The difference between resilience and stubbornness

A few weeks ago I saw a talk about one of those success stories after a lot of business near-death experience. For the n-th time I heard they just kept going and believing on their business, survived the downturn and became a multi-million dollar corporation with hundreds of employees.

The always skeptical bug on me kept thinking: OK, another entrepreneur telling the secret to success is persistence and hard-work. Big deal.

How do you really distinguish if you are being resilient or just stubborn and refusing to die?

After reading a book called Leadership and Self-Deception in 2002 I become obsessed with the proposed problem at the book which is how do you know if the cause of a problem is yourself, but you can’t see it (I am really oversimplifying here).

So, I asked… “You tell me to be resilient, but what’s the difference between that and just being plain stubborn.”

For the first time I heard a satisfying answer: adaptability.

The founder went on to elaborate: If you adapt and persist, you are being resilient. If you don’t adapt and continue persisting, you are just stubborn.

If you read Seth Godin’s The Dip, you’ll see that winners quit all the time. The quit dead initiatives, they quit on dead-ends, but they persist, survive and live to tell the story on the projects that matter.

Marcelo Calbucci

Marcelo Calbucci

I'm a technologist, founder, geek, author, and a runner.