Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Gumption Is the New Pink!

You get the idea -- it's beating a dead horse. 
It’s a new year. Which means it’s time to make resolutions. If you don’t have one already, I earnestly suggest you make a bucket list of life. Even if it means putting ridiculous things on it like “fly to the moon” and “see if a Twinkie really is edible after 100 years”.  Thinking about 2011 resolutions led me to read mine from last year…shockingly most were unfulfilled. I was able to check a few things off like: Travel to Asia and Learn to Surf, but not really life changers. I also looked back at the “problems” I was so concerned about and noticed a pattern in my life beginning to emerge. In essence I had a breakthrough… wait for it…wait for it…okay…here it comes.

I was watching the movie The Holiday over thanksgiving break (I know this seems like a lame anecdote for a breakthrough) but stay with me. Kate Winslet plays a character stuck in a relationship where she loves someone who doesn’t love her back. Not only does he not love her back, but he keeps her on his backburner (see previous article) and causes her agonizing pain on constantly trying to please him while constantly getting her heart broken. She discovers (with the help of a wise old man – so cliché) that she is lacking GUMPTION!

I looked it up (for accuracy) and it means the following: Spirited or shrewd initiative and resourcefulness. Synonyms include amazing words like: courage, guts, bravery and common sense. These are all things that I somehow misplaced circa 2008. Right about the time I quit my corporate, fast track job and jumped on the “artist” bandwagon, I think I lost my gumption.

My new years resolution therefore is to gain it back and urge others to do the same!


In relationships we often let someone walk all over us. These are called “bad relationships” and we all have them. We have such a need to please the other person, and are so scared of losing them that we simply deal with their shit, and even start to love them for it. Like somehow we are bonding over their inability to be a real person. This is a mind game created by people who don’t know how to have real relationships.  Don’t be fooled by the rocks that they got…because they’re all in their head.

I was recently talking to a friend of mine who is stuck in the oh-so-popular back and forth “hook-up / friends with benefits / undefined” relationship with an (for lack of a better word) asshole. She constantly complains how badly he treats her but never does anything about it. The meaner he is, the more she tries. (At what age by the way do men learn this trick? It’s bad…stop). No matter how much you try to change someone they won’t. AND if they do change, it won’t be with you…it will be for the next girl. Why? Because he’s already in too deep, he already feels like an ass around you and knows that no matter what he does or doesn’t do you will come back. Solution: GUMPTION. Grow a pair, gain some self respect and leave. Run away and don’t look back. The moment you turn around you turn to salt, because that’s about how much you value your self-worth. Just like the dictionary said…common sense.


In college I interned for an Emmy-award winning producer. I only know that because she told me about it daily, and kept pictures of it on her desk. Besides having an Emmy she also had a stick up her ass. Everyday she would tell me everything I was doing wrong. She would give me work to do, and then say I did it too fast. She would give me a project and say it was too slow. She stopped giving me work to do and passed me off to others, and then yelled at me for working on other people’s projects. What did I do about this boss from hell? Nothing. She would yell at my innocent 18 year old, never had a job ass and then I would exit her office, get in my car and cry for the two-hour drive home. What I needed was gumption.

Looking back on it I should have told her to take her unpaid internship and shove it where the sun don’t shine. Honestly I can’t use her for a recommendation and now at 25 and trying to be a writer no one cares that I worked at Channel 4 San Diego (for free)! A common sense person would have weighed her options, analyzed the cost-benefit of the situation and realized that throwing a rock at her car, or leaving rotten fruit in her office would have been a better end to the summer.

So if you’re at work right now and you hate it, or you are abused or your boss makes you cry think of 2011 as your gumption year. I get it, quitting is not easy, and it’s an ugly word. But sometimes quitting is the beginning of something else, something better. Sometimes doing something scary is what gives you gumption in the first place.


I once had a roommate that slept naked, left rotten milk around, stole my clothes and would print off pictures of herself in my stolen clothes off of my computer using my ink. I should have done something about it but I didn’t. I should have dumped that rotten milk all over her naked, sleeping self! If you find yourself in this or any other bad roommate situation GUMPTION THAT!

I know someone who gets broken up with by EVERY guy she dates. GUMPTION THAT!

On New Years Eve (of this year) I lost my car keys and was left with no car, no house key, no wallet and no way to get to work. GUMPTION THAT!

Six hours ago my car died on the way home from the gym. GUMPTION THAT!

A best friend of mine once tried setting up my pseudo-boyfriend with another girl. GUMPTION THAT!

I know a girl whose boyfriend cheats on her almost monthly. GUMPTION THAT!

I had a boss once that would scream at me while I was on the phone with clients because I got his turkey sandwich order incorrect. GUMPTION THAT!



The point is that many times life sucks and bad things happen. I look back on last year’s problems and they are the same ones I have now, just insert different names and places. We need to learn to take back control of our lives, if we constantly are waiting around for our life to change, or something great to happen then we miss the journey. We can’t be bystanders in our own productions. Take the reins, decide what you can control and go after it. Don’t be afraid to say what is on your mind, to stand up for yourself and to scream to the world… Listen to ME!

COURAGE, COMMON SENSE, GUTS, NERVE and BRAVERY. Find the GUMPTION in you and see how much you’ll check off that Bucket List by 2012 (make it a lot though, because you know the world is ending that year right?).


  1. Hahaha I know what roommate you're talking about, that was an interesting situation. A little bit of gumption would've probably put her in her place ;)

  2. haha, word! I guess I could have been a little more elusive as to who I was referring...oh well! miss college :)