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Personality Diagnostic - The Four Tendencies

In the continued spirit of self study, I’m sharing my experience with Gretchen Rubin’s personality diagnostic, The Four Tendencies. If you’ve enjoyed the Enneagram or Gallup Strengths, you may enjoy Gretchen Rubin’s research as well.

This personality test studies specifically how you respond to expectations, both inner and outer. There are four possible tendencies: the Upholder, the Obliger, the Rebel and the Questioner.

To explore The Four Tendencies you can take your pick of resources! I took the free quiz here to get started. Once you’ve completed the quiz and you know your tendency, continue your research with The New York Times Bestseller book, the app, special episodes of her podcast, blog posts or the video course.

I am an Upholder, just like Gretchen Rubin. I “respond readily to outer and inner expectations.” I suspect this is why a Bullet Journal is so handy for me--Upholders appreciate to-do lists and tend to be self-directed. (More on the Bullet Journal here.) Fellow upholders will also likely be reliable, yet inflexible, both of which can be true for me. However, as I age and encounter various family and work dynamics, I find that I have developed an openness to change when needed (room to grow, though!). According to Rubin, Upholders can also be relentless. My Gallup Strengths profile has also indicated this sort of drive as well--Discipline and Learner are among my top themes. This ability to stay focused has been a wonderful asset in the remote working environment of COVID-19.

Fellow Upholders are Melissa Hartwig, founder of The Whole30, and the fictional Hermoine Granger of Harry Potter. If you find yourself one of the other tendencies, you’ll also be in good company. Magician Penn Gillette is a Rebel; Tiffany Dufu, author of Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less, is an Obliger; and the title character in Jane Eyre is a Questioner.

As with other personality research, The Four Tendencies can provide useful information for understanding family and colleagues. Rubin also shares how each Tendency deals with the current pandemic here, and her blog and podcast continue to provide new information associated with this line of research. Share your Tendency on our Instagram and Facebook pages!

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