The rather spiffing Kani Kandu has contributed to my website before, and her writing has always prompted discussion and debate. I’m very glad to host her writing again here; have a read of her excellent commentary.
We all have our own quirks and traits which make us…well us. Just think how boring the world would be if we were all made, think and are good at the same things? It is a non-religious example of how Darwin’s theory of evolution dissipates in front of our very eyes. We grow up with the idea that we are partly made by nature, i.e. our ancestral DNA, and the rest is carefully nurtured by our surroundings as we grow and evolve into individual personalities. However, is there such a thing as a bad trait to have and if so does this make us a weaker individual? There is one particular, very individual attribute I am thinking of as I write this personal confession, stubbornness.
The idea of stubbornness has a stereotypical image of an egotistical, big headed, self-named hotshot who does not consider other’s opinion, making them difficult people to live and work with. But if you should dig that little deeper into this mindset, you’ll find a whole treasure of finds similar to that of an archeological dig. At this point, you may think that I am talking drivel conjured up in my overthinking mind, however this trait is something which is at the forefront of my own personality and therefore have chosen to take on the role of archaeologist.
My drive and determination is something that has seen me through my academia, jobs, personal relationships and physical challenges. It is the fire in my belly which I have had for as long as I can remember. The idea that I was stubborn is something that I have only come to realise in fairly recent times. I am aware that it is somewhat of a family heir loom carried from one generation to the next but never had previously thought that I had also carried on this family tradition. The egotistical stereotype that I alluded to earlier is one which I would like to banish. Being stubborn is so much more than this shallow facade which you may see at first glance. For me, stubbornness is the eternal drive and determination which has in equal parts played a huge part and hindered my biggest achievements.
As some may know from a previous blog that I have written, 2017 was an incredibly tough but somewhat momentous year. I started back in January as one of these ‘new year, new me’ wannabes and finished at the end of the year having lost 30% of my body weight, run my first charity fun run and lifted more weight than I could ever imagine. These huge personal milestones are ones that have not just landed in my lap, they have taken an immense amount of hard work, blood, sweat, tears and to be blunt, a whole lorry load of stubbornness. I have always had the mindset that if I am going to start something, I will finish it. Nothing or no one will ever stand in my way of that and this is a prime example of where pure unbridled bloody-mindedness, determination, motivation, drive aka. stubbornness can lead to incredible results.
It would be somewhat of a lie for me to finish with this biased opinion as my stubbornness has very recently come back to bite me in a big way, which I must confess is not the first time. My inner drive and determination has been known to push me just that little too far. Throughout 2017 with the continual need to get fitter and stronger, came the inevitability of numerous injuries. I had the intelligence to know as an outsider looking into my own weird world, like a ghost of myself looking into a snow globe, that I had to listen to the professionals telling me to recover, but there was a little something, maybe a devil on my shoulder that wouldn’t let me. The ever increasing urge and belief that I knew best was just that too big to resist which of course was never going to end well. One would think that lessons would be learnt from this given the possible long term consequences that it could have had, but this is where the good old stubborn mindset just can’t be told. It is a feeling that can’t really be explained, but maybe that if you are hooked to a drug and you are so desperate for that hit, there is absolutely nothing that can stop you trying to get it. Of course, I am not comparing myself to a drug addict in need of her next hit, purely the drive that one can only imagine you would have to get it and the inability to consider other’s reasoned opinions.
As a reward for 2017, I started 2018 on the incredible ski slopes of Austria, the very first time on a pair of skis and I must say, even with the consideration of the the subsequent events, the most incredible holiday. After three days of incredible skiing, my head very ungracefully met the very un-fluffy and somewhat concrete like snow. As I’m sure you can imagine, a human head does not come off very well against this unforgiving surface and ultimately led to quite nasty injuries. It was of course doctors orders that no way was I to ski for the rest of the holiday. It may have taken nearly all day for me to be persuaded that it would indeed be a good idea for me to return my skis, but at least I came to that sensible decision with the very valued opinion of my lovely friend. Also the doctor said no skiing, but nothing was mentioned about paragliding …
It became increasingly apparent upon my return home that these injuries were possibly more serious than I had originally given them credit for. The inability to both move my head more than a couple of inches or to remember simple plans for a work trip for more than half a day was a clear indication that all was not well. But of course a head injury was not going to stop me from doing my job, keeping my social life and of course, going to the gym.
You are probably reading this insight into my somewhat crazy being wondering what on earth possessed me to do this. To be honest, looking back, I can’t really answer that. All I know is at that time, when I was so absorbed in everything going on around me, I believed that I knew best and if I’m brutally honest, I don’t believe for one minute that I would do it any different if it was repeated.
So stubbornness, it is not a trait which should be taken lightly nor one that should define the person who beholds it, or maybe more correctly, who it beholds. It is not necessarily an excuse to be an egotist but a thread that runs through every inch of their being which drives them to becoming possibly the most successful yet infuriating people you should ever hope to meet.