Last August I created the word gumptionable. Gumptionable means being 100 percent personally responsible for all your actions and interactions.
Wow! That means every single thing you say or do – you must be 100% responsible!
No blame. No excuses. No hedging. No petty criticizing. No gossip. No cover-ups. No fish stories. No lame explanations. No passing the buck. No evading. No giving the run around. No 90/10, 75/25, or even 50/50!
Only 100% responsibility for all your actions and interactions.
As a reminder, Gumptionable combines the traditional meaning of gumption (sound practical judgment; fortitude and determination) with the theory of Gumption (integrity, presence, receptiveness, choices, opportunities, adversity, and communication) to create 7 principles that lead directly to success.
Today, let’s examine principle #6 in greater detail and face adversity with courage.
How courageous are you when adversity stares you in the face?
Here are 6 quotes from the movie Forrest Gump to remind you how you can regularly Face Adversity with Courage.
- “It Happens.” You’ll remember this abbreviated quote from when Forrest ran across America. A man attempting to find a new slogan for bumper stickers runs alongside Forrest seeking his advice. The man suddenly yells, “Whoa! Man, you just ran through a big pile of dog@#it!” Forrest deadpans, “It happens.”
- “Stupid is as stupid does.” This quote is used several times in the movie as a reminder that nobody’s perfect and we need to accept our mistakes and shortcomings with humor.
- “Life is like a box of chocolates.” While I mostly associate this quote with the choices one makes, Life is like a box of chocolates is ultimately about your attitude. And you get to choose your attitude: You choose the attitude that you’ll use as you walk through life, and you choose the attitude you’ll use in the face of adversity.
- “Do the best with what God gave you.” This was Mama Gump’s advice to Forrest as she lay on her deathbed. Each of us comes with our own set of talents, special interests, and unique perspectives. Let’s just do our God-given best and assume you can actively alter adversity!
- “Stop Forrest Stop.” This is the opposite of Run Forrest Run. As Forrest was departing for Vietnam, Jenny advised, “You promise me something, okay? Just if you’re ever in trouble, don’t try to be brave, you just run, okay? Just run away.”
- “Never, ever take your eye off the ball.” This was the advice the other wounded soldier gave Forrest as he was recovering in the Army hospital. While the words were intended specifically for learning to play ping-pong, they are apropos towards life, business, and facing adversity.
So the first thing to know (and constantly remind yourself) about adversity is that it happens. Adversity is the common lot of mankind.
Mama Gump told Forrest when he was a little boy, “You’re the same as everybody else. You are no different.” Well, the fact that you face adversity every day makes you the same as everybody else. You are no different. It happens!
Are you courageous enough to accept that you’re going to step in it from time to time?
Adversity can be either something outside of our control (external factors) or something of our own doing (past mistakes). Stupid is as stupid does is a helpful way to make light of and more easily accept these things.
By taking 100% responsibility for your mistakes it becomes easy to move forward quickly. But doing so takes tenacity, determination, and guts.
Blaming or giving lame excuses or criticizing keeps us stuck without any reason to go forward. It’s expedient and easy but counter-productive.
Are you courageous enough to own the messes you’ve created?
‘It’ is going to happen, and ‘Stupid is as stupid does’ will need to be cleaned up.
What attitude are you going to adopt towards adversity? Receptive or resentful?
A receptive attitude is one in which you are able to receive, take in, or admit.
A resentful attitude is one in which you maintain (and display) the feeling of displeasure or indignation.
Are you courageous enough to just admit the existence of the adversity and to forgo being indignant?
When you stop trying to be perfect and simply do your best, an amazing thing happens – ACTION! And when you start acting, results follow. Of course they won’t be perfect results, but they will produce results.
When you aim for perfection, an amazing thing happens – NOTHING! Analysis paralysis. The aim for perfection suppresses action. And no action produces zero results … but at least you didn’t make a mistake. A perfect nothing – zilch!
Are you courageous enough to just do your best even if you have to give up being perfect?
Jenny’s advice proved perfect when bullets were being fired at him and bombs were dropping out of the sky. And for that type of adversity running still is the best advice.
But for most adversities we face in our lives, I say take the exact opposite approach. Rather than Run, simply Stop and face adversity directly.
For example, when a sales prospect throws up an objection do not run away; stop and face the objection head on. Become present to the prospect’s needs, be receptive to new ways that can close the deal, choose to see the objection as a new opportunity, and clearly communicate by listening perceptively.
Are you courageous enough to stop and face adversity? Or would you prefer to run away?
When you keep your eye on the ball, you remained focused on your goal. The big picture is always crystal clear, front and center. As adversity hits you in the face, you make adjustments, you make a new plan, you deal powerfully with the current reality and handle the setbacks – but you never, ever take your eye off the ball.
Are you courageous enough to keep your eye on the ball even when chaos is breaking out all around you?
Horace said, “It is courage, courage, courage, that raises the blood of life to crimson splendor. Live bravely and present a brave front to adversity.”
When you’re 100% responsible for all your actions and interactions, when you are gumptionable, it’s not difficult to be courageous in the face of adversity.
Are you courageous enough to be gumptionable?
Next Blog Title: Lecturing versus Loving
Next Blog Date: January 13, 2011