Have you ever had something that you knew deep down in your soul that you just had to do? And when you finally said it out loud it just felt right? And from that moment on, there was no turning back? You were going to do it if it killed you. You became infected with the idea. You had the gumption to see it through.
American Gumption is that deep-seated project that has captured my heart and soul. I can not not do this. It’s my story. It’s the story of the American Dream. It’s the story of every entrepreneur and business owner across America. It is YOUR story.
American Gumption is the story of ordinary people doing both ordinary and extraordinary things. It’s the store of ordinary people doing little things and big things. It’s the story of Americans (and world dwellers) living their lives with Gumption.
American Gumption is the story of perseverance, moxie, determination, common sense, resourcefulness, guts, initiative, cleverness, ability, courage, spunk, daring, shrewdness, backbone, and grit.
In early 2019, I heard a news story. It sounded like every other news story I’ve been hearing for years. The mass mob in the news media was talking about the crisis of the day. I realized then that 95% of what they decided was important and urgent, had little to no effect on me or almost everyone I interacted with on a daily basis. There was a great disconnect between what news people said was important and what average Americans dealt with on a daily basis. Average Americans have to deal with important things like doing their jobs, taking care of their families, participating within their communities, and doing all the little, mundane things that allow them to live their lives in a kind, helpful, and loving way.
The news media – by contrast – stresses the negative and chaotic stories. The train wrecks. Fires. Murders. All real. All tragic. But hardly anything that affects 99.99% of the people.
It was at that moment that I asked myself, ‘Where are all the good stories?’ I wondered if people would like to hear stories of goodness? Stories of struggle with happy endings? Stories of regular people living their lives with gumption and succeeding at living the American Dream?
And so it began – the American Gumption Project was born.
It was at that moment that I knew I wanted (needed) to go on the road and find those people and tell their stories. It was at the moment that I knew what I had to do. There was no turning back. I could not not do it.
A year earlier I had begun downsizing my life in Montana. I started getting rid of vehicles and equipment and stuff I had accumulated but was rusting and collecting dust. It was stuff that at one point in my life seemed important but like the news of the day, it just no longer connected with who I was – and more importantly – who I wanted to be.
It was at that moment that I decided to sell everything else, make my life simpler, and go on the road to find the heart and soul of ordinary Americans. It was then that I knew what I had to do. There was no turning back.
For me to do what I wanted (needed) to do, I had to start living my life with gumption. To tell the stories of average Americans living their lives with Gumption, I had to start living my life with Gumption.
You may have noticed that I’ve used both Gumption and gumption in this article. Capital G and small case g – Gumption and gumption. I pretty well defined gumption in paragraph 4 of this article. Capital G Gumption is the taking personal responsibility for your thoughts, actions, and interactions with others. Gumption (I.e. Personal responsibility) has been the message I’ve delivered to hundreds of groups as a speaker over the last 10+ years.
So now it’s time to take that message of Gumption on the road and listen to ordinary Americans tell their stories of Gumption and gumption. It’s the American Dream.
In the movie Forrest Gump, Forrest ran across America for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days and 16 hours. It’s now my turn to drive across America. At this point both the journey and destination are to be determined. The time frame is also uncertain, but my best guess is 4 to 7 years.
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