Ever since I was little, my friends and family alike would say I was stubborn. Once I set my mind on something, it was hard for me to swing another way. I’d state a single “no,” and that was it. To be clear, I wasn’t in any way impolite when voicing my staunch opinion, but it was clear that, unless I was given a solid reason, it was very hard for me to do what I did not want to do.
I have become more open-minded in terms of trying new things and going with the flow, but I doubt that my overall mindset of “I’m right when I’m right” has changed all that much. In fact, if anything, meeting new people and exposing myself to different points of view has only served to reinforce what my core ideals are, barring the few problematic tendencies that I have shed.
The reason I’m stubborn is linked closely to an innate sense of pride. To admit I’m wrong is to essentially doubt who I am and what I stand for, and that is something I just do not want to do. See … stubborn. I told you.
Stubbornness gets a lot of flack for being a personal vice, which I completely understand. To be more flexible and less fixed in your thinking is a gift, and mental dexterity is something all of us should try to work on throughout our life.
But being stubborn also has its perks. As long as you don’t let pride prevent you from accepting losses and poorly-informed opinions gracefully, it is commendable to have strong will. In a society where there is constant pressure to follow the norm, sticking to your beliefs isn’t the worst thing in the world.
If history has taught us anything, it is that people look up to leaders who have a fixed sense of conviction, as long as they are relatively open and empathetic to other people’s points of view.
Besides, when people talk of stubbornness, it is with a frustrated, yet begrudgingly admiring, tone. It is ultimately being decisive and standing up for your convictions.
Stubbornness becomes a problem when it starts blinding you: when you are so fixed in your way of thinking that considering other people’s perspectives is almost impossible. I can’t count the number of times over the years I have socially isolated myself from friends and family because of an attitude of “Does it really matter? It’s not like anyone is going to understand my point of view anyway.” When stubbornness leads you to push people away, that’s when you know it’s more of a personal defect than a virtue.
It is important to have pride in yourself and to be aware of what you offer to the world, especially in a society that insists on telling you that you are wrong, inexperienced or stupid. In that case, it is tempting to fight this condescension with a stubborn, “I believe what I believe.” But make sure to back your stubborn beliefs with actions and by actually following through on your mindset. If you actually practice what you preach, then perhaps being stubborn isn’t the worst thing in the world.