I guess I should have started rooting for Tom Brady a long time ago.
At least that was my thought as I watched him win his seventh Super Bowl. That’s three more Super Bowl wins than any other quarterback in NFL history. For that matter, Brady has more Super Bowl wins than any other team in NFL history. Add to his rings three MVP awards, 14 Pro Bowl appearances, and a slew of other accolades and he’s easily the most successful player to ever step on the gridiron. It’s obvious my time would have been better spent learning to love Tom Brady.
But I just can’t. And I’m not alone. Outside of New England, and now Tampa, it’s safe to say Brady is hardly a fan favorite. There are even social media pages devoted to the sole purpose of bashing the man.
Why is that? Because he’s had tremendous success on and off the field? Because he’s exhibited the discipline and tenacity to last two decades in a sport where most only last two years? It’s not like he’s stacked up a pile of major infractions over his career. Other than “Deflate-gate,” his record is pretty clean, which is saying something. Why is he not universally revered instead of reviled?
But this is not a column about football. This is a column about being stubborn.
About wanting so badly to be right, that you ignore any evidence that proves you wrong.
I’m going to guess you know someone who’s a little set in their ways. Maybe that person is a family member, or even yourself. (It’s probably both of you. You do share DNA.)
Some see stubbornness as a point of pride. After all, we’re told all of our lives to “Never give up” and “Quitters never win.” But there’s a fine line between perseverance and stubbornness.
Perseverance means striving for the goal, but also being willing to change tactics when faced with failure. Stubbornness is an unrelenting commitment to the process — to doing it how it’s always been done — even if it’s not getting you any closer to the results you want. We could all use a good dose of perseverance, but a stubborn nature can hold back progress.
Farmers have perseverance by the truck load. They have to. Truth be told, they can be a little stubborn, too. (I know, I share DNA with a few.) I recently heard a story of a farmer who stood up in an estate planning seminar and announced he had no intention of ever dying. Considering the odds, that’s pretty stubborn.
But change does happen, whether we like it or not. When we’re wrong, be it about a business decision, a relationship, or even a quarterback, acceptance is not always a bad thing.
It would have at least made seven Super Bowls a bit more enjoyable.