The Positive Side of Negative Traits Pt. 1

When socializing with other humans, it is very common to come across people with negative traits. But are these traits inherently bad? Is having even the slightest amount of a certain negative trait actually negative at all? Can there be a positive side to these aspects?

I was speaking with a girl at an event not to long ago, and she was big into the zodiac signs. I am too, at least to an extent, I’ve always found them interesting. I try not to automatically just people because of their sign, because I believe the way people act goes far beyond the way the stars were aligned on the day they came screaming and bloody into this world.

According to my sign I am stubborn (which I’m DEFINITELY not,) and as we were talking she pointed that out. Now what do you do when someone says you’re stubborn? Well the stubborn thing to do would be to say “I’m not stubborn!” But what’s the alternative? To just say “yeah, you’re right…” which would be the opposite of stubborn… or is it? Life is pretty unfair when people assume you’re stubborn without even knowing you.

But as our conversation went on I explained something to this lovely girl I met – it’s perfectly okay to be a little stubborn, in fact, every great person who ever achieved anything amazing had to have some level of stubbornness to get where they are.

And this is true for other traits as well

That night I thought about how some negative traits are really only bad and harmful to yourself and others when they become extreme. Consider each of the traits on yourself as honest as you can, and put them on a level of 1 through 10 – 10 being the highest and most extreme (text book definition status.)


Stubborn

The opposite of being stubborn, or Zero Stubbornness, would be to accept everyone’s opinion as truth. It’d be like me giving someone amazing advice and then that same person going up to somebody else and believing the opposite without any consideration to what they just heard you tell them. I’m pretty sure no one is like this.

How to find the right amount of STUBBORN: First, learn to become an independent thinker, and be conscious of how stubborn you naturally are. I am aware that I can be stubborn, so when faced with contradicting evidence of a topic, I won’t always immediately disapprove of it, but instead seek out the middle ground in an attempt to find the truth. This does NOT mean to go and dig up confirming evidence of what you believe. For the love the [insert deity here] there is nothing worse than someone who is so convinced about X that you cannot even begin to slightly contradict their belief without dealing with a shit storm of verbal backlash and then figuring out that all they did was read a few articles on Huffington Post. Don’t be that person.

Second, realize that there is some level in truth in all things. By this I mean that many ideologies and beliefs are seldom entirely wrong. Ultimately, avoid extremities. It is okay to have an opinion but remember to question yourself more than you question others.

Third, if all else fails, accept the other persons opinion, and just shut your damn mouth. As the stoics say, silence is safest.

On a side note, the most stubborn of people tend to be the really nice ones. The ones who almost agree before you finish, who smile and nod without even a cringe of their nose or any facial acknowledgment. These people will believe what they already believe regardless and are just choosing to avoid conflict. In this instance, chances are that this person simply doesn’t respect your opinion even if you told them where you hid a billion dollars.

When we learn a few things, we think we’ve really got it figured out. But as we learn more and more, we start to wonder if we know anything at all.

Pride

Pride as most people know can definitely be a weakness. But it can also be a powerful virtue. So when do we know when pride is bad or when pride is good?

How to find the right type of PRIDE: Ever meet someone who is so proud of their achievements? Their new shiny truck, their cool sun glasses, their fancy title. It is okay to be proud of these things, until these things become a tool that you will over others like a pissing match, or become sensitive of when judged.

Pride says “I’m important, who are you to speak to me?” “Who are you to judge me?” The problem with this is they let their ego halt their ability to see themselves in a true light. Pride may be similar to stubborn in how they don’t want to hear other opinions but will also react with selfishness and anger. They not only resent your opinion of their (x) but they also take it personally that you even mentioned so.

A good type of pride is a silent type. “Discretion is the better part of Valor.” I’ve seen many men work hard on their craft, never needing a nudge, never needing to point out how good their work is, just focusing, diligently, on the tasks in front of them. Taking TRUE pride in their work, without boasting.

Like most things in life, a sense of pride that is truly virtuous comes from a place deep inside us, where we can see our authentic nature; where our values are harmonious with reason and logic.

It’s good to be proud of a hard days work, but this pride should sit in your heart and not on your shoulders. It’s good to be proud of your kids because they’re good students or athletes, but you shouldn’t be the parent who boasts or brags. (Plus that behavior will be passed down to your children.)

Pride is in the work ethic, not the swagger.

Part 2 coming soon… remain forever a student to life.

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