06 Dec Stubbornness-Be-Gone!
I wore the standard men’s haircut for 47 years. More than several times before my wife died she had asked me to wear it longer, but when I told the barber he didn’t listen.
My girlfriend asked me to wear it longer. When it seemed really long I told my barber to leave it longer. He gave me a longer standard cut. My next barber did the same. On my fourth attempt, my girlfriend’s stylist got it right. Everyone seems to like it much better; me in particular.
Years ago, my wife had asked me to make the coffee stronger, but the measuring scoop was the standard. I made it a little stronger, but still not as strong as she would have preferred it.
Now that my wife is gone, I can’t seem to comb my hair or make a pot of coffee without wishing I had been more accommodating.
These things seemed so easy to change; it was easy for her to assume that I was stuck in my ways. Was I being stubborn? Was my stubbornness directed at her?
I had invested a lot of money in a stock that did nothing for a year. Then, in a matter of days, it shot up twenty times my investment. Did I sell it? NO! Did it go back down? YES! Did I miss that opportunity because I was stubborn? No…I only had a few days in which to act. I had never sold a stock before and I was so busy slaying dragons at work I didn’t get around to it.
Rather than assume that another person is stuck in their ways, ask him (or her) if there is anything you can do to help, decide or act. Whether you get a well-reasoned or a put-off response, gather information that will show the benefits of a change or show how easy the steps would be to make the change.
My work was intense.
- She didn’t make a case for the change she wanted.
- She didn’t approach me as if I would naturally want to cooperate and want what was best for her or what she wanted.
- I didn’t have a clear picture of the outcome the change would have produced.
- I didn’t know how to make the changes.
- She didn’t help me to see how important the changes would have been to her.
- Being mad or sad wasn’t going to getting me over my practical and dutiful ways.
- Affection, lightheartedness and some homework would have got her anything she wanted.
You can be sure that this time around I am making time to find a better barber, coffee scoop and stock broker. If the change you want means enough to you, keep trying other approaches. Keep it light; never present the new information as if your spouse is going to be difficult. Never start with a YOU statement. Don’t interrupt a very good or very bad occasion to bring up new business. Keep all matters open for reconsideration.
If you win your point, savor the moment as a natural result of his affection for you and a bonding experience. Don’t react as if it is a victory. In his presence, tell others how wonderful and accommodating he is. That will make him more so, and both you and he will be the envy of the others in your group.
Unresolved issues kill closeness.
Lead with your affection;
It’s the most powerful tool you have for changing the old coot.