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My stubbornness as a child

   
   
   When I was a boy I had a reputation for being stubborn.  I 
   don't personally recall any incidents in which I exhibited 
   stubbornness when I was young and I am not sure I considered 
   myself stubborn but I do remember that my parents regarded me 
   as stubborn.  And not just stubborn but stubborn in the 
   extreme.  According to them stubbornness was my most 
   distinguishing personality trait.  My mother once told me that 
   I was a completely new encounter for her; that as a teacher she 
   had had experience with a lot of children, but I was something 
   completely different, something she had never encountered 
   before, and she just didn't know how to handle me.  I remember 
   she has told me that when I was young (age 1-3 ?) that if I 
   didn't get my way I would have terrible temper tantrums.  My 
   father has related an incident that happened at about the same 
   age.  My pants were down and he pulled them up.  I pushed them 
   back down.  He then pulled them back up.  I then pushed them 
   back down again.  I am not sure how long this extreme 
   stubbornness lasted but if you do assume that I was stubborn, 
   and I assume that I was if they say I was, then that fact may 
   throw light on other parts of my personality.  I know for 
   example, that when I was in school, my biggest strength was my 
   perseverance, tenacity, determination, stick-to-itiveness.  My 
   mental abilities were not great but I made up for my 
   deficiencies and weaknesses with perseverance and determination 
   and I know that perseverance and determination have been one of 
   my biggest assets throughout my life.  I don't give up and I 
   don't accept defeat.  I solve the problem and I finish what I 
   start.  And as I observe life and people I realize more and 
   more how important the character traits of perseverance and 
   determination are to success in life.  They are extremely 
   important --- perhaps more important than any other thing.  Now 
   I observe this: stubbornness and perseverance and determination 
   are all very closely related.  If you look in Roget's Thesaurus 
   you will find them all listed right next to each other.  They 
   all suggest a strong will.  The difference lies only in how 
   that will is directed.  Perseverance is stubbornness about not 
   accepting defeat.  Other personality traits may also be a 
   manifestation of stubbornness.  Independence in thinking, 
   having a mind of your own, is a manifestation of stubbornness.  
   Personality traits such as self-control, self-mastery and self-
   denial are all achieved by a strong will --- by a stubborn 
   determination to bring your mind and body into conformity with 
   what your thought and intellect demands.  Some people of 
   integrity can be absolutely stubborn and bullheaded about 
   sticking to their principles.  Thus stubbornness, if it becomes 
   modified through thought and reflection, through increased 
   understanding and intellectual enlightenment, through a change 
   in attitude towards people, may change from simple irrational 
   obstinacy and contrariness and turn into something good.  The 
   person who is stubborn and contrary when he is young may become 
   the resolute person of will when he gets older.  Mother once 
   told me that she had come to see that the personality traits 
   that she once considered faults in me were actually my 
   strengths.  She was probably thinking about my stubbornness.  
   Stubbornness can be a sort of diamond-in-the-rough --- it has 
   potential. 


   Sept 2002
            

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