Sometimes listening to others and cooperating with the group is a good thing. But sometimes sacrificing what you want for the good of the group is a terrible idea. If you feel resentment towards a group or person because you caved to their demands, this post is for you. Often the most stubborn person wins, not who is right. Here is how to be that stubborn person when you need to be.
What Do I Get By Being More Stubborn?
You get three things from being more stubborn. First, you will get rid of that resentful feeling from ceding control to another person. Second, you will have more control over your life. This means you will be able to get things you want, which will make you happier. Finally, there are times when you are right and the other person is wrong. Why wouldn’t you be stubborn if you’re the one who is right? Being stubborn in situations like this will get you better outcomes.
Stubbornness can be a good of bad personality trait depending on the circumstance. If you are right, stubbornness is a very important skill to have. Why wouldn’t you be stubborn if you are correct? But sometimes we think we are right, but end up wrong. In situations like this stubbornness halts our learning and limits our potential.
Stubbornness is at least partially connected to the feeling of certainty that our brain kicks off after we perceive something. If we feel certain, we don’t want to change. Thus the more ‘certainty chemicals’ our brain emits, the more likely we are to be stubborn.
Additionally stubbornness can be a function of personality. Some personality types are more likely to be accommodating and cooperative. Others are more likely to be assertive or non cooperative. Disagreeableness leads someone to be less cooperative. Extroversion can lead people to push for what they want. Check out our post on personality theory here.
Steps To Becoming More Stubborn
Step zero is to take responsibility. If people constantly drive over your opinions it is your fault. Take responsibility for standing up for what you want. If you can’t take responsibility for the fact that you aren’t stubborn when making decisions for yourself, you will always blame others instead of changing.
First, know what you want in detail. If you don’t have a clear vision of where you are going, you will get pushed aside and swept up by those who do. Stubbornness requires knowing your goals. Do you know what you want out of life in general? Do you know what you want to accomplish today? Do you know what you want out of relationships? What do you not like?
The amazing thing about life is that you can choose many parts of it. You can choose where you live, what you do all day, your career, and who you associate with. Learn what you like and don’t like and stop wasting time with things you dislike. Meditate on what you’d regret not doing in life. Think about the things you enjoy and get irritated by in a relationship. Pay attention to what gets your emotions flaring. Decide one thing you want to accomplish today that you won’t compromise on. Write them down. If you struggle with assertiveness, start small.
Second, realize how little other people actually know. People often yield to others because they think the person knows better. However, this perception can be seriously flawed. If there is one person in your life you constantly give up control to, make a list of the mistakes they make. You need to teach your brain that the person isn’t infallible. This is the first step in taking back control of your life.
Consider reading books on how everyone’s brain makes assumptions and mistakes. For example, the feeling of certainty works similarly to emotions like anger or sadness. Certainty isn’t triggered by the rational part of your brain. This means that when someone is being stubborn, it isn’t always because their brain logically thought everything out. It could just be because their brain is firing off certainty chemicals. For example, people in deserts are sometimes certain that they see an oasis, but it ends up being a mirage. Check out this book or this book if you want to learn more about flaws in every human’s brain. Realizing people aren’t perfect leaves you room to challenge them.
Third, come to terms with selfishness. Most people have an altruistic and a selfish side. In order to be more stubborn, you must realize that people will inevitably push for decisions that are best for them. Sometimes what is best for one person isn’t for the other. That means if you don’t stubbornly stand for what you want, you won’t ever live your best life. If you accept that sometimes people push for selfish things, you will then be able to see why it is important for you to assert yourself and be more stubborn. If you don’t, then who will? A powerful tactic for realizing how everyone can be selfish is to recognize selfishness in yourself. Make a list of all the times you did something completely selfish. Seeing it in yourself will help you see it in others.
Fourth, use basic tactics for standing your ground. Often people struggle with standing their ground stubbornly because they don’t know what to say when someone pressures them. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. So next time someone argues against what you want, stubbornly refuse by saying “I’m going to do X because I want too.”
Often in an argument the person who wins isn’t necessarily right, but the person who appears more confident. Practice refusing to budge. Practice disagreeing with someone and then not explaining yourself. When they make an argument simply say “no that is wrong” or “I disagree.” If they say why, simply repeat “because it is wrong.” Stubbornly stick to that phrase until they back down. Eventually they will give up.
Another way to practice being more stubborn is to simply argue for the opposite side when you debate someone. This means if you believe the new dance club is fun, practice arguing all the ways it is boring.
Examples Of Being Stubborn
Stubbornness can be good or bad depending on the situation. Here are some examples of situations where it is bad and where it is good to be stubborn.
- If you value the flexibility of working remote in your job most, that is something you would want to be stubborn about. If the company you are interviewing with refuses to let people work remote, stubbornly refuse to continue the interview process. Compromising on that value would be a mistake.
- One member of your group refuses to ever compromise on where to go to eat. It is always their way or the highway. Refuse to go to another place they suggest until they are willing to compromise. Standing up for what you want will be better in the long run.
- You stubbornly refuse to take physical risks like you did when you were younger because you have a responsibility to take care of your child. Being stubborn in this situation is beneficial.
- In relationships you stubbornly refuse to move faster than you are comfortable with. In this situation stubbornness can protect you from making commitments too quickly and getting into situations where you could be taken advantage of.
- You are arguing with your roommate about who left the front door open all night. You say you weren’t the last person in bed, but the security camera shows you going to the car late at night. You refuse to admit you left the door open, even though you remember forgetting to close it.
- A friend has a different political opinion from you. Your friend tries to explain their point of view but you dismiss their opinion. This is a bad example of stubbornness since you are potentially cutting yourself off from a more correct way of looking at the world. Even if they are wrong, you can always learn something about what your friend values from hearing them out.
- Trying new jobs makes you nervous so you never switch careers. You are miserable in your current situation but you fear other positions could be worse. It is bad to be stubborn just out of fear.
- A person never admits they are wrong. They never admit to flaws. They never hear people’s ideas out. This version of stubbornness will cause them issues in the long run.