My daughter tells me that I’m the most stubborn person she knows. I take that as a compliment! According to one definition from Dictionary.com it means “fixed or set in purpose; resolute”. Contrary to popular perception, being stubborn can be a good thing. The same trait that is often viewed negatively can lead to positive outcomes. In “Why We Want You To Be Rich”, a book that Donald Trump coauthored with “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author Robert Kiyosaki more than 10 years ago, our current president asserts, “Being stubborn is a big part of being a winner. Some people have failed because they have given up too soon.” This is not a political post, but regardless of your personal feelings for him, it is hard to deny that he has achieved financial success and harder still to imagine him accomplishing any of it without his stubborn demeanor.
Here are a few examples of people who refused to comply, agree or give up that have benefited all of us:
- Thomas Edison was said to have failed 10,000 times while creating the light bulb (I’ve always wondered who was keeping track since that would be a full time job)
- Steve Jobs refused to give up, even when he was ousted from Apple, the company that he helped found
- He eventually returned to Apple where the IPod, IPad and IPhone were all created under his leadership
- Oprah persevered, step by step, from poverty to become one of the wealthiest and most well-known women in the world by becoming a media icon who excelled at putting people in touch with their better selves
Here are a few more examples that did NOT benefit all of us but I have personal experience with or knowledge of:
- Stubbornness assisted in my completion of 23 college classes in 3.5 years while working full time and parenting 2 teenagers
- Stubbornness enabled me to plow my way through 8 weeks of boot camp at 19, because giving up would have meant going back home and missing out on all of the adventures
- Stubbornness propelled my oldest daughter out of the nest at 19 and across the country to take a job at a ski resort because she wanted to live life on her own terms
- Refusal to succumb to lack of opportunity for her desired teaching position drove one young lady to accept opportunities to teach English overseas for a couple of years to gain experience and better equip her for a career
The next time you go head to head with stubbornness in your own kids, find a way to celebrate it. Help them to harness it and use it to their benefit so they can grow into independent young adults.