We all struggle at times to understand ourselves. Even the Apostle Paul had questions about why we do the things we do.
"I do not understand what I do; for I don't do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate." (Romans 7:15 GNT)
Today we are going to take some steps to try to figure ourselves out...in a fun way! Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project introduces us to The Four Tendencies. Here's what she has to say:
During my multi-book investigation into human nature, I realized that by asking the suspiciously simple question “How do I respond to expectations?” we gain explosive self-knowledge.
I discovered that people fit into Four Tendencies: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. Our Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so understanding this framework lets us make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress and burnout, and engage more effectively. The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t act.
The framework holds practical answers if you’ve ever wondered . . .
People can rely on me, so why can’t I rely on myself?
Why do people tell me that I ask too many questions?
How do I work with someone who refuses to do what I ask—or one who keeps telling me what to do?
How do I stop my teenager from dropping out of school?
Why can’t I convince my patients to take their prescriptions?
How can my team become more effective, with less wasted time and conflict?
One of the big daily challenges of life is: “How do I get people—including myself—to do what I want?” Knowing the Four Tendencies make this task much, much easier.
To see if you spot yourself in these categories, ask yourself:
How do I respond to an outer rule? A law, a traffic sign, a "request" from a spouse; a work deadline, an admonition from your doctor, an appointment with a trainer, social protocol?
How do I respond to an inner rule? A New Year's resolution; a decision to exercise more; putting in work on a self-generated project (writing a novel, planting a garden).
With that in mind, consider whether any of these types rings a bell:
Upholder—accepts rules, whether from outside or inside. An upholder meets deadlines, follows doctor's order, keeps a New Year's resolution. I am an Upholder, 100%.
Questioner—questions rules and accepts them only if they make sense. They may choose to follow rules, or not, according to their judgment.
Rebel—flouts rules, from outside or inside. They resist control. Give a rebel a rule, and the rebel will want to do the very opposite thing.
Obliger—accepts outside rules, but doesn’t like to adopt self-imposed rules.
An upholder stops at a stop sign at 3:00 a.m. in a small deserted town; so does an obliger. A questioner decides whether it's safe to stop. A rebel rolls through the stop sign at 3:00 p.m. in traffic. An upholder can train with a trainer or exercise on her own. A questioner can do either if he thinks it makes sense; a rebel will do neither, because the fact that she has an appointment or an item on her to-do list makes her want to disobey; an obliger can meet a trainer, but can't get to the gym on his own.
Of course, this is about your tendency. There's a continuum, and no one accepts or resists all rules, and some people don't fit easily into one of the four types--but I've been amazed at how often people immediately place themselves firmly into one camp. Do you recognize yourself? How does this evince itself? Each type has its pros and cons.
Want to find out what tendency you really have? Take the quiz here.
This blog written by Gretchen Rubin, entitled "Four Personality Types: Which One Are You?", was posted on January 7, 2013. Gretchen Rubin is one of today’s most influential and thought-provoking observers of happiness and human nature. She’s known for her ability to distill and convey complex ideas with humor and clarity, in a way that’s accessible to a wide audience.She’s the author of many books, including the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers The Four Tendencies, Better Than Before, and The Happiness Project.
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