I’ve always loved learning about people. I studied various types of age categories in my undergrad in an Applied Science degree called Adult Development, Families and Well-Being. I love reading up on astrological signs and I love taking quizzes to learn more about myself and how I relate to other personality-types, etc.
So, when Penguin Random House Canada asked if I was interested in partnering to talk about Gretchen Rubin’s – author of the Happiness Project – new book The Four Tendencies, I of course said ‘yes’! The Four Tendencies is based on the idea that there are four different tendency types (or personality profiles) that we fall into and how understanding the different tendencies can help us better understand ourselves and the relationships we have with others, which in turn can help better our lives.
When I started reading The Four Tendencies (which took me a month to read because I’m the slowest reader on the planet) I had talked to a few people about what I was reading and a common response I got was that it sounded like a structured approach that boxed people into specific constraints. Right off the bat though, The Four Tendencies explains that it’s not meant to constrain people to specific labels, but that it’s a framework to help further our knowledge of ourselves and others. It’s meant to provide insight into the tendencies we have and how we can use them to the best of our ability.
As I read the book, I learned that if we are able to recognize our tendency, or the tendency of others around us, we can better adjust situations in order to boost our chances of success…and if we understand others’ tendencies, we’ll be more tolerant and understanding of their behaviour.
In the book and online, there is a quiz to help you determine your tendency; the four tendencies include: upholder, questioner, obliger and rebel. I took the quiz and came out as an upholder, but as I read the book I realized I was also a bit of a questioner.
I totally related to everything described as an upholder tendency – it seriously felt like those couple chapters on the upholder tendency were written about me. As an upholder, I tend to meet outer expectations just as equally as I meet inner expectations. I’m also very much…
- Self-motivated and like to do things that I think up. I also, however, am good at getting things done when asked by someone else.
- A self-starter. I like to get things done without having to be asked and I don’t like waiting on someone for help – I’ll just get it started (or done) on my own.
- Scheduled and reliable when it comes to time. I hate being late and I like to have a plan. When plans change though, I tend to get anxious because it wasn’t what I had anticipated.
- A big rule follower! I love rules! But when a rule is arbitrary, I hate it (which is the ‘questioner in me). Like, why can I only bring in five items into the fitting room? Or if there is a sign that says ‘no dogs on grass’, I’ll very happily walk my dog on that grass. Rules that don’t have any valid explanation don’t make any sense to me.
- Impatient when I’m working with others who don’t follow the same deadlines or rules. It seriously frustrates me!
Upholders also hate making mistakes – including me! It’s something I always work on, but I’m a huge perfectionist and kick myself when something isn’t perfect.
What I Learned
Learning more about myself as an upholder taught me how to use my strengths and weaknesses to my advantage and gave me a look into how others tend to view me.
One of the biggest things I realized after reading about my personality profile/tendency is that in a work setting, my focus on rules and schedules can sometimes make me come across as uptight and cold to coworkers. I can totally see how I could come across like that. When I’m at work, I’m at work. I have my routines and schedules and I like to stick to them. I’m in the zone and I just want to stay on task…so that could totally make me come across as uptight. Knowing that people might perceive me as that has made me more mindful of how I should interact going forward. I’m not saying I’ll change my ways of how I work, but maybe I’ll try to be a bit more flexible with my schedules.
The Four Tendencies
Over the next four weeks I’ll be highlighting four different individuals who fall under each tendency. I’ll give a little overview of the tendency and then share a Q&A feature of them.
Share your results in the comments below!