October 9, 2020

Being A Sticker


Recently I read an article that referred to a person being a sticker. I stopped reading for a second, thinking the author meant to write, a stickler, as in someone who insists on high quality, like a stickler for detail.

But, no, he  (or she, I don't remember) meant what he wrote: this individual is a sticker. Meaning he sticks to a belief even in the face of adversity, obstacles, or active pushback. She is determined to "sticks to her guns." 

Ignoring the firearm reference, this says someone doesn't waver in the face of opposition. The path is his choice; he moves forward to a goal regardless.

I like that description of a personality trait. It resonates with me now, for a few reasons. Firstly, the turmoil we are in as a society will not find lasting solutions if at least some of us aren't stickers.

 It is easy to be riled up about perceptions of injustice. Covid-19 has mutated into a test of political will; it is no longer a disease but a statement of political beliefs, manliness, and freedom. Racial unrest and protesting are reflections of deeper problems that have been with us since the country's founding.

Police overreach can be the result of an over-reliance on the concept of law and order. It becomes a condition that must be maintained at all costs, as long as the majority are protected from real or perceived threats to normalcy.

The power to police, to enforce society's rules is crucial to a functioning society. Anyone who wants to "defund" the police totally, is living in a fantasy world. But, having limits, constraints, and the procedures to ensure all laws and enforcements are handled without bias or excess is the key point. Insisting on these restraints is a legitimate role for a sticker.

Then, broadening the sticker idea a bit, I believe retirement requires being "sticky."  We are confronted with more decisions and opportunities than during our working days. Our fate is much more under our control, and that can be a good thing. Our time and resources are ours to do with what we will. We have learned how to say "No" when asked to do something that doesn't fit our desires. We adjust our finances based on whatever craziness is going on in the markets and the economy.

On the flip side, retirement also means we can be a "sticker" when we shouldn't. Insisting on a particular way of life, economic behavior, or other self-chosen direction even when it proves to be ineffective or no longer what is best, gets us into trouble. Insisting on doing something because "that's the way I have always done it," or, "it was good enough for mom and dad" is a self-defeating type of sticker.

"Being a sticker" is an interesting way to describe what a life might be. Also, it is a realistic description because being one can be both a good thing or one that leaves you repeating old mistakes and "sticking" to outmoded beliefs.

I will freely admit I am a sticker, both to my benefit, and my detriment. I guess my challenge is to decide which of my behaviors and beliefs are which.

And you?


20 comments:

  1. I used to be a sticker, but I got tired of banging my head against the wall. As I've aged I've begun to realize that my point of view is not the only legitimate point of view, my way of doing things may not be the best way, and my little world may not reflect the experiences of other people. So I've developed a little more (okay, a lot more) humility, and I've become more of an adapter.

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    1. I understand your clarification, Tom. To me, being a sticker on a particular issue implies a commitment to a certain principle, one that isn't influenced strictly by public opinion. There are several hot button issues that I am not comfortable adapting my position to be more mainstream.

      But, to a wider interpretation of being a sticker, yes, there are real problems with forming an opinion and refusing to modify it in the face of new facts and evidence.

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  2. Being a sticker is basically the same as being stubborn. In too many cases that characteristic of holding on to old concepts and traditions even when faced with new information is what stifles society and personal growth. I have always believed that compromise in any relationship---be it personal or between countries---is the key to making our lives and the world a safer, happier place. Being a sticker is neither good nor bad. Like everything else, it depends on the situation at hand.

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    1. There are times when being stubborn is what accomplishes meaningful goals. Women getting the vote, the Civil Rights Act, even the abolition of slavery required stubornness and tenacity to change the majority mindset.

      But, you are absolutely right: the sticky position is a positive or negative depending on the circumstance.

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  3. As with everything it's a balance. To be a sticker with a behaviour or goal that will benefit you, your family, or the world at large in the long run is a good thing. Sticking with rigorous educational courses, making a difficult career change, standing up for those unable to, even saving for retirement are all examples where being a sticker is a good thing.

    But to be a sticker when evidence shows you are on the wrong path and you are in danger of "My mind is made up. Don't confuse me with the facts". I think we all know that there's nothing more dangerous than a true believer on his own crazy mission. To the detriment of us all a lot of "crazies" out there are convinced they are doing the right thing sticking with their plan no matter what logic or anyone else says.

    There are times to be a sticker and times to reconsider your position. The trick is knowing when to stick and when not to.

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    1. Your last sentence summarizes the dilemma: know when to dig your heels in, and when to agree to shift your thinking.

