The Four Tendencies

I can’t tell you how much self-knowledge has changed my life. It makes everything so clear and EASIER. Knowing yourself enables us to pursue all those things in life we want to pursue, it allows us to tackle problems and makes change. One of the ways to do this is to know your tendency, as laid out by Gretchen Rubin in The Four Tendencies. You can find it here. This is just one small slice of your personality, but an important one. Your tendency shows how you respond to expectations, both inner and outer.

I’ll start with Upholders because I fall into this category! Upholders easily meet inner and outer expectations. They like to do lists and generally can do what is it is they want to get done. They are doer’s and rule followers. On the downside, they can be rigid and can seem like a killjoy. They also experience “tightening” which is when they go beyond the rules to make more rules. They can be told they have a “extreme personality” (oh yes, I’ve been told that) I tip a little bit to Questioner, but not much. One more thing, this is the second smallest group.

Questioners only meet expectations that fit their criteria. If they believe it to be true or from an authority they trust they will meet the expectation. So, everything becomes an inner expectation. They tend to analyze to death and have difficulty making a decision. They can end up in “analysis paralysis”. Questioners also don’t like to be questioned. I can vouch for all of this, as my husband is a Questioner.

Obligers are the largest group! Most people are Obligers. They meet outer expectations but have trouble meeting inner expectations. They can meet the work deadline, but have trouble sticking to their exercise program. Obligers do well with an accountability partner. They will meet the expectation if someone else is expecting it from them. Accountability partners or accountability in some form are key for Obligers.

Rebels are the smallest group. Rebels only do what they want to do. They tend to not meet inner or outer expectations, unless they want to. If someone tells them to do something, it makes them not want to do it more. Rebels do not like to-do lists. They can do anything they want to do. Usually, reframing the situation works well for Rebels. Forming the expectation into something they want for themselves is key.

Not only is self knowledge important, it’s also so helpful in all your relationships. Now that I know my husband is a Questioner, I can see when his tendency is showing up immediately and most of the time, it doesn’t get under my skin because I take a moment to pause and think “ that’s his Questioner personality coming through”. I really think it helps in friendships, families and coworkers as well. Once you know the structure, it’s pretty easy to identify someone’s tendency and therefore you can more easily understand where they are coming from. If you want to know your tendency you can take the quiz here. When you are done come back and leave a comment telling me your tendency! Can’t wait to hear! Thanks for being here!

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