This I Believe

Christina - Birch Run, Michigan
Entered on May 15, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Since the early days of my childhood, I have always been told I was stubborn, specifically (my mother always said), the most stubborn person she knew. And as the years pass, she has only continued to remind me of this, choosing to do so frequently. Naturally, being a young, stubborn adult, I refuse to confess such an exaggeration of personal conviction…at least, I deny it to my mother. But I guess maybe the silliest reality of all is that being stubborn isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Think about it. What exactly does it mean to be stubborn? By definition, being “stubborn” means that someone is determined…unreasonably and obstructively to persevere or prevail. And it’s true that a person’s determination to “win” shouldn’t be so great that it is obstructive. However, it cannot be denied that determination, even to the highest level, is sometimes the most important, beneficial, and envied mental attribute a person can have. We all hope to achieve success, and are told time and time again that the best way to make it happen is to never give up. In other words, be determined, be driven, and be stubborn.

In some professions, especially in Law, job holders have the responsibility to stay true to a specific stance, defending it boldly, and disallowing any outside influence to sway their initial insight. For example, attorneys decide whether or not to take a case, and if they accept, they must stick to that side and present all evidence supporting it. One of the reasons why this is so challenging is because humans are collectively subject to “change of mind”, or the tendency to be mentally disrupted by opposing arguments. One must have a stubborn mind to resist this tendency and stay anchored in his or her own beliefs.

Although stubbornness is often beneficial (and in some cases, necessary) when seeking fulfillment or success, it is impossible to ignore the fact that sometimes it issometimes it is delivered unreasonably and obstructively, simply because one cannot bear to be criticized or proven wrong. Stubbornness is bad only once it has elevated to the point that one radically refuses to acknowledge and accept that his or her previous beliefs have been revised. And, no, I am not the only person who has done this. Many people, after reexamining themselves and choosing to change their mind on a topic, hesitate to share this with others, fearing they will be characterized as “flighty” or “having an identity crisis”. But the truth is, a simple “change of heart” should not be looked at as a crisis, but as a personal enlightenment. “I will not sway, but I might budge.” This, I believe.