Relationship Fitness

S17 Focus E4: Internal Setback Gumption Traps

In “Relationship Workout for Men,” Season 17 Episode 4 titled “Internal Setback Gumption Traps,” Vince delves into the concept of gumption—a blend of courage, resourcefulness, and resilience—essential for navigating and resolving relationship issues. He emphasizes that while tools and insights can aid in the journey towards being a better partner, the true secret ingredient is gumption. Vince discusses how gumption fuels the continued effort to address relationship problems, even in the face of discouragement or exhaustion. This episode explores how both external circumstances and internal hang-ups can challenge one’s gumption, highlighting the importance of maintaining commitment and quality in the relationship to find seemingly elusive solutions. Vince’s insights aim to empower listeners to overcome setbacks with a positive, proactive mindset, ensuring no issue remains insurmountable.

Welcome to Relationship Workout for Men, a podcast dedicated to helping men be intentional in choosing a better partner, and being a better partner for the person they choose.

Season 17 Episode 4: Internal Setback Gumption Traps

Okay, so you have your Focus Assessment. You’ve been given tools and insights to help you along your journey to being the best partner possible. You’re well on your way to mastering your mind. You get it about not being controlled by your ego. You’re learning how to be a more effective communicator and how to better manage your anger and anxiety. However, even with all these tools and insights in your relationship toolbox, there’s one more secret ingredient to issue resolution: Gumption.

Gumption is the continued endurance and enthusiasm that keeps your sleeves rolled up, fishing for facts. Gumption is what keeps you sitting in front of her continuing to brainstorm even when your will to go on is threatening to lose hope. 

Basically, if you both don’t continue to have gumption, then there is no way that any problem will get resolved. You’ll just throw up your hands in defeat and chalk it up to another unresolved issue. Just another boxcar tacked on the back of your relationship train. 

On the other hand, when you both have gumption, then there is no issue that can’t be resolved! Not one.

Indeed, no relationship issue is insurmountable. It’s not like you’re being asked to invent a time machine, although it might feel this way when you’re in the thick of a difficult argument. 

You can’t sell an issue on eBay to the highest bidder. You can’t buy resolution at the mall. Yes, an aspect to the issue and solution may contain a material object; however, the truth is that the issue itself, and its ultimate solution, both exist as ideas in your minds. 

Therefore, if you want to resolve an issue, you’ll need to identify its nuances, as it lives in both of your minds. In other words, you’ll both need to come up with new ideas that somehow change the issue as it sits in your thoughts. 

Given enough time and creative energy, a solution is bound to surface. Curiosity can produce an unending number of possible ideas to be discussed. As well, Relationship Workout gives you several tools to help identify the issue and frameworks to assist in discussing the possible answers curiosity can produce.

And it’s your caring that keeps your desire to resolve the issue energized. It’s your gumption that keeps you sitting there searching for those seemingly elusive answers even at the lowest points in the hardest of arguments.

Gumption is not a fixed commodity, nor does each issue get an allocated ration. Rather, gumption is fueled by your pursuit of quality in yourself and in your relationship. Maintain your caring and your commitment to quality and you’ll find your gumption to be endless.

Of course, a relationship issue can feel much more complex than getting out a stuck screw, as the metaphor was discussed in previous episodes. This means you might have to ask a lot of functional questions, spanning more than a single discussion. It may take weeks or months. This means you may need lots of gumption.

Given this, it’s helpful to identify what can deflate your pursuit of quality and your commitment to Relationship Excellence, reducing your gumption. I call these gumption traps.

Gumption Traps

Okay, let me paint a metaphor: A balloon full of air gets pricked by a fine needle. If it’s a small hole, you’ll hear a subtle hiss as the balloon starts to deflate. If the hole is big enough, then POP! The balloon explodes in an immediate thunder. All that’s left is torn, useless rubber.

Same holds true when one or both of you step into a gumption trap. Either you’ll feel your enthusiasm deflate slowly or you’ll hear a metaphorical POP as you just throw up your hands in disgust. You’re pissed. You’re done. You’re out of there. This is ridiculous.

Every issue can be resolved, and it’s helpful to know what these gumption traps are so you can prevent yourself from stepping into one of them. There are basically two types of gumption traps: external and internal. External gumption traps are those that result from external circumstances. These can be called setbacks. Internal gumption traps are those that reside primarily within oneself. These can be called hang-ups

In this episode, we’ll discuss external setback gumption traps. In the next episode, we’ll discuss internal hang-up gumption traps.


Okay: Setback Gumption Traps:

Let’s say your plans are all in place. Perhaps you had to work through issue after issue to finally get here. You’re thrilled. You can’t wait. All is ready.

Then, bang! Life throws you a curveball. It’s one of those that even the big leaguers whiff on. Seemingly out of left field, a new wrinkle emerges. Perhaps an assumption ends up being false. Perhaps it’s snowing in Chicago and a ripple effect means your flight in Dallas ends up delayed until tomorrow. Perhaps the worst-case scenario that only had a probability of 1 in 10,000 ends up happening. Unlucky day.

Whatever, and from wherever, the bottom line is that you have a new issue on the table. A setback is challenging you.

Gumption is required here. If you throw up your hands venting frustration at the external circumstance, then your gumption will squeal away like a rat fleeing a flood. You’ve been conquered. Score: Life 1, You 0.

On the other hand, if you take a deep breath and approach the issue from a place of openness — fueled by an inexhaustible source of gumption — then you will find a solution. It’s inevitable.

Perhaps you’ll realize that your plans only need a small adjustment after all. And this change is no big deal in the grand scheme of things. 

Perhaps you’ll decide to let things go and accept the new set of circumstances. You realize inflexible attachment to the previous plan is not going to serve you well. No choice really. What Is is. 

Or, who knows, perhaps you’ll find that a new set of brainstormed changes makes the new plan even better than the original. It is your lucky day!

Whatever the ultimate solution, a commitment to quality means you won’t let an unexpected external setback set you back. You’re in control of your thoughts. Score: External Life Circumstances 0, You 1.

But wait there are also internal, hang-up gumption traps to contend with, and that’s the topic of our next episode.

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