      71 years into my life and that line is still not always clear.

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  4. I almost jumped in here first thing this morning, but waited to see if I was in the minority about being a sticker. I very much align with Tom and Harry. My first thought was being a sticker means stuck in your ways and unwilling to change. There are way too many of us seniors presently in that mode, but I suppose it can be spun as positive in certain circumstances 🥴

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    1. That is the distinction that prompted the post. A sticker is an approach that can be good or bad, depending on the topic. No argument, too many of us take the "that's the way it should be" approach too often. Usually, this reaction has something to do with lifestyle or a cultural issue.

      But, when you see injustice or unfairness, or a subject that you view as very important, not just buckling under is crucial to our shared future.

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  5. Google is being difficult this afternoon. The following comment was sent to me by email from good friend, Pat, who lives in the Phoenix area.


    Trouble is that I think the older we get the more inclined we are to be a STICKER about a lot of things that we should not be a STICKER about. The trick is to try to be more open and accepting of ideas that are foreign to us and be discerning about which of the new ideas have merit and which will be jumping from the pan into the fire if we adopt them.

    I heard a good discussion about the current political scene the other day and one of the things I came away with was that when deciding on voting, it is important to NOT base your decision on just ONE issue or ONE person. That you need to look at the whole picture and decide what fits most of your beliefs. That nothing is ever going to be perfect and it’s best to recognize that. That we should pray for those we might not agree with because that’s what we are supposed to do. Puts a different spin on our thinking when we see others as flawed human beings who we need to pray for and not as a person we need to hate.

    I would love to hear all the politicians tell me what they think and what they want to do – and stop talking about their opponents!! And stop spending so damn much money on the campaigns and use it to help the millions of people who need it.

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    1. I agree 100% with every point you make, Pat. Knowing when to stand your ground and fight for what you believe in makes being a Sticker a positive. Standing firm for something that no longer works or ignores reality is counter-productive.

      A political decision should be based on the full package. None of us will agree with anyone on everything. As you state, it is important to know what hills you really must defend. But, to expect 100% agreement with a politician, or anyone, is not going to happen.

      The so-called debates are nothing more than regurgitated talking points and hoping to catch the opponent in a "gatch" moment. The format of these debates has long outlived its usefulness.

      And, yes, Betty and I went to Jamie's church for 3 years and really loved his thoughtful approach. We will definitely listen to his election sermon.

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  6. I am a flexible sticker. On principles, I do not move. Other people's opinions on what is right for me, irk me. What I need and value change with age. Tommy sees no need to change the way he has done things all his life.

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  7. I subscribe to Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day and, coincidentally, today's word is "pertinacious." It's defined as "adhering resolutely to an opinion, purpose or design; perversely persistent; and stubbornly tenacious." It sounds like a slightly more refined definition of being a sticker!

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    1. English is a language with way too many words that nobody uses. Pertinacious is a perfect example...it is a word that baffles my spell checker!

      Thanks, Mary. I will try to use that word 3 times today, as soon as I figure out the correct pronunciation.

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  8. I view myself as being more of an 'adapter" in retirement. I'm willing to keep an open mind and change my long held retirement beliefs as I learn/experience new things. Having said that once I make up my mind and commit to a course of action I'm pure sticker.

    The US COVID-19 response is both puzzling and disturbing. As I read your comments I had a vision of Nero playing his violin as Rome burned.

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    1. I am certainly an adapter at times, too. My retirement life is not what I envisioned 19 years ago.

      But, there are core principles and beliefs that do not change, regardless.

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  9. I have to think seriously about something I don't agree with. Sometimes that's too much trouble. But I am more adaptable than when I was younger. Like, "You may have plane reservations for Tucson on October 30, but if someone in your household has a PT appointment on November 4, you may need to postpone your flight." I can live with ambiguity much better than when I was younger.

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    1. You are echoing Mike's comment above. As we age we learn how to bend without breaking, how to change course to achieve a goal, and what is worth fighting for (figeratively).

      Ambiguity is part of the human condition, isn't it.

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  10. I see being a sticker playing out politically right now. I will stick with a candidate or party no matter what. I am a X party member and I will only vote for that party (no matter who the candidate is or stands for). They are a sticker.

    I see it with Trump supporters that are stickers, and still say he should win again.
    I also see it with Biden supporters. No matter what he says/does/comes out about him or their position they will vote for him. They are stickers.

    While everyone has a right to their opinion and choice, make it a choice vs being a sticker no matter what.

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