Being strong-willed means having a strong will or willpower. Willpower is the power that enables you to do what you want to do. Where does that power come from?
It comes from a conviction that what one wants to do is worth it. When you believe your wants, goals, and beliefs are worthy, you’re likely to stick to them. That’s being strong-willed.
Strong-willed people do what they set out to do. Others or their own emotions do not easily sway them. Unsurprisingly, they’re more likely to succeed than those lacking such indomitable will.
Strong-willed vs stubborn
There’s a fine, almost non-existent, line between being strong-willed and stubborn. A stubborn person, not unlike a strong-willed person, sticks to their ideas, opinions, and beliefs.
That can be both a good and a bad thing.
If your ideas, opinions, and beliefs are sound, pursuing them stubbornly can help you succeed. But if they’re unsound, being strong-willed and stubborn can hold you back.
Being strong-willed usually has positive connotations but can lead to arrogance and rigidity. Often, achieving your goals requires a fair amount of flexibility.
Stubbornness has negative connotations, but pursuing your sound ideas stubbornly will help you achieve your goals.
Being strong-willed and stubborn brings with it some degree of rigidity. You need to be rigid for sound ideas and beliefs. At the same time, you need to be willing to question things and be more flexible.
However, you won’t believe anything firmly if you’re too flexible. You’re unlikely to have goals if you don’t believe anything firmly.
Therefore, as always, balance is key- balancing and rigidity and flexibility.
Strong-willed personality traits
There are some personality characteristics that are common in strong-willed people. They all emanate from having a strong sense of identity, i.e., knowing who you are and what you want.
A confident person believes that they can do what they want to do. Where does that belief come from? Having self-esteem. Where does self-esteem come from?
Self-esteem is how highly you regard yourself or how worthy you think you are. Self-esteem is built by achievements, small and big. Small achievements lead to small but significant bursts in self-esteem, while big achievements lead to strides in self-esteem.
Self-esteem also comes from the beliefs you were programmed with by the authority figures (parents, teachers, etc.) in your childhood.
When you’re confident in your ability to do what you want, you automatically become strong-willed.
Assertiveness is the art of stating your ideas, opinions, wants, beliefs, and needs in a non-aggressive and non-submissive manner.
If you don’t believe you’re a worthy individual with worthy ideas, you will be submissive and passive in your communication.
If you’re too afraid that your ideas will be rejected, you’ll want to impose them, leading to aggression.
Assertiveness is the sweet spot between aggression and submissiveness. Strong-willed people believe in their ideas and put them forth without hesitation or force.
When you believe your ideas are worth pursuing, you don’t just sit around and wait for the right time. Strong-willed people have a bias for action. They move swiftly from ideation to execution.
They’re proactive because they have clear values and goals.
Strong-willed people, driven by their conviction in themselves, don’t wait around for others’ approval and validation. In fact, what they say and do often ruffles feathers, raises brows, and wags tongues.
But strong-willed people are unfazed because they don’t care too much about what others think of them. They don’t seek external validation for their ideas.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back after setbacks. When pursuing something worthwhile, you’re bound to face obstacles and setbacks. They can be very demotivating. A lot of people quit when things get hard.
Strong-willed people, however, can bounce back when they hit rock bottom. They can do this because they believe their goals are worth pursuing. In Nietzsche’s words, they have a ‘why’ for which they can bear any ‘how’.
6. Growth mindset
One of the reasons strong-willed people are so resilient is that they have a growth mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe their skills and abilities are fixed. Those with a growth mindset believe they can learn and improve anything.
Strong-willed people are rigid about their goals but flexible when it comes to the methods of achieving them. They can be arrogant and stubborn about their ideas but simultaneously humble and willing to learn.
Strong-willed people take full responsibility for their dreams and goals. They tend to have an internal locus of control, i.e., they don’t blame external factors like the government or the economy. They take charge of their own lives.
Intentionality is the opposite of impulsivity. Being impulsive is like being a leaf in the wind. Impulsive people, like leaves, move where the wind of life takes them.
In contrast, intentional people can control their impulses and reactions. They do that because they know impulsiveness can compromise their goals and dreams. They’re not slaves to their emotions and can patiently delay gratification.
Strong-willed people tend to be honest with themselves as well as others. They know what their strengths and weaknesses are. They stay in their lanes and don’t pretend to be who they’re not.
Strong-willed people keep looking for inspiration because seeing others succeed reinforces their belief that they can succeed, too.
While jealousy is a normal human emotion, strong-willed people don’t experience it too much or severely. Since they already believe in themselves, others’ success bolsters their self-belief.
A person who doesn’t have that kind of self-belief gets jealous easily, often, and severely because others’ success triggers their insecurities.