The Four Tendencies Book Review

My goal this year is to read 52 books. This was one of my first reads this year. The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better, by Gretchen Rubin. Besides having the longest titles of any book I have read, it is one of my favorite.

I have always struggled with my need for other people to encourage me along the way. At the beginning of this book you take a quiz. To take the short quiz here is a link:

I have done the DISC, Myers Briggs, what spirit animal are you test and have learned a lot about myself. But The Four Tendencies really dealt with one area of my personality that I have never understood. How I deal with outer and internal expectations. WOW! Here are the four tendencies:

  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations (I do what I say)
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense–essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations, they take a long time to make a decision because they are questioning if there is a better answer. The funny thing is, they don’t like to be asked a lot of questions.
  • Obligers meet outer expectations of others, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves (highly committed to keeping commitments to others but struggle to do what they say for themselves.)
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike (If you want me to do it, I probably won’t unless you present it in a non-threatening way)

 I am an Obliger. I work very hard to keep my commitments to others, but struggle to keep my personal commitments. Here is a short list:

  • I am never drinking Coke Zero again (lasted six months)
  • I am doing Whole 30 the whole 30 days (lasted 14 days)
  • I am going to the gym for the next 90 days (never started that time)
  • I am going to read my Bible everyday for the rest of my life (so long ago)
  • No alcohol ever again (said after being drunk several times)
  • No alcohol Monday through Thursday (Tuesday I am saying, “who would say something so stupid and inflexible?”)
  • I will journal at least one line a day (Life long dream)
  • No bread, pasta or potatoes for life (Commitment made at midnight, broken by lunch)

When I read The Four Tendencies it explained that The Obliger needs accountability. WHAT? Who Me? Couldn’t be? Accountability is key for The Obliger to keep commitments to themselves. I cannot tell you what a relief this was for me. I am not a sad loser who is not just undisciplined, this is the way I am made. I NEED ACCOUNTABILITY!!!! Woohoo!!!

So how does this play out in my life today?

  1. I am slow to make commitments to myself without first examining if I can truly keep this commitment. I have taken all my past commitments and thrown them out the window and I am re-examining them to make sure they are realistic.
  2. No forever commitments anymore.
  3. In areas of my life that I struggle to keep my commitments I ask others to keep me accountable. It is embarrassing to say, I was a personal trainer for 7.5 years and a Health Coach for another 7.5 years and got very unhealthy. I got busy, way too busy; I quit working out and quit eating as healthy as I know how. My boss suggested I get a personal trainer again because it had worked for me before I became a personal trainer. I was too prideful to ask someone to train me when I was a personal trainer and knew what I should be doing, so I never did it and just got unhealthier. After I quit my job, I thought I would go to the gym, but three months had gone by and it never happened. I was desperate to get healthy so I humbled myself and hired a personal trainer! Wooohooo! Best decision ever! If I pay for something, I am going to do it!  I show up every time!  It has helped me over a huge hurdle.
  4. I am slower to commit to others. I love to please people, I love to help. In the past, I worked hard to find ways to help people and then I did not have the energy to take care of myself.  Sometimes I wonder if I did things for other to avoid by personal committments?

This book really helped me accept my need for accountability.  I am using the knowledge daily.