Everyone is wired differently. I think if you were to open up a person’s soul you would find a dizzying array of gears and mechanisms and forces at play. There is nature, then there is nurture, then there is just stuff that happens to us, stuff that we choose and what we learn from it. The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin presents her spin on another factor in the complex nature of mankind: motivation.
According to Rubin, the Four Tendencies refers to 4 categories (and variations therein):
The Upholder-responds to internal and external expectations
The Questioner-responds to internal, not necessarily external expectations
The Rebel-responds to neither internal nor external expectations
The Obliger-responds to external, not necessarily internal expectations
I used to love doing personality tests so I could put myself in a box–and others, too. It was nice to have an excuse for my shortcomings or a crutch for my limitations as well as a soapbox for my choleric melancholy disposition (read opinionated and moody). However, I think the years are starting to add up, and have given me permission to not be so unforgiving . In other words: while I like to “organize” myself, my friends and family by type, I now only use the analysis as a general outline. I needed to let people be bigger and different than the boxes I was putting them in. I am beginning to appreciate the wisdom of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple with her crazy comparisons of like people. I find it easier to recognize patterns of like behavior than to simply label a person.
While Rubin wants to make the case that you can cross over slightly from one tendency to the other, she claims that your primary tendency will never change–it is nature. I guess I would like to think that I am not so easily organized–though my friends reading this will probably roll their eyes as they most likely have already read this and labeled me. They may not know, though, that I am a different person today than I was when I was 21. I can cite different times and situations in my life when I have been more prominently one or the other tendencies.
I rarely agree 100% with any author. I take what works for me and leave the rest behind. If you do not have a clear understanding of how you operate, the Four Tendencies may be helpful as a tool to do so. It is not a difficult read and may provide some insight into how you operate.
Your Momentum Group will probably find much to discuss as you evaluate one another in the process!