Gumption is the gasoline of man’s life. It is the get-up-and-go, the stick-to-it-iveness, and the knocked-down-twice, stand-up-thrice fire inside you. If you run out of it, things will head south very quickly. You must cultivate this gumption, nurture it, and encourage it to grow. Every man possesses by nature a certain rate of gumption replenishment, which rate may be modified by nurture. As you nurture your rate of gumption replenishment, you will also tend to develop in parallel the ability to store more of it. I know of at least two ways to develop gumption:
Beware this caveat pertaining to gumption and character!
Wiser and more experienced writers than Bro Kaizen are considering Deliberate Practice, about which topic we began harping earlier this week. Here’s perhaps the pithiest example of DP yet—this is the whole thing in a nutshell.
If you’re overweight, you don’t earn physical fitness by spending three days doing a cardio circuit with your roomate, two days following a diet that your girlfriend invented, four days with Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength, and then going to sit on the couch. A piecemeal (and half-heartedly implemented) approach like that is destined to fail.
But fear not—there is a better way:
Out of the box, you will suck at a lot of things. It is your job to regard this as a temporary state of affairs that you can consciously take steps to fix.
This blog serves several purposes:
- With any luck, this exercise will manufacture new ideas, following Paul Graham’s (persuasive) claim that
“Writing doesn’t just communicate ideas; it generates them. If you’re bad at writing and don’t like to do it, you’ll miss out on most of the ideas writing would have generated.”
Napoleon said something like (paraphrasing aggressively here), “The results of every battle are determined ahead of time by the geography, weather, and factors pertaining to the supply of war materiel.”
This notion of meta-factors’ outsized importance also applies to studying, especially in college.