January 3, 2009

About me:

I am stubborn. Once I get into an argument and pick a side, it will take one of those steroid-filled men to pry me off my opponent. Even when I'm wrong, it's hard to admit it. But most of the time, I'm right. Or so I think.

Stubbornness

I'm sure everyone has had one of these days.

Friend: What do you think of my college essay?

Me: I think you focus too much on the concept of individualism. You should do something more unique, because everyone does individualism.

Friend: But can't you say that about every value? Kindness? Independence? Truthfulness?

Me: Well, the thing is, you seeā€¦it's not unique enough. (In reality, I was thinking, "Oh yeah, she's right..")

In order to talk about stubbornness, we need to first define the word. What's the fine line between stubbornness and determination? Stubbornness is having a point of view even when you realize that you are wrong. Determination is having a point of view that is the "better, more correct" one and following through with it despite obstacles on the way.

Stubborn has a very negative connotation, which is completely understandable. When you are stubborn, you often overlook the other point of view just because it didn't originate from your own brain. You've already put so much time and effort into formulating this argument, so it's difficult to immediately switch over to the other side. Instead of admitting that you were wrong, you keep arguing, using weirder examples each minute, desperate to prove your point. Then finally, you give in and say, "Whatever, you just don't understand."

An easy fix to this is to realize that you can never be 100% correct. You are not all knowing, you are not "God." There can never be generalizations about anything because the world is so diverse, with different colored people, different genders, different belief systems, different laws, different environments, and different backgrounds. Once you realize that you can never be 100% right, you will be more susceptible to the other points of views, because they often offer a detail that you have overlooked. You can even learn from a 6 year old, demonstrated by the following example:

I am tutoring a little girl. She is doodling on her paper.

"What are you drawing?" I ask.

"God."

"But how do you know what God look like? No one knows." I thought that I had spoken one of the few truths of this world. I was quickly proven wrong when she said:

"You will in a few minutes after I'm finished."

My mind was blown away. It's true, God is what you make out of Him. God's image is personal to each individual. This little girl has just uprooted one of my deepest held beliefs. It's easy admitting that you're wrong to a 6 year old. But often, you face humiliation, embarrassment, and even anger at self when you admit that you're wrong to a peer. But it must be done. You will become a more mature person who knows how to look at things from different perspectives.

Hint: My surest way to cure stubbornness is to sleep. Once I'm well rested, my emotional tie to my point of view is lessened and I am more receptive to admitting me being wrong.