Whether it is you having problems with stubbornness, or someone you know, it is helpful to start with the root cause of stubbornness. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that it's pride. I don't mean a healthy sense of who you are. I'm talking about destructive pride, where you know that you are right. It's not that you think you are right. No. It’s a whole different level. You KNOW you are right. And because of that, you get stuck.

People are stubborn and don’t want to move from the position of being right. Let me tell a story to illustrate what I mean. This is personal, because yes, I know that I'm right too.

A friend of mine, Dr. Cameron Mosher had suggested that I attend his course. It's a ropes course,  a skill-building course. I had been avoiding Dr. Cam for years because his website is walkedonfire.com. Come on! I know about fire. I'm not going to walk on fire. That's craziness.

Well, Cam told me, “Paul, this is going to be a powerful experience for you, you have got to come do the course.” Well, because of a lot of circumstances in my life, I actually went to his fire walk. Now, think about this for a minute: I'm sitting in the group signing a waiver.

What is wrong with me?

Now, the reason I ended up there in the first place is because of circumstances in my own life that had gotten a little out of control. Can you relate to this? I talk about this in the first chapter of my book, Pathological Positivity, it's called Lightning Strikes.  

In the book, I talked about this experience which had left me at one of the lowest places in my entire life, and I didn't know what to do to get out of it. Well, that's why I showed up at Cam's course. I finally realized, “You know what? Maybe I'm not right about everything. Maybe I don't know everything.”

I was a Boy Scout when I was younger. I can start a fire with 2 sticks, and I know that it'll burn you. I know this because of my experience with fire. Still, I show up at the fire walk. I asked, “Why do we have to sign the waiver?” He's like, “It's fire. We can't take that kind of liability on.”

This is weird, right?

To make a longer story shorter, I found myself preparing with the other people in that group to actually walk on burning coals in my bare feet. Cam had told me, “You know what, Paul? You can welcome burning coals on your bare feet, and your feet remain in perfect condition.” And my crap meter is going off. You know the one that probably went off in your head too, “No, this is impossible.” Right? And I knew I was right about that.

Whoa! Check it out. How many times had I walked on fire at that point? Zero. I was kind of proud of that number. How many times had Cam walked on fire? Probably hundreds. I think he had taken like 20,000 people through his course at that point. Who is right? Me, or Cam?

But it was my destructive pride that had me stubbornly clinging to what I knew was right.

As opposed to being open.

I wish I could just take you there and you could see Dr. Paul walking on fire. I walked that fire three times that night. After I did it the first time I'm like, “No way. That didn't just happen.” See, I still know that I'm right. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence that I wasn't.

You know what went through my mind as soon as I crossed that fire? What else? What else do I know for sure that I'm dead wrong about? What else is getting in my way? Or making me stubbornly stay right where I am because I know that I'm right instead of getting past that. Was I open to new possibilities?

I kept some of the coals from that fire and I have them in a little jar on my desk. It's a reminder to me that I need to give up my need to be right in exchange for being open. How powerful is that?

So, here is what I learned from my fire walk experience. First of all, I'm not right about everything. And I think that's probably the key. Being stubborn it's when we hang on to being right. I would much rather now give up my need to be right in exchange for being open. Open to possibilities. Open to new things.

Did you know that better is always different?

If you stubbornly hang on to what it is, you never get to have an upgrade. Better is always different by definition. Let's give up our need to be right, and give up that stubbornness so that we can create new possibilities for ourselves and for everybody around us.


To get a copy of Pathological Positivity, my book, go to www.drpauljenkins.com.