5 Signs You Are a Stubborn Person

stubborn person in a tug-of-war with a donkeystubborn person in a tug-of-war with a donkey

You wouldn’t be able to achieve much if you didn’t believe in yourself. That said, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Some people act stubborn and claim it is due to their “confidence.” False. Stubbornness leads to arrogance. If you want to be a critical thinker and stop alienating the people you love, watch out for these five signs you are a stubborn person (#4 will ruin your reputation in a hurry).

1. You fear new situations.

Stubborn people are afraid of change. Whether they realize it or not, they perceive new situations as threats that should be avoided at all costs. Anyone who tries to impose a change on them could – subconsciously – be viewed as an oppressor.

In some ways, this is a good thing. I perform at my best when I structure my days so they are as consistent as possible. It’s nice to have set times to read, write, study, exercise, eat lunch, and so on. However, you need to get comfortable with the fact that life isn’t always so predictable.

If confronted with an incredibly stressful situation, a person who fears change might find themselves living in denial. They could get fired or divorced, but behave as if nothing happened, because they can’t bring themselves to accept reality. This is not beneficial for anybody. Accept change, no matter how bad it might be. The healing process can’t begin until you do that.

2. You argue about everything.

Stubborn people have trouble admitting when they are wrong. They would rather argue than suffer a blow to their ego. This is especially prevalent in fights between romantic partners.

I used to be very stubborn. An ex-girlfriend once told me she was upset, because I didn’t make enough time for her. I deflected that criticism by blaming her for not taking enough interest in my new passion (fitness – this happened when I first became a personal trainer).

I should have accepted that I was wrong. Sure, she didn’t seem that interested in my new career choice, but the main reason was that I’d gotten so obsessed that I started to neglect her needs. I can’t imagine many women would have reacted any differently. Relationships require time and attention to flourish. An apology would have got me a lot farther than being stubborn.

3. You never change your mind.

Stubborn people cheat themselves out of growth and transformation. They cling to past beliefs in a misguided effort to protect themselves from change.

Could you imagine how ignorant we would all be if scientists behaved in this way? We would still be under the impression that the Earth is a flat object in the center of the universe. No, thanks. I’m relieved that history’s most brilliant thinkers were willing to challenge their assumptions.

Look at life as if it is an evolutionary process. When viewed from that perspective, it becomes completely acceptable to change your mind. Let a childlike curiosity guide you through every day. Ask yourself hard questions that might force you to reconsider your stance. Be wrong more often. Your personal development requires it.

4. You resort to ad hominem attacks.

Stubborn people lash out at those who challenge their ideology. They can’t speak with facts or figures (see #5), so they resort to personal attacks. This is very common in comment threads.

“Ad hominem” is a Latin phrase that means “to the man.” Politicians use ad hominem attacks all the time. Instead of addressing a point made during a debate, they expose a flaw in their opponent’s character to cast doubt on their point. This is not an ethical tactic.

Regular people are just as guilty as shady politicians. If you ever catch yourself calling a person “stupid,” then you could be dodging a tricky question. Insulting a person’s character is much easier than addressing their point. If you want to become a critical thinker, you need to stick with the facts.  If you’re not willing to do that, then you might as well keep your mouth shut.

5. You avoid information that contradicts your beliefs.

Stubborn people only read news from sources that confirm their biases. They don’t want to risk exposing themselves to conflicting information, because that could cause an identity crisis.

This behavior is most common in religious people. A child raised to believe “it’s all about faith” will be highly resistant to scientific findings that contradict their religion as an adult. This allows them to willfully ignore any facts that make it harder to believe in their higher power of choice.

This behavior is also common in political partisans. A liberal might avoid reading reports about how government inefficiencies result in wasteful spending, while a conservative might pass on a study that reveals government intervention improved the economy. It is very tempting to seek information that confirms your opinion, while ignoring information that contradicts it.

It’s okay to follow a religion or political party, but don’t be a sheep. If you can’t even acknowledge the existence of opposing viewpoints, how confident can you really be in your belief? Your tunnel vision could be blinding your judgment. Be courageous enough to challenge your perspective. If your belief is worth having, it will be stronger for it.

How many of these signs were true for you? Feel free to give yourself a score in the comments. If you know a stubborn person who needs to see this article, click here to share it on Facebook (and don’t forget to tag your friend in a comment).

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