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Gumption Traps

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Gumption Traps

Robert Pirsig author of Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, writes about several key points. His biggest struggle is defining himself as well as the meaning of quality. Of the many subjects the author discusses in the Chautauqua the one that connected with me the most was gumption traps. Gumption traps are something that we all struggle with in one form or another it is a setback that causes you to lose perspective and lose enthusiasm. Pirsig talks about there being "hundreds of different kinds of gumption traps, maybe thousands maybe millions" (304). With his opinion that there could be millions he is able to categorize it into just two categories an external and an internal. Within the external and internal there are several sub categories.

External gumption traps are the most common they are also referred to as setbacks. Pirsig gives labels to the setbacks and categorizes them as; out of sequence, intermittent failure, and parts problems. He describes all of these as motorcycle problems but any one can be applied to real life situations. First out of sequence traps happen if you are doing something but forget a step. When you get to the end something is just not quite right then you realize you have to start all over or go back to the missed step and fix it from there. This can be a major gumption trap and cause you to lose hope. When this happens it is important to take a break and not rush back in to the project mad. Working on something mad is never a good idea, it is always best to take on a task with a clear and open mind. There are ways to prevent the setbacks of out of sequence traps. First a note book with all the steps written down and notes that maybe important to the project but not mentioned in the instructions. Next all supplies should be laid out in the order needed to keep from forgetting something or jumping ahead to far. The next setback is from intermittent failure. A good example of this is taking your car to the mechanic and whatever your problem is seems to have fixed itself or does not show up. This kind of trap can leave you mad and allow a lot of gumption to escape. The best thing to do is undertake in a trial and error and make a note of when the problem occurs and what actions maybe causing the problem. When a conclusion is thought to have been met test it for a while longer before closing the case. This problem can be related to real life with the attitudes and actions of others. People may act differently around some and act completely normal around you. The gumption trap of parts setback is the next most common. Several factors play into parts setbacks. The price of the part may be more than anticipated and it may take you sometime to raise the funds to purchase this. This is a gumption trap because what if you have something planned that needs that certain part but not being able to afford it causes you to reschedule of even cancel the plans. Then the problem of not fitting this applies to all things from parts to clothes. If you go to all the trouble of getting something just to bring it home and it does not fit it can drain your time allotted for the project and lose enthusiasm. One way to avoid this gumption trap is plan ahead and repair the part or make it yourself. "To run a cycle with parts in it that you've made yourself gives you a special feeling you can't possibly get from strictly store-bought parts"(310). External traps are more common but when the internal gumption traps are added to them if could be unbearable.

Internal traps are not as common but they are working at the same



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