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The Lucilius Parables, Volume I


August 13th, 2019

~ As a counterpoint to the previous episode entitled Determined Loser, the stubborn winner is far less well positioned. ~



To succeed on the first try is perhaps just as dangerous as believing one is a failure when an effort doesn’t work out.


They each have symmetrical downsides.  The winner who stubbornly believes they understand all the factors that contributed to their success is at risk of developing a hubris which can raise the chance of a big misstep.


Likewise, the one whose efforts fail is at risk of believing themselves a failure and giving up all hope of trying again.  As opposed to a determined loser who keeps trying despite failure, the one who stops is a perhaps a rigid loser.  The rigid loser is inflexible in the same way the stubborn winner views the mechanics of their success.  The flip of the stubborn winner might be a humble winner.


Now, which of these terms is most likely to lead to the other?


We have:


Determined Loser

Stubborn Winner

Rigid Loser &

Humble Winner


A humble winner might fail on their next attempt.  And which category of loser would this most likely land them?  A determined loser of a Rigid loser? 


A stubborn winner may also fail on their next attempt.  Are they more likely to become a rigid loser, a sort of bad sport, a bad loser, or a determined loser? 


How about from the other side of the fence.


Is a determined loser more likely to become a winner of either variety?  Or is the rigid loser more likely?


While these are unrefined terms, it’s not hard to see that the determined loser is more likely to come across a ‘win’ than the rigid loser is. 


The defining characteristic of the determined loser is the ability to pivot and try something knew.  This requires flexibility which the rigid loser fails to have by definition.


The key here is to realize that the words ‘winner’ and ‘loser’ are irrelevant.


The real tension is between rigidness and flexibility.


For this purpose, we interpret determination to have more flexibility than stubbornness.

And likewise, we see humility as having more flexibility than stubbornness.


The structure here is innately rivalnymic.  They are opposing flavors of strategy that are trying to achieve the same thing.


(For a thorough treatment of Rivalnyms, check out Episode 293: Rivalnym)


Humility and stubbornness are rival approaches towards how we think about future actions that may result in success or failure.


From an emotional standpoint, humility equips us with a lower probability that we will experience dejected embarrassment when something doesn’t work out.  The hubris of being stubborn opens us up to embarrassment.  Granted, some people might have a useful tendency of turning such embarrassment into anger, which can galvanize future action, and while this may also lead to success, we must ask: how enjoyable is that whole process?  Sure you might eventually win, but we also eventually die. 


There’s little point in the success if you can’t figure out how to achieve some kind of enjoyable peace with the process.


What’s the best recipe for that end?


Rigid Stubbornness?




Humble determination?



This episode references Episode 293: Rivalnym and Episode 484: Determined Loser

Check out the Tinkered Thinking   Reading List

Dive in to the Archives

Podcast Ep. 485: Stubborn Winner

Tinkered Thinking

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