Are You More Given To Persistence or Stubbornness?
Your “will power” vs. your “won’t power”
Persistence is one of the most important volitional personality traits in an individual, which is crucial for the achievement of success, achievement of goals or achievement of changes.
Persistence is the one personality trait that moves individuals forward and through which one overcomes difficulties and obstacles and one is able to make solid decisions and not lose faith despite adversity.
What exactly is persistence?
The general definition is: “Refusing to give up or let go; persevering obstinately; firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.”
Persistence — the ability not to give up.
Persistence — the will to bring an end to a beginning.
Persistence— accompanies achievement.
Persistence — associated with an indomitable human spirit.
Persistence — your “will power.”
Ambition. Irreconcilability. Ruthlessness. Self-Confidence. Determination. Perseverance. That’s Persistence.
Yet, there’s another kind of persistence that is not so constructive, which is named stubbornness. I’ve watched individuals’ persistence and persistence in the pursuit of goals, which was harming them more than helping them.
What does this second type of persistence mean?
Stubbornness — a meaningless perseverance.
Stubbornness — the desire for something “to be mine.”
Stubbornness — accompanied with impatience.
Stubbornness — the desire for control.
Stubbornness — your “won’t power.”
Conceit. Stiffness. Relentlessness. Insistence. That’s Stubbornness.
Instead of development, this type of persistence leads to stagnation. It narrows the horizons and does not accept other perspectives or different possibilities.
Often the boundary between stubbornness and persistence is very thin and they can hardly be distinguished. Sometimes they seem to interweave.
You have probably failed and failed in your attempt to achieve something, but you were driven by the desire to achieve it, to keep trying, over and over again. You’ve kept telling yourself — “Never give up, keep trying again and again.”
You know that giving up would have been a weakness. Stages of despair had begun to alternate, followed by a new flow of energy, new hope and inspiration. You failed; you got up and kept going once again.
Thomas Edison’s well-known perseverance tells that he experimented thousands of times until he finally found the best way to reach his great discovery — the light bulb.
You also recall many individuals in your life who have overcome thousands of difficulties in their lives and that is because they never gave up and eventually achieved impressive results.
You admire such strong personalities who cannot deviate from their path and who are never defeated by the fluctuations of life. And you want to be like them.
When you say, “I will never give up. I will succeed, I believe, I will never surrender, I will try again and again.”
While pushing for your goal, you feel that you keep circling around.
Why so? Perhaps is it because you’re not stubborn enough?
Do you ever think about the “try again” principle as a lottery ticket, as if it says, “don’t lose hope, keep trying, you will win.” And when one is so stubborn and unfruitful in one direction, this person ends up looking like a hamster spinning in a carousel.
Yes, you’re stubborn, you want to do it all, you won’t stop, you don’t give up, yet you keep spinning and spinning? So why are you still in one place? What have you missed?
Suddenly, your stubbornness becomes a fuel that is spent in vain.
Yet, you recognize when you show stubbornness and hardness of your own character, which ultimately brings you to your own trap, trampling you in one place.
When does stubbornness deconstruct and become meaningless insistence?
This is when you cling to a specific target and forget to shake things off.
It often happens that, by being enthralled by the earnest desire to achieve your goal and to do it at all costs, you don’t even think that stubbornness is not enough. At a time when you are tired or demoted, as much as you strain your forces, you cannot achieve results.
Forcing things at such a stage is a futile attempt.
What you need then can be rest, change of your activity, or doing something completely different. You probably need to reload and draw inspiration within again. This can be accomplished by being in nature, reading, spending time with friends.
When doing things the same way, although it doesn’t work, you’re focusing only on the goal; you cling to a certain idea and are unable to think of other options at all.
It is known that Albert Einstein had said:
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Many persistent people continue to do the same things even when there is irrefutable evidence that they are ineffective and should stop. Some of them do not want to admit they were wrong and acted in the wrong way.
Others are convinced that they are right and want to prove it (to themselves or to others) at all costs.
People do not even think that just stubbornness is not enough. At a time when you are tired or demoted, as much as you strain your forces, you cannot achieve results.
On the way to achieving a goal, circumstances and conditions are constantly changing.
Therefore, one has to be flexible, try new ways, and use different possibilities. Otherwise, rigidity and stubbornness are not only inefficient, but they lead to degradation and trembling in one place.
When is stubbornness a desire to prove and do something “out of the ordinary?”
Think about it — whom are you trying to prove to that you will succeed? Is the desire to prove yourself leading you or is it the genuine desire to achieve a result?
Why do you need to prove yourself? Is it to feel valued, successful, meaningful?
Remove the need to prove yourself and to receive approval. You do not have to do anything to be liked by others. It is not necessary to impose your point of view, to prove that you are right or to demonstrate how good you are.
Remember that your value is not determined by the opinions of others. If you do something “lame”, just to “rub nose” on someone, it will only extract your strength and make you addicted to such behavior.
What happens when you’re impatient and force a situation?
Are you happy to follow the steps to achieving the goal or are you tortured by impatience and tension? There is a big difference between the stubborn insistence at all costs of achieving the result and the stubbornness that occurs in a calm constancy.
Persistence never persists and does not force. To be constant means to be consistent, patient and trusting yourself and your life.
Sometimes, in order to succeed, you need to stop for a while, change direction, even temporarily to take a step back to make a better move at the right moment. You need to strike a balance between the determination to act and the impatience.
What do you think? Does stubbornness help you, or is it something that hinders you?
Can an individual be both stubborn and persistent at the same time, or are they two fundamentally different concepts? Can they cross each other and how do you distinguish them?
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About The Author
Dr. Kachovska is an internationally known Change Catalyst. She teaches individuals and organizations about awareness, connection and the need for change — personally, socially, and professionally.