This episode is a review of Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies. This book explains so much about what motivates people and it can really be a window into why some people do what they do. Do you know why some people are intrinsically motivated and why others need an external source pushing them to get them to do things? Do you know someone that questions every little thing? Listen to this episode of My Biz Bestie to hear about the four tendencies so that you can understand why some people do what they do.

What are the four tendencies?

Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Four tendencies posits the theory that people fall into four categories when it comes to responding to expectations. She labels the four tendencies as upholders, questioners, rebels, and obligers. Knowing someone’s tendency can help you to understand how to work and interact with them. And knowing your own tendency can help you to make better decisions and respond to deadlines appropriately. Listen to this review to get a great overview of the book to find out if it could be helpful in your life.


What is an upholder?

An upholder is able to respond well to both external and internal motivations. They can follow through in just about any circumstances. They can meet deadlines that others impose upon them as well as fulfill their own expectations with little problem. The funny thing is; self-help gurus are generally upholders because they find it so easy to follow through with tasks that they want to teach others how. Listen to this episode to hear about all four tendencies.

What is a questioner?

The questioner resists expectations set by others, yet meets inner expectations that they place on themselves. The questioner always questions why and is driven by a need to understand why things happen. To get a project done they must have an internal motivation. The questioner resists doing something for others, so they turn every expectation into an inner expectation for it to get done. Working with a questioner can be frustrating, but once you realize that this person is just trying to understand, it will be much easier to work with that person. These are great people to question whether something is the best thing for the company. Does this sound like someone you know? Listen in to hear more about questioners on this episode of My Biz Bestie.

Who are the rebels?

The rebel is the rarest type of tendency. They are not motivated by internal or external motivations. If you tell a rebel to do something they do the opposite, just like a toddler. Sometimes they are contrarian. But when they want to do it or decide that something is important to them then they will do it. The rebel is very true to themselves, when they wake up in the morning they say, “what do I want to do today?” Rebels act out of a sense of choice and freedom. The rebels find it hard to create habits since they can break their own expectations. Listen to this episode and see if you can guess which tendency you fall under.

What do obligers do?

Obligers are people who meet outer expectations but struggle to meet their own inner expectations. Obligers really need an external motivation to get the job done and have a hard time achieving their own goals or setting their own deadlines. One way that obligers find success is to find accountability groups or partners. Obligers are often fantastic employees since they are eager to follow other people’s deadlines. There can be a downfall to being an obliger though. Listen to this episode to hear what the negatives are to the obliger tendency.

In this episode…

  • [3:12] What are the 4 tendencies?

  • [3:35] What is an upholder?

  • [4:29] What is a questioner?

  • [9:02] Who is a rebel?

  • [19:10] What are obligers?

  • [24:11] Rebels and obligers are good partners

  • [32:22] If you struggle with anxiety or depression these things can affect you differently

  • [35:09] Online courses are not the best fit for most people

Resources & People Mentioned

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