The Difference Between Stubborn and Tenacious

“The difference between tenacity and stubbornness is that one comes from a strong will and the other from a strong won’t.” – Anonymous

Stubbornness says:

  • I will do this on my own.  I don’t need help.
  • I don’t care what you say or what the data shows, this is the way it’s going to be done.
  • There is only one way and that’s my way.
  • It’s your fault.
  • You don’t understand the vision.

Stubbornness believes asking for or needing help is a sign of weakness. Stubborn is a child with his fingers in his ears, eyes tightly shut, saying “I can’t hear you!”  Stubbornness is obstinate refusal.

Tenacity, on the other hand, says:

  • How can we work together to achieve our goal?
  • What can we change or do differently to achieve a better outcome?
  • I need your advice.
  • Your support is valuable.

Tenacity works just as hard as stubborn, but welcomes and invites support from others.  Tenacity is open to ideas and suggestions and realizes that proof of failure is not failure; it’s merely an indication that a new path needs to be explored.  Tenacity is dedicated determination.

I know I’ve been guilty of stubbornness and chances are, it will happen again.  Latching onto an idea or a vision is a good thing, but when we refuse to share and invite others into the vision and the process, that stubbornness gets in the way of success.  Sometimes tenaciousness includes significant time and effort convincing others of the validity of the vision, but it’s worth the effort.

What do you think is the difference between stubborn and tenacious?


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