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What You Need to Know about The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

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Do you ever wonder why you can’t seem to follow a simple self-care routine? Or why do you tend to procrastinate on things you actually want to do?

According to Gretchen Rubin, this has everything to do with the Four Tendencies. Or in simpler terms, it has everything to do with how you respond to expectations.

It’s not because you don’t want it bad enough – as many ‘gurus’ may want you to believe. It’s not because you don’t have time for the routine or strategy. And it’s not because you’re unmotivated or uninspired.

The simple reason you can’t seem to get things done lies in your tendency to respond to expectations.

And to know what your tendency is, you’ll need to understand the Four Tendencies framework by Gretchen Rubin.

What is The Four Tendencies Framework?

The Four Tendencies is a personality framework grouping people according to how we respond to expectations. And there are two types of expectations – outer and inner.

Outer expectations are those that are required of you by other people. They don’t come from you but from the people around you. These may include a work deadline, a wedding invitation, a meeting with a friend, etc.

Inner expectations are those expectations you require of yourself. They don’t come from anyone else but you. And these may include things like doing yoga before work, going to the gym, writing a book in your free time, working on your anger, and other self-care related activities.

How you respond to these outer and inner expectations determines your tendency. And your tendency puts you in one of four categories – also known as tendencies.

What are the Four Tendencies?

The four tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

The four tendencies include the following:

1. Upholders

People in this category want to know what needs to get done so they can do it. They don’t ask questions, they just do it. And this applies to both outer and inner expectations. They will readily meet a work deadline and meet their personal goals.

2. Questioners

People in this category want to know why something needs to get done. They want justifications before they can embark on a project or task. And they will only do something if it makes sense for them to do it. Otherwise, they’ll rebel.

3. Obligers

People falling in this category want accountability to get things done. Without accountability – or an outside force, they will hardly get anything done. Obligers are good at meeting outer expectations but are terrible at meeting inner expectations. So if you struggle with self-care, you’re probably an obliger.

4. Rebels

People in this category resist both forms of expectations. They don’t like to be told what to do, and they too don’t like telling themselves what to do. And the only time they’ll get things done is if they’re doing it their own way and at their own time. Whey they feel like it.

Now that you know what the Four Tendencies are, what do you think your tendency is?

The good news is you don’t have to guess which category you fall under. Because there’s a quiz to help you determine that. But first, let’s explore the Why.

Why Should You Know about the Four Tendencies?

According to Gretchen Rubin, knowing your tendency can help you set up situations in a way that makes you more likely to achieve your expectations and goals.

We can make better decisions, meet deadlines, meet our promises to ourselves, suffer less stress, and engage more deeply with others. — Gretchen Rubin

And what’s more?

Knowing other people’s tendencies can help you work and connect more effectively with them. This can be at work with colleagues or employees, or at home with your spouse or kids.

So by understanding how you and others respond to expectations, you can learn to achieve better relationships. Because by knowing how someone will respond to something, you can adjust your approach and reduce conflict.

What’s Your Tendency?

Are you an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel?

As we earlier mentioned, there’s a quiz for this. Taking the quiz will tell you what your tendency is and explain what you can do to be able to meet both outer and inner expectations.

And for the rebels – who resist both types of expectations – explain how you can get stuff done in your own way and under your own rules.

Take the Quiz here

In the End

The Four Tendencies is a personality framework explaining why some people are able to achieve their goals with ease, and why others struggle.

It explains why you may excel at meeting work-related or parenting-related goals, and yet have a hard time meeting your own personal goals.

And it suggests what we may need to finally get stuff done.

To learn more about this personality framework and understand yourself and others deeper, read Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Four Tendencies.

It dives deeper into the tendencies and explains, in detail, what each tendency needs to excel.

Or in better terms, what each person — based on their tendency– requires to live a happier and more fulfilling life.


Book images are from GretchenRubin.Com.

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