hours work, that I too would be able to impress all my friends.

You can imagine the result. It was an expensive paper. I wasted loads. What’s worse, the finished job looked absolutely terrible.

That’s the gumption trap. It’s that moment when you hurl your new laptop computer in despair off the top of the nearest high cliff. Or, when constructing flatpack furniture, you follow everything in the instructions to the very letter, only to find right at the end that not only have you constructed it incorrectly but you are now going to have to start all over again... It’s that terrible moment of “Grrrrrrrrr”! This is definitely not very good for you!

A ship’s engineer I used to work with was a master of the proper art of gumption. Like everyone, he too always ran into problems. Unlike many of us, he simply stopped, had a cup of tea and, more importantly, a think. We all make mistakes. He, however, had this canny way, by stopping and working on a solution in his mind of coming up with a plan. An almost miraculous way of effortlessly fixing things. He was never cross, never rushed, he was just plodding along sorting things out. Fantastic!

Sounds familiar? Well, having meet many of you, I now realise you seem to have excellent levels of this gumption. I know it’s a case of having it too, yet it would be interesting to learn just how you acquired it. It’s very impressive and, even after I discovered my own MS, I suspect I am still getting more “Grrrrrrrrr’s” than many of you.

With MS, the drive and initiative required is of a special type. For a start, it’s best stated the other way around: initiative and drive. The initiative is the development of an understanding on how to work with your MS. The drive is most certainly not the corporate type! No, this drive means being able to “not give up”, I think “pace” might be a better description. Yes indeed, a special type of common sense.

Perhaps some of you with experience would like to give training courses in Gumption!

We could all become Gumptionologists! It’s definitely an essential tool for handling MS. It’s noticeable that it’s not something that gets prescribed or described by any of the professionals. It’s also interesting to realise that an “attitude” would appear to help control this neurological condition.

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Just another Warrior...........

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Thankfully my wife is blessed with gumption by the barrow load. Me myself?.......a wee bit!

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I think i have "some" Gumption, my problem is the void between having it and having the effort to put it into practise.



*A Christmas Carole*

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Recognising when you DON'T have it is my problem!!............(still)



Just another Warrior...........

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Thanks for this interesting idea, Nick. Yes we definitely need gumption! I'm a Lancashire lass & lived there for over 20 years - the dry humour is definitely a plus. My gumption levels fluctuate too. One thing that helps is being thankful and focussing on what you CAN do. (then having a rest!J

Jill x

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