Every now and then I choose a word to guide me through the next few months of life.

I choose a word that offers inspiration, a word that resonates with what I’m trying to achieve. This month my word is Gumption.

I love the word gumption not just because it originates from 18th century Scotland, and I was born there, but also because of what it means. The dictionary definition states that a person with gumption is shrewd, spirited and resourceful.

I believe everyone has a dose of gumption. Some of us just need a bit of help finding and owning our gumption and letting it surface in our life. Many of our teenage children need our guidance to help them realise that they too have a good dose of gumption.

There are many qualities one needs to be successful in life and new reports are being written every day. I would like to share with you the latest findings by Angela Lee Duckworth of the University of Pennsylvania, Psychology Department. She has analysed successful people of all ages, from different walks of life to underpin what makes them successful. The study results show that all successful people share one critical thing – she calls it grit – I call it gumption! Here are a few examples of how people with gumption think, talk and behave:

1    They freely make mistakes and try again and again.

2    They don’t worry about what other people think.

3    They laugh at themselves.

4    Their mantra is: ‘every master was once a disaster’

5    They keep going even when exhausted.

6    They do the things they don’t want to do.

7    They manage their moods and emotions, keeping negativity at bay.

8    They trust their gut instinct.

9    They give more than they expect in return.

10  They understand the importance of delayed gratification.

11  They lead even when no one is willing to follow.

12  They focus on the job at hand.

13  They take responsibility for their actions and outcomes.

14  They don’t quit.

If we all make a choice to do one of these things every day, we can build up our own gumption and take on everything life throws our way!

What do you think gives a person gumption? Share with us in the comments.

  • Good read !
    I think what a person gives gumption is the ability to use your brain in a healthy no-nonsense way, practical thinking and resilience.

    • Yes, that’s true. And some people, from an early age, are taught and encouraged to be self sufficient. Others find it within themselves and choose to be. Mindset definitely has a huge impact.


  • I sometimes wonder why some people have motivation/gumption/resilience and some people don’t. It would be interesting to see why this is.

    • It is an interesting area to study and there is plenty of studies and research on this topic which are worth looking at for more information. I do love to follow up on articles that interest me for further and more comprehensive information.

      • There are many factors that affect why (or why not) a person has more gumption /resilience/ motivation than another. We are all influenced by our parents, teachers, beliefs, habits etc…
        What is true is that we cannot change the past, but more exciting than that is that we can create our own future. We can learn to be more resilient, we can decide to have gumption, we can choose to grow.


  • A good article on gumption and Initiative and Endurance is definitely a part of having gumption.


  • Love all the qualities you listed! Thanks!

    • Pleased you found it worthwhile, thanks.


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