Strong-Willed or Willful
Having a strong will is having a strong mind. It is in many ways the opposite of being willful or codependent. Whereas willfulness derives from fear and insecurity, strong-minded people are confident and secure. This fundamental difference explains the ways in which these personality types are dissimilar. Read on to know if you are strong-willed or willful?
Fear is what makes self-willed people headstrong. They’re so afraid of losing something or someone that they’re driven to control situations. This is also why they ignore wise advice, critical feedback, or contrary facts that threaten their shaky self-esteem or present obstacles to achieving their objective.
Some willful people refute all authority and stop at nothing to get their way. Their tactics may vary from manipulation to criminality. They believe that they’re right and strive to attain their goals, but their thinking and insecurities limit them.
Fearing failure, they procrastinate and become paralyzed by seeking perfection and focusing on limitations and obstacles. They may deny their fear and impulsively take unwarranted risks, or be risk-averse and unwilling to try new things. They can be so compulsively single-minded that they’re blind to alternate solutions and new opportunities as well as potential adverse consequences.
Willful people are uncompromising negotiators who insist on winning every point. They can nag and argue relentlessly in an attempt to persuade the unpersuadable. They can lose their perspective and overlook important aspects of a deal. They may prevail, but lose opportunities, relationships, and their reputation. In the long run, a cooperative, working partnership in an ongoing venture is far more valuable.
Fear makes people behave compulsively and unable to be flexible and let go. Their anxiety can cause them to overthink things, get easily distracted, and avoid taking action and making decisions by procrastinating or wasting time with nonproductive busy work.
In contrast, strong-willed people are confident and have nothing to prove. They’re clear about their purpose and goals and prioritize their time and activities. They’re decisive risk-takers and don’t delay, seek validation, or wait for permission. Consequently, they’re uninhibited by fear of failure, disapproval, or rejection. Unafraid, they’re willing to take the initiative. They don’t mind being different or making mistakes. Rather than fearing the shame that failure might cause, they evaluate and learn from their missteps. Their confidence also makes them unafraid to experiment and think outside the box. For example, because they’re open-minded and not compulsive, they’re able to allow their imagination to present new directions and creative solutions.
They’re execution-oriented and focus on solutions and getting things done. Like the Serenity Prayer suggests, they accept what they cannot change and have the courage to change what they can. Thus, they compromise when necessary in order to move projects forward. Confidence keeps their ego at bay, so that they’re willing to learn, and adapt. They seek cooperation and to influence others, but they don’t waste time trying to control or argue with resistant people.
It’s a fact that successful people say “no” a lot. They value their time spent with others and with themselves. As a result, strong-willed people are clear about their boundaries with themselves and with other people. Their energy is focused and purposeful. They have the persistence and self-discipline to accomplish their goals, whether it’s learning a new skill, cleaning out the garage, or building a business. Their strong will enables them to have patience, presence, and an ability to defer gratification. They don’t waste time with self-defeating habits or addictive behavior.
Strong-minded people don’t lose sight of the bigger picture, including the moral dimensions. Firm boundaries protect their values and integrity. They don’t tolerate bad behavior in other people out of fear. They’re steadfast about what’s important to them, but also flexible and able to listen and ask questions.