50 Stubborn Quotes Showing the Power of Defiant Words

Like a character from an action movie who refuses to back down in the face of overwhelming odds, stubborn quotes capture our attention and inspire us to keep pushing forward.

Being stubborn can be a positive or negative trait.

Check out our stubborn quotes to learn more about the history of the word stubborn. 

You might also like some of these articles about being stubborn:

What does it mean to be stubborn?

The word stubborn can have different meanings. 

The most common negative definition is a person unwilling to change or alter their feelings and opinions. 

The positive definition of stubborn can apply to someone focused on a goal and refuses to give up on it, no matter what. 

Check out these facts about being stubborn below:

  • Stubborn people are not stubborn all the time
  • External stimuli can trigger a person to be stubborn 
  • Stubborn people have a “No, I won’t, and you can’t make me,” mindset

We often describe stubborn people as obstinate, complicated, or resistant. 

The idea of being stubborn does not just apply to people. 

Some etymologists even trace the word’s origin to felled trees that left stubs in the ground that were difficult to remove; hence they were ‘stubborn.’ 

Another example is if you spill grape juice on a white shirt, you may call it a stubborn stain that refuses to wash out. 

Stubborn can apply to solid or liquid materials that are physically stiff, inflexible, not easily worked, or washed out. 

Where does the word stubborn come from?

Stubborn is an old English word recorded in history as early as 1350. 

Hundreds of years ago, the word’s spelling was different, so forms such as stiborne, stuborn, and styborne were common in the past. 

What is the psychology behind stubbornness?

Some argue that stubbornness is learned, while others suggest it is innate. 

The human mind is full of ironies and nuanced paradoxes. 

Stubbornness is an aspect of the complexity surrounding human personality.

Stubborn people are not stubborn about everything all the time. 

There may be some things in life they are unwilling to consent to, or they may fear an undesirable outcome. 

It is important to remember that most human behaviors are reward-seeking and pain-avoiding. 

Some people choose to be stubborn because they believe they will get what they want. 

A person may use being stubborn to prevent resistance from others who may get in their way. 

Other people are stubborn when external conditions trigger them. 

We see this phenomenon manifest in children all the time. 

Kids might become stubborn if they believe it will alter the outcome of situations with their parents. 

For example, a child may be told to clean their room, but they may refuse unless they get a treat first. 

The parent may tell the child to clean the room first, but the child may be stubborn to get what they want first until the parent rewards the behavior. 

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In this scenario, the child observes that asking nicely for a treat does not result in them getting it.

The child also observes that remaining stubborn successfully results in them getting a treat. 

Therefore, they learn that being stubborn is beneficial to their desires. 

We can observe this same behavior in adults. 

Stubbornness is like a tool; it can help or hinder our development depending on how we use it. 

If you want to know more about what it means to be stubborn, check out our awesome stubborn quotes below. 

Short stubborn quotes and wise sayings

These stubborn quotes are short, sweet, and get right to the point. 

1. “You would be too stubborn to die.” — Rachel Hawkins

2. “Stubbornness leads to strong will.” — Lailah Akita

3. “I am not stubborn; I am determined.” — Efrat Cybulkiewicz

4. “Senseless stubbornness leads to sin.” — Lailah Gifty Akita

5. “I’m not stubborn. My way is just better.” — Maya Banks

6. “Stubbornness is the bearer of disaster.” — Janvier Chouteau-Chando

7. “Stubbornness is the strength of the weak.” — Johann Kaspar Lavater

8. “Stubborn isn’t the same thing as infallible.” — V.E. Schwab

9. “Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.” — Amit Kalantri

10. “Stubborn people get themselves in a lot of trouble, but they also get things done.” — Anna Paquin

Stubborn as a mule quotes for when you just don’t feel like it

Mules are known for being stubborn, but these quotes remind us that stubbornness is sometimes an important trait. 

11. “You don’t stay undefeated without being a little stubborn.” — Andre Ward

12. “Mules had nothing on me when it came to being stubborn.” — Ann Mayburn

13. “Being stubborn has helped; being selfish is not a bad thing.” — Herbie Mann

14. “You need a stubborn belief in an idea in order to see it realized.” — James Dyson

15. “But there is a fine line between determination and stubbornness.” — Ed Adamson

16. “I’m stubborn; once I start something, I want to see how far I can go.” — Oksana Masters

17. “Magic happens when a stubborn soul never gives up on her dreams!” — Avijeet Das

18. “It takes a special kind of stubbornness to succeed as an entrepreneur.” — Sophia Amoruso

19. “A man will do more for his stubbornness than for his religion or his country.” — E.W. Howe

20. “In the face of an obstacle which is impossible to overcome, stubbornness is stupid.” — Simone de Beauvoir

Stubborn to a fault quotes about remaining flexible

Remaining stubborn about our dreams or regarding our integrity is one thing, but sometimes being stubborn can make this more difficult for us. 

