More on The Four Tendencies

More on The Four Tendencies
This is part 2 of 2 in the series about The Four Tendencies. You can find part 1 here.

I’ve been reading The Republic and I’m beginning to think Socrates was a Questioner. And it gives me some insight into why he was finally given the option to be banished or executed.

Questioners are difficult creatures to live with.

I say the above a little tongue in cheek. Because so are Rebels. And Upholders – and don’t forget the Obligers.

In my last blog post about the four tendencies, I mentioned that I realized I was a Rebel. Knowing this one small detail has made my life easier than I ever imagined.

Your Child Has a Dominant Tendency and So Do You

Knowing my children’s dominant personality has helped us resolve conflicts that were otherwise springing up seemingly out of nowhere.

For instance, my daughter who is an Upholder tends to remember every small thing I said and hold me accountable for it.

Since she tends to meet outer and inner expectations herself, I have no problems with her getting her schoolwork done on time. She’s an A student all the way.

What I have trouble with is getting her to do something different. 

As a Rebel, her desire for Upholder stability bothers me incessantly. I imagine my constant Rebel desire to change it up annoys her as well.

I have learned therefore that the same things that make up her strengths also create her weaknesses. It’s just her dominant tendency. It’s best to work with it.

My son is a Questioner. I can’t just give him work and expect it to get done.

My husband and I were constantly struck by his seeming apathy. Except it wasn’t that. He just didn’t see the reason to do something.

So for him our strategy has to do with giving him clear motivation and reinforcement. Without a clear reward or punishment, he has no reason to act.

It’s not all bad, though. Being a Questioner makes him more likely to be self motivated when he wants to learn something. And because he is curious, he gets obsessed with things and finds out about them on his own.

Managing a Rebel Tendency

In my last post, I mentioned how motivations that worked for others had the opposite effect on me. The very things that others used as tools to get things done actually demotivated me.

Signing up in advance for 5K runs, getting a gym buddy, getting a trainer… these were driven by accountability and others’ expectations that would work for Obligers, but not for a Rebel.

For me to do something and to have the continued energy and motivation to do something, I had to believe I was going against the grain. Spontaneous workouts, runs while the children played in the park and weights like kettlebells and dumbells on our back patio worked much better.

Also, I had to believe I was eating right with a steady stream of research because lack of results made me abandon ventures. Eventually, I got it right.

Rebel tendencies have some great strengths, if they’re used right. I finally figured out how to work with myself and ended much of my frustration.

So, knowing this, what is your dominant tendency? And how do you work with it?

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Author: Purva Brown

Writer / blogger at - unapologetically blending two seeming opposites.

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