‘I get knocked down

But I get up again

You’re never gonna keep me down’

Chumbawamba, Tubthumping


Does anyone ever remember any other part of that song? Anyway, what a powerful set of words for Chumbawamba to have written. I wish I wish I wish that was the anthem of our generation. I’ve been like this much of my life and I’ve had spells where I’ve forgotten these lyrics and the feelings that underly them. So I’m writing them down, and bopping to them as I write (really-look up the song and try not to bop as you read these lyrics after).

But this post really isn’t about Chumbawamba. It’s about a thing called ‘moxy’. The Oxford English dictionary (which incidentally, spells it ‘moxie’) defines moxy as: force of character, determination, or nerve.

Moxy is the part of you that you know and show in oodles as a child. The one which makes you dress up in ALL of your mommy’s pearls and wear her brightest red lipstick, or wear a cowboy costume to church, or make you leap off the jungle jim. And one day, you’re told ‘now, be a good boy, be a good girl.’ And along with learning how to be kind and polite (which you should be), you also learn to shove a bit of your moxy deep inside. And then comes school, where everyone wears the fashion uniform of the day, and along with making friends and getting along with others (which you should), you learn to shove a bit more of your moxy deep inside. And then you go to university, where freedom is the order of the day, and for a short while, your moxy starts poking out. And then you get a job, and the moxy goes right back down deep inside until you’re just like everyone else. Kind of like the workers in that old silent German movie, Metropolis. And sometimes, you find a life partner who just keeps shoving that moxy down deep away because they’re afraid to let theirs out (or what if you let yours out and then they have to let theirs out and actually do something?)

And one day you wake up and you’re unhappy. And you don’t know why. And you want to do something else. And your head knows what to do. And your heart knows what to do. But you just can’t do it. Do you know why? Because actually getting yourself to do it requires…you guessed it… MOXY!

So what are you gonna do? Reach in, deep down inside. Get help if you need (not the chemical kind-find a friend, a squadron of personal cheerleaders, whatever). Pull it out. Get that moxy out and let it shine. Kick it into gear. See how it lifts you. And when you do something great where people who’ve known you say ‘I never thought he/she would have the guts to do that.’ turn to your moxy and give an inward smile. It’s as easy as that.

The great news is, when I look at Gen Y, Gen Y has oodles of moxy. They don’t take B.S. And they don’t settle. Most of Gen Y just needs to channel their moxy and focus on doing great things-be it great things that just make them the best of themselves for themselves, or things that make the world a better place. But for those in Gen Y, Gen X, and other generations who’ve managed to shove their moxy in a deep dark place inside, I say.


If you need a bit of help coaxing it out, just sing ‘I get knocked down, but then I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down.’ Thank you Chumbawamba.


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