The Four Tendencies and Getting Things Done Part 1

As I was thinking about the 30-Day Confidence Challenge, I think of the daily tasks as building blocks; like Lego pieces. They come with plates and studs that allow them to “stick” together and allow us to build any which shape in whatever size we prefer. This is why we have this primer. For this knowledge to serve as the studs, which will allow us to join the blocks together and form one beautiful, cohesive piece.

Lego building bricks and blocks. Photo from TechGuide.

What are the Four Tendencies?

The shortest way I could put it is this – they are how we are naturally wired to respond to expectations – inner and outer. This is based on the book by Gretchen Rubin of the same title – The Four Tendencies.

What is your tendency? Take this quiz to find out. This takes less than 5 minutes to answer and see the results.

Just one tip to make sure your result is as accurate as possible – pick the answer that comes first. If you spent time thinking about the answer, it might be an image that you want of yourself or something other people want you to uphold. Be honest for you to get the most out of it.

The author, Gretchen has an upholder tendency. Yours truly has rebel tendency. Just to be clear, I am not a rebel in the current associations of this word and definitely not armed… but admittedly, there’s a bit of resistance. In everything. What this means is that I have the natural tendency to resist outer expectations as well as inner expectations.

I can’t wait to know what your tendencies are! I will explain more about these tomorrow. This will serve as our “studs.” So check back and see the best way, based on your tendency, for you to stick to our 30-day plan and get things done!

The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

Want to Find out Another Person’s Tendency?

Now, this is fun. Obviously, one way is to have them take the quiz. But in cases when that is not possible or cannot do at the moment, there’s an informal method to figure out someone’s tendency.

Here are a few clues (from The Four Tendencies Course):

Ask: “How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions?”
What to listen for:

• In general, Upholders enjoy New Year’s resolutions, and will also make resolutions at other times.
• Questioners will make and keep resolutions, but they often object that January 1 is an arbitrary date, or that it’s
inefficient to wait to start a resolution.
• Obligers often say that they no longer make New Year’s resolutions because they’ve failed so often in the past.
Or if they do make them, they often don’t keep them.
• Generally, Rebels won’t bind themselves with resolutions. Occasionally, Rebels find it fun to do so, and they
emphasize that they wanted to do it, they enjoyed it, they liked the challenge.

“Looking back, can you remember a time when you succeeded in changing an important habit?”
An answer such as, “For years, I walked every morning with a neighbor—but she moved away, and I don’t do it anymore”
suggests Obliger, while, “I read a lot of the new research about the value of strength-training, and after interviewing a
few trainers, I now strength-train regularly” suggests Questioner, and “I run when I feel like it” suggests Rebel.
Upholders will have many examples

For each Tendency, one question matters most:
• Upholders ask: “Should I do this?”
• Questioners ask: “Does this make sense?”
• Obligers ask: “Does this matter to anyone else?”
• Rebels ask: “Is this the person I want to be?”

Remember that these are only clues and should not be used to “box” people in certain categories neither are these to be used to judge them. We wanted to know our tendencies to help us through the next 30 days and to commit to the changes we want and need so we can be more confident and successful.

Update: When you’re done with the, quiz, click here for your guidance using The Four Tendencies.


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For Strengths Coaching and HR Consulting, please send an email to emiletherese@yahoo.com. As a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, I am happy to join your personal, family and team development journey. 

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