In this 99U talk, bestselling author Gretchen Rubin shares the four personality types when it comes to adopting new habits or “rules.” Knowing your personality type and its pros and cons are instrumental to adopting new habits and behavior.
When someone (even yourself) gives you a rule to follow what do you do?
Are you a Rebel, refusing to follow all directives?
Or are you more of an Obliger who will respond to outer rules, but so much to inner rules?
It turns out that it’s very important to know yourself and your own nature. People are very different from each other.
There are 4 categories of how people respond to the idea of rules:
- The upholder.- responds very readily to outer rules and inner rules alike.
- The questioners.- question all rules, but will follow rules if they make sense.
- The rebel.- resists all rules, outer rules and inner rules alike.
- The obliger.- responds readily to outer rules but struggles to keep inner rules.
1. Upholders are motivated by fulfillment.
- Very much want to know the rules and what’s expected of them.
- Want to avoid making mistakes or letting people down (including themselves).
So upholders wake up and think: What’s on the schedule and the to-do list for today?
Pros: Compliance, learning the rules, stick in the rules, good at self-starting. They are very interested in seeking the rules beyond the rules.
Cons: Rigid. Sometimes, paranoid.
2. Questioners are motivated by sound reasons.
- Must decide for themselves that a course of action makes sense.
- Won’t follow rules with which they disagree, or which seem arbitrary.
Questioners wake up and think: What needs to get done today?
Pros: Intellectually engaged: Why, why, why? Very healthy
Cons: If they don’t think it make sense, they are not going to follow it. And they might not bother to tell you. Sometimes paralyzed, if they need more information. Others, exhausting.
3. Rebels are motivated by present desire.
- Resist control, even self-control.
- Choose to act from a sense of freedom (plus they do love to flout)
- Can sometimes be goaded into action by the thought…
Rebels wake up and think: What do I want to do today?
Pros: Are not contrained by the rules. They are happy to break the rules.
Cons: Resist control, even self-control.
4. Obligers are motivated by external accountability.
- Find it difficult to fulfill obligations they impose on themselves.
- Dislike letting other people down.
- Respond well to…
- Coaches, partners, trainers, late fees
- Responsability as role model
- Being monitored
Obligers wake up and think: What’s expected of me today?
Pros: Very reliable, great for the team.
Cons: People-pleaser, susceptible to burnout.
The Secret: Self-knowledge. The better you know yourself–your own nature, your own interest, your own value, your own temperament–the better able you are to bring these elements into everyday life and therefore, to be happier.