The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How To Make Your Life Better

To say that I am a raving fan of the book, The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How To Make Your Life Better is an understatement.  If you and I have interacted at all, you probably recall me mentioning this book.  I am not kidding when I say this book changed my life.   

Gretchen (I listen to her podcast, so I feel like I can refer to her on a first name basis) has identified four personality profiles as they relate to meeting inner and outer expectations.  The four profiles are: Upholder, Obliger, Questioner and Rebel.  I am an Obliger which means that I readily and easily meet outer expectations.  If I am given an assignment at work, I deliver good results on time.  My leader has rarely had to ask me about the status of a project.  I stretch myself thin at work simply because I am asked to complete the project.  I apply the same attitude to requests I receive outside of work.  If someone asks for a favor I usually do it.  I have a hard time saying no to others; however, when I want to do something for myself, it’s a different story.  I rarely take time for myself because I put others first.  I need something bigger than myself to hold me accountable.    

The Four Tendencies includes a quick, free quiz that helps its readers identify their profile and then offers suggestions on how to deal with any shortcomings related to meeting expectations.  For example, I learned that I need to tell someone else my commitment in order to keep it.  Ironically, I never used this approach in the past for fear of embarrassment if I failed to meet the commitment.  However, I tried it and the approach really worked for me.  I wish Rubin had created these profiles years ago.  The profile is also useful with co-workers and family members.  It has helped me be a better leader and spouse.  

Critics of the book suggest that because Gretchen is not a psychologist (she went to law school at Yale and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor) and has not been trained in research, her work lacks scientific authority.  Many individuals considered to be experts lacked either a degree in their field of expertise or never had any post-secondary degree: Ben Franklin, Charles Darwin and Jane Goodall to name a few.  

Gretchen now has over one million completed quizzes and a lot of commentary as to how well these profiles resonate and how helpful her suggestions are in achieving accountability.  Gretchen is a good observer of human behavior as were the other famous contributors I just mentioned.  The bottom line is that this book helped me take back control of my life and health and that is more than enough to earn my praise.