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Hey Friends,

Most of us aren’t ready for all the expectations the world piles onto us, let alone the internal ones we have of ourselves that add to the pressure. And yet, somehow we deal with them. We learn, we struggle and over time, hopefully we get better. Of course we develop much of our approach to dealing with our internal and life’s external expectations subconsciously. Identifying the approach you’ve shaped so far is what The Four Tendencies are for. 

Yes, I have recently re-read ‘The Four Tendencies’ written by GRETCHEN RUBIN. Int his blog I would be giving you a quick insight about this fantastic work done by Gretchen Rubin. She says ;-

There is no magic, one-size-fits all answer for building a happier, healthier, more productive life.

The Four Tendencies: The Premise

The Four Tendencies is a personality profile framework to help you understand how you and the people around you deal with their outer and inner expectations, so you can better manage your life, work and relationships.

Understanding the four tendencies has three primary benefits:

1. Self-mastery in getting yourself to do things.

2. Influencing others to do things.

3. Understanding why others do or don’t do things, which reduces frustration and increases harmony.

Upholders, Questioners, Obligers and Rebels

Upholders meet inner and outer expectations. They love rules, having a clear plan and are self-motivated and disciplined.  

Questioners meet their own expectations, but resist outer ones. They need to see purpose and reason in anything they do.  

Obligers meet other peoples’ expectations easily, but struggle with their own. The must be held accountable by a friend, coach or boss to get things done. 

Rebels defy both outer and inner expectations. Above all, they want to be free to choose and express their own individuality.  

Obligers: The Biggest and Hardest Group to Be In

The largest group are Obligers

In theory, that’s not a problem, because it’s fairly easy for Obligers to make good use of their tendency. As long as they set up a good accountability system, they can be consistent and reach their goals.

Obligers often face the biggest inner struggle, because they always put everyone else before themselves.  

This can culminate in self-sabotage through little acts of defiance that end up hurting themselves more than anyone else, for example failing a test on purpose, just to prove a point.

Upholders: People Who Are Good at Upholding Their Commitments and Responsibilities

An Upholder is someone who gets things done efficiently and makes time for themselves as well. An Upholders responds well to both other people’s expectations and their own personal ones so they’re very reliable at work and get all of their tasks done without any trouble.

Some upholders can be so obedient that they don’t question what the rules are and follow them without thinking. These people often become snitches because of their need to obey authority. They also tend to resist change, which is why they’re not as successful in life as others who are more critical thinkers.

Questioners: The Quest For Logic And Purpose

Questioners turn all outer expectations into inner expectations if they believe its reasonable and efficient. Thus, Questioners only meet inner expectations.

Questioners excel at being logical and efficient in everything they do. But they can also be viewed as annoying for their constant questioning unless they are very socially adept when asking those questions.

Some random characteristics of Questioners: They hate waiting in line, they love spreadsheets, and they love sharing articles.


Rebels want to do what they want to do, in their own way, and on their own time. If someone else tells them to do the exact same thing, they will resist. They don’t even want to tell themselves to do something. They prefer to act from freedom, choice, and self-expression.

Rebels might struggle with themselves because conventional advice doesn’t work for them. They are told to set goals and to get outer accountability by all the other tendencies, but those things actually make it harder for Rebels to do things because they feel a lack of freedom.

The Four Tendencies: Multiple Traits Framework

People may not fit squarely into one of the four tendencies. Technically, people most likely fit into one of 8 primary-secondary combinations ( It’s like being a cusp in zodiac-sign analogy ):

  1. Upholder-Questioner
  2. Upholder-Obliger
  3. Obliger-Upholder
  4. Obliger-Rebel
  5. Questioner-Upholder
  6. Questioner-Rebel
  7. Rebel-Obliger
  8. Rebel-Questioner

For example, a Questioner-Upholder is more likely to meet outer expectations than a Questioner-Rebel.

My Takeaway :- Don’t Box Yourself in With This Framework, Use It to Understand Your Own Behavior Better

I would say it’s easy to get carried away with personality types like these, but that’s dangerous. When you chisel your tendency in stone you might accept it, but you’ll also turn it into an excuse and stop believing that you can change.

So, instead of putting yourself in a box, use this concept to get to know yourself better, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and improve your relationships with others by being mindful of their tendencies. 

Joe Sehrawat

I firmly belibve that ‘personality is not Permanent’ and for that matter – nothing is permanent in this world.

Take good care & enjoy reading your dose of cerebral happiness.


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Main Image Credit: Photo by Tim Hüfner on Unsplash

Get in touch… — JOE’s LIFE SKILLS LAB/Joe Sehrawat

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