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On Stubbornness

So I may have been talking about going with the flow yesterday, but historically I have a very strong record of stubbornness. Of trying to make things go the way I want them to. Even when almost all hope is gone, I have flogged many a dying horse to its last breath, and sometimes, admittedly, beyond. Never a real horse, I hasten to add. Just an idea-horse, or a desire-horse.

Stubbornness can be a powerful virtue. I mean, sure, your contrary behind gets on everyone else’s nerves whenever they try to get you to see sense, but sometimes being sensible isn’t the best course. Sometimes what you’re after is something decidedly not sensible. Sometimes you want The Impossible Dream.

Only stubborn people (and maybe very, very lucky people, but I’m not convinced) ever achieve The Impossible Dream. They’re the only ones stupid and hard-headed enough to keep trying long after it seems clear that it’s not going to work out. The Impossible Dream requires persistence, and resilience. Stubborn people have these qualities; deeply instilled and honed from years of disagreeing with everyone and everything that tries to change their mind.

But stubbornness has a cost. It requires a whole lot of energy. And let’s be frank: The Impossible Dream is called that for a reason. The odds are not stacked in your favour. A lot of times, refusing to give up is going to lead to an exhausted failure.

Failure is wonderful. Failure teaches you so much that success never will. But it’s not fun. Especially when you’ve expended every last iota of energy to make something work. And picking yourself back up after that, and maybe even still refusing to see sense, well that takes a lot out of you.

So what is my point? Stubbornness is really useful. Chasing The Impossible Dream is fantastic. But it’s bloody hard work. You need to pick your battles. The wise person chooses the right times to be stubborn, and also the right Impossible Dream. The wise person equally knows when to let things go, or let things simply play out around them.

I have spent a lot of time not being wise. I fought every battle I came across for years, and then got so depleted that I had to become a dream pacifist for a while. I have visited both ends of the spectrum and explored what they have to offer. Now I’m trying to have the wisdom to employ each inclination at the appropriate time.

I am not a wise person yet, of course.

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