If you have a stubborn person in your life, consider yourself lucky. Stubborn people can be annoying, stressful and drive you crazy. Your stubborn person could be the person who sits next to you at work or your own father. Once you learn how to work with him (not against him), you will be shocked to discover how strong, smart and clever you are.
1. Bring it on! Start a new attitude.
View a stubborn person as an opportunity to become a better version of yourself. You’ve heard, “You can’t change anyone else, you can only change yourself.” Well, here’s your chance. Change the way you view that challenging person.
2. Take a pause.
Resist the urge to engage in an argument. Impulse control is a character strength that will help you. Don’t give in to your defense impulse. Excuse yourself to go to the bathroom (where you can let out a scream, shake it off, and go back to the brick wall you have to face).
3. Play word chess.
Strategically plan your conversations. The right move with the right words can result in a positive outcome instead of a fight. It’s up to you to say the right thing. Just do everything you can to avoid saying “No, you are wrong.” Present your opposing opinion with respect and dignity.
4. Get them to listen to what you have to say.
Sit down, don’t talk to your boyfriend if he’s in the bathroom while you’re sitting in bed. Take it to a table. Try to keep the conversation business-like. Listen to the volume and tone of your own voice. Remember: Talk face-to-face and heart-to-heart.
5. The right time…
Wait for the opportune moment to make your point. If you’re talking to a man, feed him first. If you’re talking to a female, before you talk, check out her mood stats. Is she stressed out and annoyed or smiley and calm? Ask yourself, is this the best time to present my case?
6. Go slow.
This is a process. Learn to wait (discover how patient you can be). It takes time to open a closed mind.
7. Break it into segments.
A stubborn person suffers from temporary hearing loss. The only opinion he hears is his own. An opposing opinion should be delivered in small portions. Plant seeds, leave pebbles, break it down. Little segments are easier to digest.
8. Think about their point of view.
Practice compassion. It’s hard to be patient with a person who is pushing your back against the wall, but try to understand (without doing a full psychoanalysis) what she sees. If you have four brothers and enjoy seeing her, your only child girlfriend will not understand why you want to meet her for dinner once a week.
9. Stubborn people are smart, good in business, and great decision makers.
Don’t rush to change him. Flip your thinking: Realize a brick wall attitude is a positive strength. Persistence is a good thing. Stubbornness is a close relative of perseverance; a trait needed for success. Think of how it benefits you.
10. Take the reigns.
Do not hook into his anti-everything, nay-saying attitude. See through it, identify it, acknowledge it (silently in your mind), and take control of how you handle the situation. Without putting him down, try to see his point of view and then respectfully (no head-butting allowed) show him his opinion is important, then gently ask him to respect your opposing opinion.
11. Breathe deeply.
Dealing with a stubborn person can be exhausting. It feels like you are walking on eggshells, whenever you take a step, you can hear the crackling under your feet. Whatever you say is never the right thing to say.
12. Enjoy the new you!
Once you master these skills, you are the king (or queen) of the conversation. You are now calmer, smarter and stronger than you were before. Sounds like a lot of work but when you practice these tips, it will become natural. Look at it this way: Some of the greatest contributors to society are of strong mind and will. Where would we be without the stubbornness of Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates? Stubbornness is the drive to push through the challenges, (as long as you’re not one of them).
There is a fine line between stubbornness and persistence. Strong-willed people are not easy to deal with when it comes to people skills, but ironically enough, it could be one of the secrets to success. Determination and persistence are character traits required for success.
Even Bill Gates admits he is stubborn. In a Rolling Stone Magazine interview, when Bill Gates was asked: “You mentioned Mark Zuckerberg. When you look at what he’s done, do you see some of yourself in him?” Gates, “Oh, sure. We’re both Harvard dropouts, we both had strong, stubborn views of what software could do.”
“Stubbornness almost to the point of dumb optimism [allowed me to be successful].” Tom Horton, former president and CEO of American Airlines.
Stubborn people are strong-willed people, a skill necessary to become successful in business. However, it’s not easy to live with them. Once you stop viewing this personality trait as negative, stop butting heads with them, and learn how to deal with a determined leader, you will become the top gun. Thank your stubborn person for making you a better person.