There is a word that has been buried beneath the earth for quite some time. It's a word that describes an important part of our makeup, but it's recently gone missing.
This was brought to my attention this week when my daughter used the calculator to perform a simple calculation rather than doing it herself. Sure, this tiny device provides accurate answers and makes your student life so much easier, but what exactly does it do for students?
Then a question popped into my head…is our society collectively making life soft and easy, as we constantly seek the most pleasurable, easy experience? Are we avoiding challenges and toil for the sake of an easier life? Of course why wouldn’t we, but is this coming with a price? I compare it to going to the gym and having someone lift your weights for you so you don’t have to strain. It’s an easier path in the beginning, but we reap no long-term rewards as a result. When we are finally confronted by a challenging experience, we are weak and soft and unable to persevere through it.
I'm just as guilty as everyone else. I grew up with daily house chores that had to be completed, and on Saturdays, there was no play until all of the homework and house chores were accomplished. We just got down to work, knowing that this was a necessary part of life. However, there is no longer a list of chores on the fridge door for my children to complete before they can go outside and play. They no longer have to complete any tasks before receiving a reward; instead, they receive treats on a daily basis.
Times have changed, as they do, and knuckling down and doing the ‘hard stuff’ seems to be a thing of the past for many of us around the world, especially children. As soon as things get a little bit challenging we move on to the next job, relationship, or glossy thing that will grab our attention. We have filled our lives up with glamour and gloss and our attention will shift quickly looking for the next pleasurable thing to elevate us. We feel deprived easily and fall into a depression when the pleasure is unable to be found. There are currently 30 millions Americans on anti-depressants.
Is this partly a result of the ‘spiritual movement’? We are often told to take the path of least resistance and to flow through life with ease. All wise words for sure, but can it be taken too literally? Which brings me to the word of the week: GUMPTION
Image Credit to: GLI CHURCH PLANTING
I asked some students if they’d even heard of this word and they thought it was a cleaning product! (Well they were technically correct, as it is a cleaning product, but that’s not the gumption I was speaking of.)
Gumption is grit, guts, and strength.
The ability to overcome obstacles, put your head down and push on through the difficult challenges. This is where we find our resolve. It’s in those times that we tap into resourcefulness and inner strength. It’s in these times we embrace stoicism. Another rare word in today’s world.
Lebanese-American scholar and author of the Black Swan, Nassim Taleb, once said:
“A Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.”
Stoic: Strength Through Overwhelming Incidents of Challenge
An axe gets sharpened through the friction of grinding it against the stone. Diamonds are formed out of heat and pressure. An athlete achieves success through grit and toil.
We have a mighty strength within us that grows in those challenging times, just as your muscles grow under the duress of lifting the weights. Gumption is your teeth gritting, roaring lion of courage within you that will carry you through your next challenging experience and see you stronger and more powerful on the other side.
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