Gumption

Here’s a great little excerpt from the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig regarding a word that you rarely hear anymore these days, but is familiar to “old-timers” like me – gumption. Every Christian ought to have a tank full of the stuff!

“I like the word gumption because it’s so homely and so forlorn and so out of style it looks as if it needs a friend and isn’t likely to reject anyone who comes along. It’s an old Scottish word, once used a lot by pioneers, but . . . seems to have all but dropped out of use.

“A person filled with gumption doesn’t sit around, dissipating and stewing about things. He’s at the front of the train of his own awareness, watching to see what’s up the track and meeting it when it comes.”

“If you’re going to repair a motorcycle, an adequate supply of gumption is the first and most important tool. If you haven’t got that you might as well gather up all the other tools and put them away, because they won’t do you any good.

“Gumption is the psychic gasoline that keeps the whole thing going. If you haven’t got it, there is no way the motorcycle can possibly be fixed. But if you have got it and know how to keep it, there’s absolutely no way in the whole world that motorcycle can keep from getting fixed. It’s bound to happen. Therefore the thing that must be monitored at all times and preserved before anything else is gumption.”

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