Determination or Stubbornness: What Helps You Become an Achiever?

Determination or Stubbornness: What Helps You Become an Achiever?

This is a common topic of argument among people talking about how to achieve goals, i.e. are stubbornness and determination essentially the same? Both personality traits require the resolution to stick to your stance. However, the difference between the two can be shocking!

Understanding the Argument: Are you determined to succeed or just stubborn?

My life’s journey has yielded a conclusion—determination is critical to achieve your life’s goals while stubbornness may or may not inspire success.


If you are determined, you are most likely to have clearly-established goals. You are unwilling to change your viewpoint despite what others say. Being determined, you have mapped the path to achieve your goals. You are ready to conquer whatever adversities come along the way. For instance, to become the manager at your office, having better communication skills is considered important. You realize this and try to become more people-centric. You make a conscious effort to become more welcoming towards the opinion of others. You might not like this but since you are determined to succeed, you work harder towards developing better people-handling skills.


If you are stubborn, you have an inflexible, single-minded approach. You are likely to be very self-opinionated, totally undeterred by what others think. Your desires are of prime importance even if this means inconvenience to others. You don’t evaluate yourself based upon the general wisdom. For instance, you have set eyes on becoming the manager at your office. Your seniors tell you that better communication across the entire team/hierarchy is a necessary skill for this position.

You have been in the habit of sticking to your work. There is nothing wrong with this habit but it is a roadblock to achieving your goal. If you are stubborn, it is most likely that you snub the very idea of open communication. There is a higher probability that you stick to your viewpoint and wait for the management to accept your way of working. This might or might not happen. Here, stubbornness can become a constant reason for frustration. You might start blaming your colleagues and the management for not realizing the merits of your approach. You are more likely to feel bitter about not being given a fair chance.

The difference

In this example, if you are determined to succeed, you are more ready to adapt, maneuver, or even develop new skills to accomplish your goal. If you are just stubborn, you are more probable to carry grudges against your seniors and colleagues. This can make your work seem like a daily painful grind. The displeasure is bound to show in how you behave. Slowly, the unpleasantness can creep into your daily behavior, compromising the overall quality of your work and your personal life.

This is why stubbornness is looked upon as a flaw in character while determination is considered as a constructive trait. If you often find yourself confused about how to achieve goals, reassess whether you are stubborn or determined.

Stubbornness Can Make You Defeatist

Stubbornness represents a greater probability to magnify and multiply the negative experiences in your life. You become more susceptible to developing a discriminatory point of view about others. This mindset breeds negativity and circumspection that in turn, can make you pessimist and eat into your self-confidence. If you are determined, you benefit from a positive vibe that magnifies into greater self-confidence and the courage to take upon adversities in life. Conversely, stubbornness is bound to breed insecurity and shady (dishonest) strategies to succeed.

Stubbornness can be confused with a very persistent way of doing things. However, stubbornness is less likely to bring about positive changes in your life. It is a state of constant stagnation. You choose not to look beyond your immediate benefit. Your perception is very restricted and unreceptive to ideas that can help you live a more fulfilling life.

Being obstinate doesn’t inspire the creativity or passion required to pursue life’s goals. This decreases the probability of succeeding through your efforts. Stubbornness is more closely associated with being over-sensitive. Such people are not open to discussion or constructive criticism that can improve their quality of life. They perceive liberal thinking as a threat since it means thinking outside the realm of their habits or schedule.

The Zen mindset promotes honesty. You need to be honest with yourself and listen to what your conscience says. Try to introspect via meditation. Just spend a few minutes of absolute solace where you can assess your approach. You are likely to conclude that being stubborn has often led you to a path of self-destruction.