What's Your

I’m a personality categorization junkie. My favorite is Myers Briggs (I’m an INTJ). But last week I was listening to this podcast, when I came across another super interesting tool for knowing ourselves and those around us better: the four tendencies.

Gretchen Rubin describes the four tendencies like this:

  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense–essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike

You can take this quiz to find out how you deal with inner and outer expectations.

I know many people resist categorization, and of course it has its limits. But tools like this can help us make more sense of ourselves, our family, our coworkers and how we all interact.

For instance, I’m a questioner. I really, really dislike doing anything that doesn’t make sense to me. I loathe inefficiency and ineptitude, especially when it comes to systems. So when asked to do something or when I expect something from myself, I want to know why. In other words, I’m not just trying to be a pain in the neck when I ask for an explanation. I’m trying to understand so I can own the problem or solution or task myself. And when I own it, when I buy in, I’m all in and will throw myself into a task completely. You can see why a parent with a questioner child could find this information useful.

I’m excited to start observing my kiddos and talking with Dan about our family’s tendencies so we can all help each other as we seek to meet our own and others’ expectations. (I have a sneaking suspicion my daughter is also a questioner…)

Rubin talks about these tendencies specifically as they relate to habits. She asserts that knowing your tendency is a key factor in figuring out how to make and keep your habits. But she’s also working on a new book all about the four tendencies and how they relate to well, just about everything I suppose. To find out more about the four tendencies and how they relate to habits check out Rubin’s new book, Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits–to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life. I actually haven’t read it yet, but listening to the podcast has put this book on my to-be-read list.

What’s your tendency? Do you think knowing yours and others’ tendencies could help you better relate?

P.S. Check out my thoughts on another of Rubin’s books.

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