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When Does Optimism Become Stubbornness?

I’ve lost count of how many times I refused to change even when I knew it was the best thing to do. Maybe it was my stubbornness saying, “I’ll make it happen. I’m not a quitter.” Or maybe, I believed I was just being hopeful and optimistic.

Over the years I’ve learned there is a fine line between optimism and stubbornness. I dislike admitting this, but at times I can be hard-headed. It’s taken me years of experience to figure out optimism can quickly become stubbornness.

opimism - stubbornness
Let me share two definitions:

Optimism: Hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.

Stubbornness: Unreasonably obstinate; obstinately unmoving.
There seems to be a fine line that is unconsciously crossed when optimism becomes stubbornness. Something shifts from a softness to a hardness in your thinking – you can feel it emotionally and physically. Personally and/or professionally we’ve all been there – that place where we are disappointed something isn’t happening the way we planned, and yet we won’t stop or give up.

Remaining optimistic that things will improve is one thing – not stopping when a situation becomes detrimental is stubbornness.

Here’s what I’ve learned personally and professionally over the years:
1. I cannot change another person.
2. Optimism is fine until it begins to chip away at my self-esteem and/or self-confidence.
3. If I keep doing the same thing and keep getting results I don’t like, I have to either stop doing it or change how I am doing it. I’m the one who has to decide to change.
4. I am in control of how I react to what is happening around me.
5. Stubbornness can be detrimental to my physical, emotional and financial health.

I’m thinking of examples from my life to share with you. I wish you could see me shaking my head as I remember all the times I was too stubborn to see what was right in front of me or too stubborn to want to change. Looking back, my “I’ll make it work” attitude has given me many sleepless nights. If only I would have stepped back and looked at the situation with objectivity and not emotion.

Instead of sharing an example, I’ll share what I ask myself when a situation isn’t moving me forward or I’m feeling stuck.

1. Do I have the power to change this situation?
2. Am I willing to make the time and effort to figure out what to do next?
3. Am I willing to take action even if it means coming out of my comfort zone?
4. Do I need support from others to make this change?
5. How do I see life being better/happier/more satisfying because I’ve made this change?
6. If I do not have the power to change the situation, am I willing to make the best of the situation and go positively forward?
7. Am I willing to “live” with results of my choices?

I am an optimistic person. I’ve learned that optimism can sometimes blind me to what is actually happening in my life or business. I never want you to lose your optimism.

My advice: There comes a time when you have to step back and be totally honest with yourself and ask: “If I keep doing what I am doing, will I benefit from and enjoy the results I am getting?”
Please, share your thoughts and comments with us. We’d love to hear from you.
Here’s to a life filled with hope and optimism,

Sharon Michaels
Author – Blogger – Coach to Women Entrepreneurs
Owner of WomenWhoWantToSuccessfullyWorkForThemselves.com
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I’m Sharon Michaels and I help you recognize the self-sabotaging things that may be keeping you from enjoying success. http://SharonMichaels.com
Sharon Michaels
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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Bobbie Bushey February 20, 2017, 9:16 pm

    Great article. I have had to change my thinking so many times over the years, I lost count. Change in what I think or do is necessary in so many situations. Sharing on FB.

    • sharonmichaels February 21, 2017, 8:01 am

      I so agree with you. I too have lost count of how many times I had to change my position or thinking. I believe it is called wisdom.
      Thank you for sharing!


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