Listening to Jonathan Fields in conversation with his longtime friend Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project if you’ve read that book? I have. Enjoyed it. This conversation centers around The four tendencies, something which Gretchen apparently touched on in one of her earlier books, and then dove deeper into, making it the topic for her current book The four tendencies, a book I most definitely want to read after listening to this podcast.
The four tendencies centers on how we, as human beings, relate to inner and outer expectations – being prone to or resisting one or the other. The four tendencies are given names; Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, Rebel. More than 800 000 people have taken Gretchens simple online test to get a feel for ones own core tendency, and I turned out to be an Upholder. Not surprising, just from the podcast itself I felt the most connected to this tendency, and the online test confirmed it.
As I listen to the podcast (over and over again), clarity arises.
Clarity in why I am good at keeping promises to myself (such as meditating every morning and doing my daily Seven, such as promising myself to practice the guitar for twenty minutes a day for sixty days, and following through) but also towards others (meeting deadlines, keeping promises, getting the job done).
Clarity in why some people struggle with things that come naturally to me, because I can see other tendencies in them, giving me a greater understanding in what makes them tick, one way or another, which might make me become a better coach, mother, business partner and friend in the future.
Clarity as to how the assignment “to make people better at motivating others” isn’t about what works for me, but rather about the four ways there are to have people gain the most traction from their own inner driving forces. A Upholder meets both inner and outer expectations. For a Questioner understanding why is central making them meet their own inner expecations. The Obliger struggles and fails to meet inner expectations but readily meets outer ones. And at last the Rebel, resisting both outer and inner expectations, which to me sounds really tricky. I mean, what remains then? Spur of the moment, I guess?
If we all knew our own tendencies, and had sufficient knowledge about the other three, for sure that would make a huge difference in any setting we find ourselves in. At school, at work, with the closest family, with friends. Knowing my own tendency, which is actually quite rare, which means what works for me, won’t necessarily work for you. And if you and I both have some knowledge about our respective core tendencies, perhaps there is a greater opportunity for us to find common ground, to be able to stand by one another, being there for each other in ways that are truly helpful?