“I really think this is good for you!” said a friend to me over the phone. He’d been telling it to me in our conversations. All of us are stubborn in some ways, but few people can put their stubbornness to good use. So, I decided to put mine. “Have you tried it?” I asked him. “Not yet,” he answered. “Then I really think you ought to try it first,” I insisted.
“Stubborn” often connotes something negative and is a kind of firmness and insistence we all do not want to be used on us. And perhaps, we also do not want to use it on others. Most of us do not want to be PIN (pain in the neck). This reminds us of PIN sales persons and unprofessional network marketers who hound us even in our sleep, unrelenting until they have made us buy.
Nobody likes a guy who stubbornly does something that will just end up pissing off people, or worse, end up in harm. Like minding other’s business. Or gossiping. And how about folks who keep falling prey to scams or crimes but never learn their lesson? Stubbornness like that just turns me off. I was a stubborn guy like that.
Power of Stubbornness
But there are those who make something positive of their stubbornness. They just won’t give up and it delights us to see them doing it. Like the person who is too stubborn to let himself fail, so he keeps trying to hit high marks. Or the officemate who always aims for excellence in all he does and does it quietly. I had an officemate like that who won’t stop until he has accomplished everything perfectly. And he just worked quietly in his corner.
And there was this network marketer I really appreciated. Yes, he stubbornly asked people for appointments to present his product and business, but he let you decide on your own. He never did pestering followups (except for casual follow ups which looked professional) nor kept telling you about it each time you met (because anyway, he has presented everything well when he presented it to you), nor insisted that you buy. He never brought up the topic again with me but made efforts to follow up on his friendship, instead. So in the end, I bought the product and joined him. I never learn my lesson.
I once was stubborn in a nice way like that, but in a different field. I doggedly trained in martial arts until I perfected every move. I did it day and night and never stopped even if my friends all said I was in tip-top form and it was time I rested. I was stubborn. I just continued doing it and aimed higher.
The Right Stubbornness
Thus, in a sense, we should all be “stubborn.” We should all just keep doing things, over and over, even if others advice us to stop because we’ve done more than enough. But for stubbornness to be positive, here are some factors to consider:
- It should involve things that we alone are affected. You cannot be stubborn about things that affect other people or about what other people do. Don’t be a nuisance.
- You should be doing it to be a better person. Don’t do it to prove yourself better than others.
- You should do it quietly. Don’t do it just to attract attention. If you should get good attention, it should all be natural. If you have to insist on something, do it once or twice.
- Do it for a worthy personal goal. Analyze the goal and motive, if it’s really needed. The goal is often is to become a better person. And don’t make “worthy” goals for others.
- Don’t be a PIN. If you have to be stubborn, do it without being a pain in the neck.
- Keep it simple. Avoid great projects because it’s usually a sign of grandstanding and proving yourself to others.
Stubbornness Leads to Miracles
Faith can move mountains. We all have faith but few people have faith that displaces or “throws off” mountains. Often, it is faith “as small as a mustard seed” that does this. It’s just simple faith, nothing pretentious or grandstanding. People with this faith simply keep at it. They just stubbornly believe even if everything seems to be against all odds. They never give up. This is stubbornness put to good use.
Often, the key to a miracle is stubbornness. You keep stubbornly believing even if reality says otherwise. Even if the facts and evidences point to the opposite. Sometimes, stubborn faith like that comes when you learn to be quietly confident in God. You just keep still and know that HE is God.
If you are stubborn, learn how to put it to good use. And you can begin by making sure no one gets pissed off by your stubbornness. Most generation gaps have this at the core of the problem. Both parties stubbornly insist on their own values. To be sure, there are wrong and right standards, and right standards should be enforced and wrong ones corrected. But problem is, both sides are apt to insist their standards to be correct.
So most times, it is best to just stubbornly live out your standards and time and the just God will prove who’s been right and who’s been wrong all along. It’s like tea—we are all prone to insist that our cup of tea is the best, until one day, we realize there’s a better tea, and then we want it served bottomless. Because we’re all stubborn, some things are better learned by oneself. That’s among the facts of life.