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Is Being Obstinate A Good Thing?

How many times have you thought “I’m going to do this no matter what!”?  How about if you say “I will NOT do that!”? Same thing? Depending on who you are saying it to, you could be obstinate, or you could know what you want and go for it.

There’s a lot to be said for being obstinate. First of all, it’s a great word.  I use it all the time on my kids. (They hate it when I use the big words *grins*) The definition is “the trait of being difficult to handle; stubborn.” And stubborn is “fixed or set in opnion or purpose, hard to move.”

Being stubborn is viewed in our society as a bad thing.  Why is that? It means you will or won’t do a certain thing. And someone else has already decided that you need to do the opposite.  What if that thing is dangerous? Or harmful? Or just plain silly? Aren’t you within your rights to refuse? Of course you are.

On the other hand, that thing you want could be extremely helpful to others. Or an idea that just might change the world. Standing up for yourself is viewed as a good thing. You may need to be stubborn in order to get something done.

Look at how being obstinate has helped these people on their path.

  • Legend has it that Thomas Edison worked on an idea for giving people electricity even when being called a fool. He created one thousand light bulbs before it worked.
  • When the popular thought was that the average home owner would never want their own computer, Steve Jobs decided he would change that notion no matter what anyone said.
  • Douglas McArthur was considered a great military leader, but also a very stubborn one. He defied presidents and held fast to his ideas, eventually being “asked to leave” his command.
  • While common belief stated that God created man, Charles Darwin held on to his belief that evolution was why man existed, even in the face of ridicule.
  • Joan of Arc heard the voice of God and led her nation to a victorious future. Even so, the government wanted her to denounce her ideas, and she paid the ultimate price for obstinance.
  • Henry VIII was so stubborn about being able to divorce his wives, he threw out the Catholic Church and created his own (Church of England)

There are times when you need to convince yourself to be stubborn so things get done. I know I need to yell at myself at least once a week to write. I can be obstinate about avoiding work. But then, I also am passionate about my values and ideals. Being rigid in order to accomplish good deeds is very important. No one can get me to miss a meeting for a cause I think should be supported.

So, now you tell me. What causes you to dig in and refuse to be moved?


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About ejgresearch

As soon as I retired I hit the road. I am now a nomad traveling the USA in a minivan. This blog is my travelogue / journal about those travels.


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