Stubbornness: Stupidity or Strength?

Stubborn? Resistant? Willful? Are these personality traits bad? Only when the person insists on continuing a behavior that hurts the person, and only the person in question can make a change.

What is the difference in stubbornly choosing to eat junk food, and having the willpower to choose only what is on an eating plan? Mentally, there is no difference, although the results of one choice is healthy and the other not so much.

A person appears stubborn when he or she does not want to do whatever it is that we want him or her to do. In that person’s mind, the choice has been made. Until that person can see that another choice will make his or her life more pleasant, more fun, healthier, he or she will not change. The more that you encourage him or her, or the more you try to get the person to see the benefits of another course of action, the less likely he or she will be willing to listen.

What are you to do? First, look at your own stubborn choices. How are you continuing to choose something that you know is not in your best interests, whether it is a second piece of chocolate cake, another purchase on your already maxed out credit card, or watching TV instead of going to the gym.

It takes the same kind of stubborn obstinacy to stick with a new exercise regime, to complete a college course, to change eating habits, or to learn a new skill. But we don’t think of this kind of willpower as stubbornness, although it is. It’s the same kind of mindset that keeps people on schedule, makes them do their jobs well, and helps them to say no to things that are bad for them. It’s just not as inconvenient for us. We only call it stubborn when we don’t like it.

Are you being stubborn in your own behalf today?

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6 Responses to Stubbornness: Stupidity or Strength?

  1. Rhia says:

    Great post. Isn’t it odd how we label the same behavior differently based on whether we view the choice a good one or not. The human psyche is so complex.

    • I think we are all pretty judgmental if we have not done a lot of work to change our perspectives. Anyone who drives slower than me is an idiot and anyone who drives faster is a maniac! Yes, we are complex, and often limited in our perception.

  2. sharkbytes says:

    Yep, that bull-headed little toddler may become the tenacious adult who accomplishes marvels if the stubbornness is channeled. I’m trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month. My alphabet is at

    • It’s true that many traits which are unacceptable in toddlers are necessary and valuable in adults. What we have to figure out is how to train the toddler not to act like a toddler when she is 15 or 20 or 40. Presentation and style do make a difference!

  3. Great post! 🙂 Nice to find you through A-Z.