See Robert Pirsig’s definition of gumption from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance below. I think it explains why hearing moving music makes me want to pick up a guitar, reading evocative prose fills me with the urge to write, and seeing powerful visual art compels me to work on my photography. Coming into contact with quality things inspires us to action.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance book coverGumption

I like the word “gumption” because it’s so homely and so forlorn and so out of style it looks as if it needs a friend and isn’t likely to reject anyone who comes along. I like it also because it describes exactly what happens to someone who connects with Quality. He gets filled with gumption.

A person filled with gumption doesn’t sit around dissipating and stewing about things. He’s at the front of the train of his own awareness, watching to see what’s up the track and meeting it when it comes. That’s gumption.

If you’re going to repair a motorcycle, an adequate supply of gumption is the first and most important tool. If you haven’t got that you might as well gather up all the other tools and put them away, because they won’t do you any good.

-Robert Pirsig

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