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Stubborn To A Virtue
By Donny Shankle

“Thanks to God that he gave me stubbornness when I know I am right.” - John Adams  

I admit I can be stubborn at times. Heck I can be stubborn a lot of the time and I imagine most athletes are to some extent. This stubborn attitude plays a large part towards perfection. Records are not broken and gold medals are not won by push-overs. There are two types of stubbornness. The good stubborn is being stubborn to a virtue. The bad stubborn is being stubborn to a fault. 

The recurring trait you’ll see across all champions is their unwillingness to quit or give in. You can call it determination but stubborn is more personal. This is what gives it strength. It’s more individual. You don’t say the team is stubborn. You say he is stubborn or she is stubborn. Someone like Christopher Columbus for example we can call stubborn. People told him the world was flat. They said he would fall off the edge of the Earth if he sailed too far. He refused to believe such nonsense and as a result he found a new world. This is what stubborn to a virtue is.

When you are beaten then learn how not to be beaten again. When the facts are shown to you proving you’re wrong don’t continue beating a dead horse. This is the exact opposite to being stubborn to a virtue and is called being stubborn to a fault. It’s continuing to head down the same path even when “you” know you are wrong. That’s the important bit. It’s not when everyone else says you’re wrong. Nine times out of ten criticism from others is quite often a sign you are in fact right. Dealing with it like a man is what leadership is all about. Being stubborn to a fault is an internal struggle that needs to be overcome first before you can continue moving forward. It’s the negative juxtaposition between stubbornness and it’s enemy stupidity.

When the hurdler runs his race and hits the hurdles does he not try to pick up his foot a little higher and time his stride better? He is in essence not changing how he moves, but he is forcing himself to do it better. He does this in order to cross the line a split second sooner than the man next to him. That’s stubborn to a virtue. If he continued to run through the hurdles and lose then that’s being stubborn to a fault. If you’re proven to be wrong then back up and reevaluate your premises. Don’t be stupid. Stubbornness ought to push you and keep you from taking no for an answer. It should not keep you static. Therefore stubborn to a virtue can only be good. Consequently, stubborn to a fault will lead to an attitude without reason. 

My stubbornness I view as a virtue. It has always helped me in my life and only crossed into being a vice when I ceased from being stubborn and instead chose to be stupid. The degree I took my stubborn attitude has always been the same but the line between virtue and fault was thin. When I knew I was right, or I knew I could lift the weight, I believed wholeheartedly I could. It’s the stubborn to a virtue attitude which keeps you moving forward. It’s the stubborn man who makes his good dreams real. Weightlifting is one of many challenges. All I can tell you is face this challenge head on and pray your stubbornness lasts as long as the beating of your heart.