Bob and I often talk about the importance of developing your intellectual factors (e.g., your will, imagination and memory).
However, as Bob just reminded us, everything has an opposite. So even though your intellectual factors hold the potential for ENORMOUS good, they also can very easily turn into destructive behavior.
I love that Bob brought this up because you don’t hear much about the destructive side of mental virtues these days. However, you should be aware of what can happen if you don’t direct your focus toward the positive polarity. So let’s dig a bit deeper into this idea.
Bob talked about how important it is to develop persistence in order to reach your goals. So today I’ll focus on its “negative brother,” stubbornness or obstinacy.
Henry Ward Beecher said, “The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is, that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.”
That’s a great way to put it because it makes the polarity between the two very clear.
As Bob said, it’s not difficult to find someone who persistently is doing what they don’t want to do and achieving results that they don’t want to achieve. A lack of persistence is not their problem. How they are using their persistence is.
So let’s take a look at how you’re using YOUR persistence …
Take a minute to look over your life. Think about the results you are getting in different areas.
Are there any areas where you are consistently getting the wrong results? Are your actions bringing you nothing but miserable disappointments? If so, you’re being stubborn rather than persistent in those areas.
Henri Frederic Amiel described the difference between the two very well when he said, “Obstinacy is will asserting itself without being able to justify itself. It is persistence without a reasonable motive.”
In other words, the reason you are constantly disappointed in the areas you identified is you don’t have a reasonable motive. Make sense?
While the difference between the two sides is clear on paper, it can be quite difficult to tell when you’ve fallen to the dark side in real life. And that’s not just true for persistence…
Any one of your intellectual factors can turn without warning into a destructive lethal enemy—when they’re not directed toward the results you want.
To avoid this problem, practice being aware. When you find that you are persistently doing things that lead to results you don’t want, stop and recognize that you’ve gotten off track.
Next, develop a clear image of what you really want and get emotionally involved with that image. THEN you can use your will power and persistence to get the results you truly want.
To more and better,
President/CEO & Co-Founder
Proctor Gallagher Institute