The Story Of Tom Thumb Inside My Cupboard

Why was “Tom Thumb” in my cupboard?

Good thing you asked…

It was a can of pork and beans that I had in my soup cupboard for a long time. The brand name was a generic one…Tom Thumb.

Alright…so why this post about Tom Thumb in my cupboard?

It represents a lesson in humility that we all need from time to time. In my case, there was a time a little over 17 years ago…when life didn’t seem as great … certainly not as good as it is now.

One night, myself and my family started to run low on food.

And then out came the Tom Thumb.

That can of beans, plus a loaf of bread, was about all we had to eat that night. It was a pretty sad situation. But that moment made me realize something…

“Holy smokes, I need to go out and do something about this.”

Why was I in that situation?

Well, a couple of months prior to that moment, I had gotten laid off from a car dealership where I worked the parts counter. We had some savings to get by (very little), but at the moment we pulled out Tom Thumb, we were way past draining them.

We were literally moments away from having to get in line at the food bank.

But this dire situation was my first lesson in success as well. I felt this gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach, a “pulling feeling” in my chest, and I just couldn’t take it all anymore.

I couldn’t look my family in their faces and say:

“We are going hungry tonight.”

So I didn’t let that happen.

I had, up until that moment, some set backs in getting another job to support my family.

But staring Tom Thumb in the face made me reach deep down and “suck it up.” The feeling I had inside of me at this point was one of invincibility … a feeling like I could not be stopped.

And I got a job the next morning.

I walked into the office … sat down for an interview … and did not leave until the hiring manager and I were filling out new hire paperwork.

From that moment forward, we have never faced that type of adversity in our lives again. As a matter of fact, our lives are presently filled with a richness I cannot describe, only feel.

It is the beginning of 2015 now, and since that moment 17 or so years ago… we are completely humble and a can of Tom Thumb still resides in our cupboard (we had to eat the original Tom Thumb, so we bought another).

Tom Thumb is still in our cupboard to remind us of that humbling moment … and I vowed to never allow that can of pork and beans to the front of our cupboard again.

To this day, that can is still hiding there in the back of the cupboard … reminding me that there was a time when it wasn’t as good as it is now.

Which motivates me to help others reach their goals … and so along the way I will reach mine too.  Zig Ziglar has a famous quote about this:

You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want. source

This philosophy has worked well for me, very well in fact.

So my question to you is simple:

Do you have a can of Tom Thumb in your cupboard?


Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals and live a life that makes you truly happy. This post is my entry for Jessica Lawlor’s Get Gutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details and download a free copy of the inspiring Get Gutsy ebook.


NOTE:  this is a revised and updated edition of the original essay.

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  1. Pingback: Get Inspired With Get Gutsy Week 2015- Jessica Lawlor

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