The Four Tendencies Will Change the Way You See Yourself & Others

March 27, 2019 | Episode #35
Gretchen Rubin's The Four Tendencies will change how you view personalities, people, and expectations. Then, we'll cover some useful Google search hacks.

The Four Tendencies

Make Life Easier

This week, we’re talking about The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. It’s a phenomenal framework for thinking about people and personalities!

One of my digital mentors, Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Four Tendencies

Gretchen Rubin is a happiness researcher and podcast host living in New York City.

She’s the host of the podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin (my favorite podcast!), as well as the author of a number of books. This includes one of her latest books The Four Tendencies, which we’re talking about this week!

What are The Four Tendencies?

  • The Four Tendencies are Gretchen Rubin’s framework for how folks deal with expectations
  • Looks at whether inner and outer expectations are met or resisted
  • Only describes expectations (and not other facets of life)
  • They are: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel

1. Upholder: Meets outer & inner expectations

19% of people

Discipline is my freedom.

  • Strengths
    • Someone who does the things they’ve said they would
    • Sticks to deadlines
    • Self-motivated & self-starter
    • Reliable & thorough
  • Weaknesses
    • Someone who can be inflexible & rigid
    • Seen as uptight
    • Impatient with folks who don’t meet outer expectations
  • Dealing with
    • They get things done
    • They can be counted on
    • Sometimes need to be reminded that others don’t always meet expectations like they do
    • May have trouble delegating

2. Questioner: Resists outer & meets inner expectations

24% of people

I’ll comply — if you convince me why.

  • Strengths
    • Efficiency & effectiveness are key
    • Data-driven
    • Rejects doing things because that’s the way they’ve always been done
    • Fair minded because they weigh the evidence
  • Weaknesses
    • Over-questioning can lead to analysis-paralysis
    • Don’t like being questioned themselves
    • Impatient with others, especially folks who don’t simply accept their reasoning
  • Dealing with
    • Bring data, reason, and research
    • Remember that it’s in their nature to ask lots of questions. It’s usually not meant to be uncooperative.
    • They hate anything arbitrary
    • They resist tradition for the sake of tradition (because that’s the way we’ve always done it will most likely be met with So what? Why?)

3. Obliger: Meets outer & resists inner expectations

41% of people (largest group)

You can count on me, and I’m counting on you to count on me.

  • Strengths
    • Works well in teams
    • Readily gets things done for others
    • Seen as responsible
  • Weaknesses
    • Can easily get burned out if too much is expected
    • Exploitable if without boundaries (e.g., a boss who demands too much)
    • Overwork can lead to obliger-rebellion
  • Dealing with
    • External accountability is huge! A spouse, relative, partner, or group can be the key.
    • They need deadlines
    • Others sometimes see their need for external accountability as weakness. It’s not! It’s just the way they are. Learn to use this as an advantage.
    • Don’t expect too much. When overworked, they can rebel.

4. Rebel: Resists outer & inner expectations

17% of people / Smallest group

You can’t make me,  and neither can I.

  • Strengths
    • Independent
    • Will ditch norms
    • Creative / out-of-the-box thinking
    • Good understanding of themselves
  • Weaknesses
    • Can be uncooperative / inconsiderate
    • Consistency can be an issue
    • So can routines and planning
    • Can be restless
  • Dealing with
    • They value choice, integrity, identity
    • They’ll naturally resist things that are asked of them
    • Appeal to sense of identity: Good parents do X. If they see themselves as a good parent, they’ll comply.
    • Good at delegating

Discover your tendency

  • If you’re curious about your tendency, take Gretchen Rubin’s quiz!
  • You can find it by clicking here

What’s my tendency?

  • Based on this podcast alone, it’s pretty obvious that I’m a Questioner
  • I love to… well… ask questions!
  • Optimization and data are my favorite!
  • I tend to tip toward upholder, but I can occasionally tip a bit toward rebel too

How to use this framework: Some additional resources

Google Search Hacks

Make Work Easier

In the spirit of my Questioner tendency, I thought I’d share a quick life hack for better Google searches:

1. Exact match

Put your search in quotes to force google to search for that exact phrase.

  • Tallest building vs. “Tallest building in Chicago”

2. Eliminate keywords

If you’re getting results you don’t want, try eliminating keywords using the minus sign (-).

  • Keto pizza vs. Keto pizza -cauliflower (eliminates results with “cauliflower”)
  • Apple vs. Apple -fruit (eliminates “fruit”, likely forcing Google to focus on Apple the company)

3. Require keywords

If you want to guarantee that a specific keyword is in your results, add a plus sign (+)

  • Keto pizza vs. Keto pizza +cauliflower (all search results will have “cauliflower” in them)
  • Apple vs. Apple +fruit (search results will have “fruit” in them)

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What’s Next?

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In this episode, it’s all about my favorite podcast, the pens I think are best for writing, and why you should keep your gum wrappers!

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