What’s Your Tendency?

I’ve been reading a book by Gretchen Rubin called The Four Tendencies. It’s a personality analysis book that helps us answer the question: “How do I respond to expectations?”

As the title suggests, there are four identified “tendencies” — with some overlap. They are (in no particular order): Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, and Rebel. Each has distinct characteristics.

What really resonated for me is that my own tendency makes perfect sense. Per the quiz in the book, I’m an “Obliger” which is someone who meets external expectations, but who has some difficulty meeting her own internally defined expectations.

I’ve known this about myself for years. It’s why I will often take a class, join a group, or commit to something (like a “StepBet”) to get things I want to get done actually completed.

This need to join a group or take a class has been challenged in 2020, because Zoom groups or classes don’t hold the same appeal for me. In fact, I’m less likely to complete an online class than anything else. Especially if the class has a “go at your own pace” philosophy.

Well, thank you for the “go at your own pace” philosophy, but that usually translates to “Nope.” If I could stay motivated going at my own pace, I wouldn’t be taking this class or signing up for this “challenge” in the first place!

But, if you put your faith in me and “count on me” — well, I will bust my behind to do what is expected.

“You can count on me, and I’m counting on you to count on me.”

— Obliger quote from The Four Tendencies

I’m working my way through the sections on how to make the awareness of this tendency work for me. It’s tough. I know I need to stretch outside my quarantine to do it.

Of course, there’s an App for that. The author has an App she has named “Better.” I’m going to go check it out. Maybe it will help me help myself. Especially in 2021. Next year can’t be as challenging as this year has been, can it? Who doesn’t want things to be ‘better’?

For those who want to cut to the chase, there are four bedrock questions you can use for a temperature check. Here they are below:

Upholders ask: Should I do this?

Questioners ask: Does this make sense?

Obligers ask: Does this matter to anyone else?

Rebels ask: Is this the person I want to be?

– From the four tendencies by gretchen rubin

In any event, this book might be beneficial to you in helping you name what your style is. It has helped me think harder on how to solve my challenges — I want to get stuff done that is important to me that may not be super important to anyone else. And that’s where the jam up is. Putting my own wants and needs above someone else’s. Very very difficult.

But doable. And I’m developing my plan. Now to have an App or a class to execute it!

What’s your tendency?



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