“Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am.” ~ Thomas Merton

Gretchen Rubin’s latest book is the perfect conversation starter.

Initially, when I began reading this book I was sceptical of a system that put people’s personalities neatly into a box. It just seemed too good to be true and a bit narrow minded.

Upon finishing the book, I was amazed by not only the simplicity of her system but the flexibility of it too. Undoubtedly, this is a book that many people should read to better understand those around them.

For Rubin, there are four major tendencies; upholders, questioners, obligers and rebels. Each tendency has its own worldview and method to getting things done. The author guides us through these in a expertly written book. You can take the short quiz to find out which tendency you are for free!

“Self-knowledge is crucial because we can build a happy life only on the foundation of our own nature, our own interests, and our own values.” ~GR

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I am a rebel apparently. I not only rail against other people’s expectations of me, I also constantly fight against my own expectations of myself! Hilariously, it took me a few days to accept this!

The best thing about The Four Tendencies is the author clearly states that none of the tendencies are bad. So no matter which category you fall into, you have certain strengths and weaknesses that you can harness to your advantage. Similarly, when you know more about your partner’s or work colleagues’ tendencies, you can communicate more effectively with them.

“The happiest, healthiest, most productive people aren’t those from a particular Tendency, but rather they’re the people who have figured out how to harness the strengths of their Tendency, counteract the weaknesses, and build the lives that work for them.” ~GR

For rebels like myself, my identity is very important to me. When I do something, it must link to who I am fundamentally. For example, if I go to the gym it is because I strongly believe in staying fit. I might rebel against a fixed routine or gym programme, but I will get it done in my own way and in my own time. By making a goal more convenient or flexible to achieve, I increase my chances of success.

Clarity is also important for rebels. They must know what is exactly expected of them and why it is expected of them. Justification leads to motivation. The classic scenario here is when a rebel is asked to do something and they often hesitate or do the opposite just to be controversial. Asking a rebel in a less demanding manner and giving them a strong sense of purpose will often make things much easier. For example, asking a rebel to do a job when they are available is much better than springing a surprise errand on them! To read more about rebels, click here.

“It’s been freeing to focus on what works for me rather than what’s wrong with me.” ~GR

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As a rebel, I must channel my inner James Dean and learn to use my rebel tendencies for good!

I listened to this as an audiobook and really enjoyed it. It was only about six hours long and it was enthusiastically narrated by the author. When I needed to research further, there was plenty of material available to read online for free. Looking back, it would have been great to have a hard copy of this book to refer to and share with friends. Laughing at the quirks of your own tendencies was the best part!

The Four Tendencies has captivated my interest for a couple of days now and I still enjoy reading articles about it. Already, I have noticed that some of the strategies are great for understanding myself and those around me. As a communication tool, this book would be invaluable for anyone who works closely with others on a daily basis.

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Did you do the quiz? Let me know what tendency you are!