Monday, July 16, 2018

Four Tendencies...

I recently finished listening to a library audio-version of Gretchen Rubin's book on personality types, The Four Tendencies. It's an interesting book - but, though I was able to immediately peg Terry's personality type (rebel!), I have had a hard time finding myself!

Terry is definitely a rebel! Fulfilling other people's expectations is a real struggle for him. Maybe that's why he had a hard time with writing reports - an essential part of his social work job. But he loved the freedom of setting his own schedule. These are all rebel tendencies.

(In some ways, I'm a bit of a rebel, too... I hate the idea of being told what to do. If anything grated on me about being a teacher, it was having to live and plan my life in 10 month terms. No taking a week off here and there because I felt I needed a break! I especially hated following a curriculum I didn't believe was that great...)

Neither Terry nor I would describe ourselves as obligers, people who want to make other people happy above all - though at times, we each wish the other had more obliger tendencies. (When told I wouldn't be able to do housework for 6 weeks after my recent surgery, Terry's reply was: I'll give you two weeks... But our biggest area of disagreement tends to be which alternate route would get us home faster, if we find ourselves in a traffic jam...)

Listening to this audio-book, at first I thought that, as an older child, I was an upholder - a person who responds to rules and expectations, both inner (personal) and outer (from others). The upholder wakes up every morning asking him or herself: What's on my schedule for today? They are motivated by getting things done.

(Although I don't like to follow other people's expectations if they aren't what I want to do, in some ways, this describes me... I tend to be organized and conscious of what I want to accomplish on any given day.)

After finishing the book, I've concluded that I'm a questioner, a person who is very motivated to do the things they want to do, but who asks a lot of questions... I remember my high school history teacher (whom I really liked) commenting - on my report card - that I was "constructively argumentative." That became a family joke... They knew me as argumentative, whether or not it was constructive!

When I later looked up further information on the four tendencies online, I saw that questioners can be very motivated - but only if they see the point of what they are doing. That definitely would be me!

Why is all this important?!

Because it helps teachers, bosses, co-workers, medical professionals and family members know how to best make requests and give advice without generating unnecessary conflict. A rebel, for example, resists any advice given by someone else, even a doctor. So they need to be given the facts and then left to make their own decisions. A questioner, in the same position, will probably do a lot of research before following medical advice, and then they will do it only if they see the point of it.

Again I have to conclude: That is me! Perhaps that's also why I have so many books about type 2 diabetes... I don't want to make any changes to my life unless I think it's the right thing to do!

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