February 2020

Is stubborn thinking keeping your life stuck?

black and white bulls head

Are you always right?

"I'm right.
You're wrong.
How do I know this?
Easy . . .
Cos I'm right all the time.
So don't even go there!"

Or perhaps you really mean . . .

But this is how I do it.
I've always done it this way.
It's what works for me.
Why change the habit of a lifetime?
There's no other way.
I don't have time to change things now.
My way or the highway!

I’m sure you see what I’m getting at.

You love to think you’re right (almost) all the time.

It’s comfortable.
It’s safe.
You feel empowered.
It puts you in control.

You may not be saying these things out loud, but your brain often thinks them.

  • They’re unconscious
  • They’re hidden
  • They keep you stuck in the same old thinking

But this means . . .

  • You get the same results
  • You make the same mistakes
  • Your life stays stuck in a rut

To move your life forward, I’m going to show you the 4 reasons behind your stubborn thinking.
So you can challenge them and get unstuck.

So why does stubborn thinking happen?

Saying you’re right all the time comes from 4 things.

1. Threat Avoidance

First let's look at a situation where it doesn't happen.

Sometimes you find it easy to be open minded.

“Fancy trying this new fizzy Kiwi water!?”
"Hell yeah, this looks cool!"

You want the novelty.
The experience.

What’s the risk?
Not much.

Low risk, low impact, short lived.
It’s safe.

But when it comes to your life . . .

Some options seem a little scary.
A bit more complex.

Since the birth of time, us humans have been hardwired to avoid threat.
We do all we can to dodge it.
Unless it’s essential for our survival - think cavemen hunting wild beasts 🐗

The same's true today.

Your survival brain senses anything different to your 'normal, safe’ way of doing things could be a threat.
And it doesn’t like the idea of you venturing into danger territory.

When considering new options, your mind says,

“My way of doing things has kept me alive and safe so far.
Why change it now and take a risk?”

But in the modern world, threats are not the same as in prehistoric times.

Often the opposite is true.
By changing your approach, a whole world of possibility could open up!

2. Habits & Default Mode

The result of survival mode is habits are formed.
Often subconsciously.

Ones that keep you going round on autopilot.

  • You don’t even question them
  • You stay stuck in a loop
  • Your way becomes the ‘right’ way

When confronted with a new option or choice in life, it’s easier to stick with the status quo.
The way you’ve always done it.
Your natural habit, your default mode.

Your brain says,

'if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’

God forbid you break your habit.
It could all go terribly wrong.
The horrors of where that might lead you aren’t worth thinking about!!! 😱

But that’s the very thing you should do.
Step out of your default mode and consider a fresh perspective.

3. Brains don't like hard work

When it comes to challenging YOUR way of doing things, it can feel like a massive task.

Instead of a simple yes/no choice, like

'Do I fancy giving that kiwi water a go?'

It feels more involved, messier or uncomfortable.
In other words, hard work.


You have to use the analytical part of your brain.
The reasoning part.

But your brain doesn’t want the effort of going through a process of rationalisation.
It sticks to what it knows.
The easier option.

4. Mono-perspective

Another cause of stubborn thinking is your reaction to a totally alien concept.

One you’ve never come across before.
One that doesn’t fit with ‘your way’.

Here’s what I mean . . .

A few years ago I was reading a story to a French kid.
My friend’s son.
He was 3 years old and English was a whole new concept to him.

As we flicked through the pages of Goldilocks and The Three Bears, he pointed to the picture and exclaimed . . .

"Un ours, un ours !"
(French for bear)

"Yes, a bear" I said.

“Non, un ours” he replied with an irritated look.
Exasperated at my ignorance.

And in English, "a bear” I explained.

But for him, the possibility that this big brown fuzzy creature spooning porridge into a bowl was called anything other than ‘un ours’ was IMPOSSIBLE.
It was a totally alien concept that his brain was fighting to process.

“Un ours”
He rolled his eyes as if to say,
"Everyone knows that. Stupid!"

To him, this animal had only one name.
For the time being ; )

There are times when something doesn’t compute in your brain.
It's totally outside the ballpark.
You don’t want to accept it.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it.

The Alternative?
Get Unstuck!

Is your brain stubborn when it comes to accepting other options?

Yes, your way might be right, but there’s a whole world of alternatives.
There might've been many upgrades to how it’s done, since you first learnt.
But you’re still doing it the good-old-fashioned-way.

You’re so ritualised and engrained in YOUR way, you’re missing out.
Once you accept this, you’ll start to transform your life.

My question to you is  . . .

Are you ready to tackle your stubborn thinking?

Start now!

This week, challenge the belief that ‘you’re right’.
That your way is the only way.

Just allow yourself to imagine it’s not.
Force your brain to find a different path.
And explore the benefits and opportunities it could lead you to.

Have some fun with it.

Don't be a stubborn bull.
Step out of the muddy field and into a world of possibilities.

Stay inspired, take action, keep adventuring!

Matt Ainsley

life adventurer and unconventionalist

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