Guys, the personality framework in this book has been a total game changer for me.
It has helped me understand myself and my habits better, let go of guilt and frustration over certain personality quirks I have, and find new ways to help set myself up for success in the things I want to accomplish. I hope this little glimpse into the framework will give you some useful insights for your own life!
Gretchen first introduces this framework briefly in her previous book about habit formation, Better Than Before, which I also highly recommend if this topic interests you. While Better Than Before focuses specifically on how people in the different tendencies form and break habits based on their personality, The Four Tendencies delves into much more depth about each of the four types and focuses more on how they tend to interact with one another in different settings like work, family relationships, etc. I could rattle off ten pages about this framework and why I think it’s so interesting and useful, but I’ll try to keep this long story short.
Simply put, your tendency is a result of how you respond to expectations.
Gretchen breaks expectations into two categories: inner – the ones you set for yourself, and outer – those imposed on you by others. The diagram below shows where you fall within the four tendencies based on your responses to those two types of expectations. As you can see, the four tendencies are: Upholder, Obliger, Rebel, and Questioner.
I learned very quickly that I am a total Obliger: I strive to meet the expectations of others, but really struggle to meet the expectations I set for myself. Learning this was a real “aha!” moment for me. So many facets of my personality that I had previously found confusing or frustrating clicked and made sense when I realized that it was all about accountability. To give you an idea of what I mean, here are 3 specific examples of how learning my tendency helped me grow and change for the better:
Knowing my Tendency taught me that the key to consistent exercise for me is accountability.
This is why I was able to be so consistent with barre3, because I had a community of women I felt responsible to for showing up and giving my all. I sadly had to cancel my membership after a job change made it too difficult to drive over to the studio during the week. (Incidentally, that same sense of accountability that helped me succeed so much with the classes also made it really hard to cancel my membership, because I felt such a sense of accountability to my friends and instructors there!) Because I now know about my strong need for accountability when it comes to fitness, I’m currently looking for another form of group fitness closer to home that will fit with my new work schedule and commute. (Local friends, let me know if you have suggestions!)
Understanding my need for accountability helped improve the quality of my work.
I finally understood why I was more prone to follow through on some tasks and not on others at my job. It wasn’t because I was lazy or disorganized (thoughts I had sometimes beaten myself up with), and it didn’t have so much to do with the particular tasks themselves as it had to do with how much accountability I had for completing them. If I was assigned something and then never asked about it again, my natural assumption was that it had dropped off the priority radar and didn’t need my attention, so I let it fall to the wayside. More than once, this caused confusion and friction when I was asked to report progress on something from a while back that I had assumed was on the back burner. I learned to let my boss know how she could help me succeed by checking in with me more regularly on the tasks and projects that were most important to her.
I used my Tendency to help me get more sleep!
Because I have a hard time meeting personal expectations I set for myself – even really important ones, like getting enough sleep – I recruited my husband to help remind me to go to bed on time each night, and to keep annoying me about it if I don’t start getting ready for bed by about 10:15. This approach has worked really well to help me get more sleep (and it also means I’m not up late being a cranky zombie, my usual state if I’m awake past 11pm). It’s a win for both of us!
I know this overview has been brief, but I hope it’s provided a little insight into how knowing your Tendency can help you harness your unique personality to improve your habits and help you choose better each day!
So, which Tendency are you? Take the quiz here to find out!
Your turn to share:
- Have you read anything from Gretchen Rubin before?
- Without taking the quiz, which tendency do you think you are?
- If you took the quiz, did your guess match your result?
*Note: This review is not sponsored by any entity. I elected to check out and read this book and share my review because it was personally useful for me. Thanks for reading! 🙂