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The 4 Tendencies

The 4 Tendencies

Some people have strong, clear inner expectations that they strive to live up to while some people lack a clear-cut inner compass. Some people are vigilant about what others expect from them and they try to conform to those expectations, while some people are either oblivious to or unconcerned about outer expectations. Because responsiveness to inner and outer expectations are two independent dimensions of personality, it is possible to classify people into four personality types that Rubin labels The Four Tendencies.

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MORE IDEAS ON THIS

GRETCHEN RUBIN

When what others expect from Obligers is what they expect from themselves, they have the life they want.

GRETCHEN RUBIN

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491 reads

Working With Yourself As An Obliger

Working With Yourself As An Obliger

It’s worth mentioning again that Obligers need outer accountability to meet an inner goal. It’s not a sign of weakness; it’s just different wiring. Fortunately, there’s always ways to create accountability.

Obligers also vary dramatically in what makes them...

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448 reads

Working With Yourself As A Rebel

When others ask Rebels to do something, they can feel less motivated to do it even if they originally wanted to do it. In these situations, a Rebel can remember, “I’m free to do something even if someone else wants me to do it.” After all, not doing something because someone ...

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289 reads

Working with a Rebel When You’re Not One

Working with a Rebel When You’re Not One

Another way to motivate a Rebel is to challenge their identity. For example, instead of asking them to stop being late, say “Why do you keep being late? That’s just so inconsiderate!” If the Rebel doesn’t want to be seen as inconsiderate by you, they will likely be on ti...

121

272 reads

Working with a Rebel When You’re Not One

Working with a Rebel When You’re Not One

The other tendencies tend to lack understanding for Rebels, making everyone’s lives harder in the relationship. When communicating with rebels, we should use this sequence: Information-Consequence-Choice. (By the way, the Information-Consequence-Choice sequence works wit...

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298 reads

Working With An Upholder When You’re Not One

Working With An Upholder When You’re Not One

Many people value Upholders in a relationship and team for the energy and discipline they bring.

124

817 reads

GRETCHEN RUBIN

When I describe the Four Tendencies, I sometimes get the impression that people try to figure out the “best” Tendency and shoehorn themselves into it. But there’s no best or worst Tendency. The happiest, healthiest, most productive people aren’t those from a pa...

GRETCHEN RUBIN

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331 reads

Working With An Obliger When You’re Not One

Working With An Obliger When You’re Not One

Obligers are like the adhesive in a relationship or a team. They bring people together and maintain harmonious relationships. They are also very reliable.

As mentioned earlier, Obligers are often taken advantage of, so we need to do our part in making sure they are treated ...

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336 reads

Working With Yourself As A Rebel

Working With Yourself As A Rebel

Rebels can do anything they want to do, so self-understanding is key for Rebels. They should get clarity on their values and use their values as decision criteria for whether or not to do things. For example, “I am a good partner, so I will take responsibility for my fair share o...

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323 reads

Working With Yourself As A Questioner

Working With Yourself As A Questioner

Questioners are generally pretty happy with themselves, but they can get frustrated at others for doing things that seem illogical or inefficient.

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652 reads

GRETCHEN RUBIN

Pay careful attention to anything you try to hide.

GRETCHEN RUBIN

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364 reads

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, spent years pondering which personality differences underly differences in how people achieve happiness. Her studies led her to the conclusion that successes and failures in achieving happiness are best explained by the importance ...

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The Upholder, The Questioner, The Obliger, The Rebel

The Upholder, The Questioner, The Obliger, The Rebel

Rubin has written a book called The Four Tendencies and has provided an online quiz that we can take to determine which of the Four Tendencies best describes us:

  • Upholder (responsive to both inner and outer expectations)
  • Q...

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Working With An Obliger When You’re Not One

Working With An Obliger When You’re Not One

Interestingly, some Obligers start to ignore expectations from their spouse. Ironically, it’s not because the Obliger doesn’t care, but rather the Obliger feels so close to their spouse that the spouse’s expectations become like inner expectations. So they ignore what their s...

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The Rebel

The Rebel

Rebels want to do what they want to do, in their own way, and on their own time. If someone else tells them to do the exact same thing, they will resist. They don’t even want to tell themselves to do something. They prefer to act from freedom, choice, and self-expression.

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Why Do The Tendencies Matter Anyway?

Why Do The Tendencies Matter Anyway?

Understanding the four tendencies has three primary benefits:

  1. Self-mastery in getting yourself to do things
  2. Influencing others to do things
  3. Understanding why others do or don’t do things, which reduces frustration and i...

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The Upholder

The Upholder

Upholders readily meet inner and outer expectations. They are highly disciplined and love schedules and routines.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Upholders:

An Upholder’s main strength is discipline, and their main weakness is that other tendencies may vi...

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GRETCHEN RUBIN

The biggest waste of time is to do well something that we need not do at all.

GRETCHEN RUBIN

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427 reads

The Obliger

The Obliger

Obligers need outer accountability to meet any inner expectation. For this reason, they gain the most from learning about their tendency.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Obligers:

Obligers are the easiest tendency to get along with. But they often get frustrated ...

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511 reads

Working With Yourself As An Obliger

To prevent Obliger-Rebellion, Obligers must stand up for themselves. This can be very hard as its against their nature. Unfortunately, Obligers can’t count on other tendencies to stand up for them because other tendencies are all used to standing up for themselves (so they expect...

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354 reads

Working with a Questioner When You’re Not One

Working with a Questioner When You’re Not One

Questioners can add value to relationships and organizations by ensuring people don’t unthinkingly accept expectations that aren’t justified or efficient.

They key with Questioners is justification. Once they accept an expectation, you can count on them to deliver (and maybe even improve up...

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533 reads

Working With Yourself As An Upholder

Working With Yourself As An Upholder

Upholders are usually pretty happy with themselves, but they can get judgmental or frustrated at other tendencies.

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946 reads

Working With Yourself As An Obliger

Working With Yourself As An Obliger

Unfortunately, Obligers are often taken advantage of, which leads to resentment. If an Obliger is faced with prolonged expectations that are unfair, unrealistic, or make them feel taken for granted, an Obliger can fall into Obliger-Rebellion. When this happens, they will stop mee...

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GRETCHEN RUBIN

Questioners have the self-direction of Upholders, the reliability of Obligers, and the authenticity of Rebels.

GRETCHEN RUBIN

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689 reads

Working With Yourself As A Rebel

Working With Yourself As A Rebel

A Rebel can sometimes feel unproductive because the thought of having to do things makes them not want to do it anymore. The solution is to re-frame the tasks as a choice, challenge, or game. For example, instead of making a to-do list, a Rebel can make a cou...

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The Questioner

The Questioner

Questioners turn all outer expectations into inner expectations if they believe its reasonable and efficient. Thus, Questioners only meet inner expectations.

Some random characteristics of Questioners: They hate waiting in line, they love spreadsh...

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654 reads

Working with a Questioner When You’re Not One

Ironically, many Questioners resist being questioned because they think, “If I made this decision, I obviously researched it thoroughly. It’s not my fault if you didn’t do your research on the topic.” Questioners also hate questions that are a waste of time. Thei...

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439 reads

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xarikleia

“An idea is something that won’t work unless you do.” - Thomas A. Edison

They say there are two types of people in the world: those who divide people into two types, and those who don’t.

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