21. “You talk too much. You’re opinionated. You’re stubborn, sarcastic, and stuck up!” — Michael Browning

22. “Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.” — Frederick Nietzsche

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23. “Be stubborn and persist, and trust yourself on what you love. You have to trust what you love.” — Carolee Schneemann

24. “When you are full of pride on the inside, it makes you stiff, stubborn, and creates strife with others.” — John C. Maxwell

25. “You can hate a person with your whole body, but love is a stubborn thing; it clings on in your heart.” — Anna Maxted

26. “The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances.” — Jon Krakauer

27. “Smallness of mind is the cause of stubbornness, and we do not credit readily what is beyond our view.” — François De La Rochefoucauld

28. “Being stubborn won’t make you fluent. Practicing will! The more mistakes you make, the more you’ll learn not to.” — Thanhha Lai

29. “It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubbornness of an incorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed.” — Albert Einstein

30. “The only difference between falling in love and being in love is that your heart already knows how you feel, but your mind is too stubborn to admit it.” — Colleen Hover

Positive stubborn quotes about standing your ground and not changing your mind

Sometimes, we must be stubborn about things to see them through thoroughly. 

31. “What makes me mad is seeing stubborn people create their own unhappiness.” — Eric Rohmer

32. “The child’s stubbornness might be due to the ignorance or stupidity of the child or of people.” — Abraham S. Luchins

33. “Ironically, some of our most stubborn habits and disorders are products of our plasticity.” — Norman Doidge

34. “You can hate a person with your whole body, but love is a stubborn thing; it clings on your heart.” — Anna Maxted

35. “A stubborn mind conduces as little to wisdom or even to knowledge, as a stubborn temper to happiness.” — Robert Southley

36. “Stubbornness is a positive quality of presidential leadership – if you’re right about what you’re stubborn about.” — Douglas Brinkley

37. “Don’t be so stubborn and rigid on your principles that the pressure of it on others makes them quit from their life.” — Garima Goel

38. “Magic happens when you don’t give up, even when you want to. The universe always falls in love with a stubborn heart.” — J.M. Storm

39. “Transparency is critical in public health and epidemics; laypeople become either effective force-multipliers or stubborn walls.” — T.K. Naliaka

40. “There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” — Jane Austen

Stubborn quotes about the value of hard work and finishing the job

Being stubborn can stop us from experiencing new things or drive us to pursue our dreams. 

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41. “Work until your rivals become idols.” — Drake

42. “There is a fine line between stubbornness and stupidity as well as intensity and insanity.” — Brittany Burgunder

43. “The stubbornness of his character stood him now in good stead. He refused to consider himself defeated.” — William Steig

44. “Persistence is admirable. Stubbornness is stupid. Just remember: the latter two even begin with the same three letters.” — Marsha Hinds

45. “A stubbornly proud man cannot humble himself; he has neither the strength nor the courage. So have pity, then, and forgive him.” — Richelle E. Goodrich

46. “You’re not especially strong, or fast, or bright. Don’t think you are. But you’ll have the stubbornness to wear down anyone stronger, or faster, or brighter than yourself.” — Robin Hobb

47. “Life stays stubborn until it has no choice but to give up, and even then, it’s likely to spit one last time in the eye of whatever’s killed it. We’re cruel in victory and cruel in defeat, my friends.” — Steven Erikson

48. “It is a disaster that wisdom forbids you to be satisfied with yourself and always sends you away dissatisfied and fearful, whereas stubbornness and foolhardiness fill their hosts with joy and assurance.” — Michel De Montaigne

49. “Never lose hope, be persistent and stubborn, and never give up. There are many instances where apparent losers suddenly turn out to be winners unexpectedly, so you should never conclude all hope is lost.” — Theodore Kaczynski

50. “Stubbornness and ignorance and determination are a very fine line from each other. I’m a very stubborn person, but not so stubborn that I can’t learn new things and meet new people, but I have a one-track mind.” — Joe Nichols

Where does the phrase stubborn as a mule come from?

Human beings give certain animals a lousy reputation. 

Many believe sharks are blood-thirsty killers who stalk the oceans for fresh human meat. 

In reality, unprovoked sharks rarely attack humans and are usually more curious than dangerous. 

Goats and mules are animals that are associated with being stubborn. 

Mules even have the phrase “stubborn as a mule” because of their demeanor. 

However, mules are intelligent creatures. 

Mules have helped humankind in many situations, particularly in travel, construction, and carrying heavy loads.

They are known for their solid and agile bodies.  

When a mule knows a situation is unsafe or might cause harm, it will ignore the requests of the human. 

People asking mules to carry loads too heavy or cross bridges or steep or dangerous steps know the mule will refuse. 

This does not make the mule stubborn; instead, it demonstrates high intelligence and body awareness. 

The next time you see a mule, be sure to praise it for its keen intelligence. 

Do you have a favorite stubborn quote?

Please, be sure to let us know in the comments below. 

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