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  • gretchenrubin 10:40:32 on 2017/08/20 Permalink
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    Why I Named the Four Tendencies the “Four Tendencies.” 


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    Since college, when I first read it, I’ve been haunted by an observation by Freud, where he notes that the names of the three Goddesses of Fate mean “the accidental within the decrees of destiny,” “the inevitable,” and “the fateful tendencies each one of us brings into the world.

    — Sigmund Freud, The Freud Reader, “The Theme of the Three Caskets.”

    When I read this, it seemed perfectly to distill the three threads of fate.

    The fateful tendencies each one of us brings into the world. Years later, when I was trying to figure out what to name the categories that I’d identified as part of human nature — Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, Rebel — I thought back on that passage. So I named my framework the “Four Tendencies.”

    Calling them “fateful” struck me as slightly melodramatic. What do you think? Would that have been a terrific name, or too much?

    The post Why I Named the Four Tendencies the “Four Tendencies.” appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 12:00:08 on 2017/08/15 Permalink
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    A Four Tendencies Dilemma: What Would You Do with the Office Coffee Mug? 


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    Have  I mentioned that my book The Four Tendencies is coming out in September? Oh right, I think I have.

    Well, I’m gearing up for my book tour, and thinking about my book talk.

    I’m considering opening my talk by describing a familiar situation that illustrates how differently the Four Tendencies see the world. What do you think of that idea? Consider this scenario:

    “What Would You Do with the Office Coffee Mug?”

    Imagine that you’ve been hired to work in sales in a small-to-medium sized office.

    There’s an office kitchen with a sink, fridge, dishwasher, and a cabinet stocked with office mugs.

    Although you haven’t met the night cleaning staff, you know that a crew comes in every night to vacuum, dust, empty the trash cans, handle the recycling, clean the kitchen, and wash and put the office mugs back in the cupboard.

    There’s no sign in the office telling you what to do with your dirty mugs, and no one has mentioned the office etiquette to you.

    The first time you used a mug and were deciding what to do with it, what idea most likely ran through your mind?

    1. My job is to do sales, and the cleaning staff’s job is to clean.
    2. It’s more efficient for the cleaning staff to spend the time cleaning, and for me to spend my time making sales.
    3. The cleaning staff shouldn’t have to clean up after me.
    4. No one can tell me what to do with my mug.

    To be sure, your Tendency is just one narrow aspect of your character; two people of the same Tendency might behave differently depending on how considerate they are, how ambitious they are, how busy, how extroverted, and a million other things.

    And of course your life experience influences your behavior. You might automatically deal with your mug  the way you dealt with mugs at your last job.

    Nevertheless, I think there are some very general patterns, if you identified with those reactions:

    1-likely to be an Upholder

    2-likely to be a Questioner

    3-likely to be an Obliger

    4-likely to be a Rebel

    However, it’s crucial to note that you can’t judge people’s Tendencies from their actions; you have to know what they’re thinking.

    And you often can’t predict people’s actions from knowing their Tendency, because so many factors come into play.

    For instance, in contrast to the predictions listed above, a Rebel might choose to clean a mug, with the thought, “It’s important to me to be a thoughtful member of this office.” An Obliger might not clean a mug, with the thought, “This office is dangerously close to failure. I need to spend every minute I possibly can making sales, or everyone will lose their jobs.” A Questioner might clean a mug, with the thought, “If clients come in and see a sink full of dirty dishes, they may assume we run a sloppy operation. The risk of losing sales is a very good reason for me to clean my dishes.”

    Given the many different perspectives that can arise, even within the same Tendency, it’s easy how often people disagree. An Obliger might think, “I can’t believe that other people show so little common courtesy for others.”  A Questioner might think, “If you want to clean the mugs, fine, but don’t expect me to help. I’m here to make sales!” An Upholder might think, “I wouldn’t empty the trash cans, and I wouldn’t vacuum, and I don’t feel like I have to wash the dishes, those aren’t my jobs.” A Rebel thinks, “Why does everyone keep talking about the mugs? Sheesh, do whatever you want, that’s what I do.”

    Studying the Four Tendencies has shown me that very often, there’s no single correct way to view a situation.

    Want to learn your Tendency? Take the quiz here. (Hundreds of thousands of people have taken it.)

    Want to join a lively discussion about the Four Tendencies? Join the Better app to ask questions, offer strategies and insights, and join Accountability Groups.

    Want to get free access to my five videos about how to apply the Four Tendencies? To get the pre-order bonus, you can find details here. You’ll get the overview video as well as subject videos on using the Four Tendencies at work, with spouses and sweethearts, with children and students, and in health-care settings.  Free now; note after the book comes out, there will be a (fairly hefty) charge for the video series.

    The post A Four Tendencies Dilemma: What Would You Do with the Office Coffee Mug? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 10:00:03 on 2017/08/03 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , The bookThe Four Tendencies,   

    Want to Read Books that Show Examples of the Four Tendencies? Revealed! 


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    Revealed! My book club recommendations for August.

    Newsflash: I’ve decided to change the way I suggest books for this book club. Instead of suggesting three books each month (one about happiness and human nature; one work of children’s literature; one eccentric pick), I’m going to provide a reading list once a quarter, on a particular subject.

    For instance, I’m looking forward to providing a list of some of my favorite books about color, favorite memoirs, favorite books about other people’s happiness projects…the list goes on. If you’d like to suggest a theme for a list, just email me.

    For instance, I had so much fun compiling my list of my 81 favorite works of children’s and young-adult literature. These lists will be shorter than than list, however.

    You can still get the book club suggestions by email, by signing up for my “book club” here.

    As I may have mentioned, my book The Four Tendencies hits the shelves on September 12.

    So, to get you in the mood to read about the Four Tendencies, or if you can’t wait until September to immerse yourself in the subject, here’s a list of books that illustrate the Four Tendencies.

    It’s important to note that we can never judge someone’s Tendency from his or her actions; we must know the reasons behind that action. For instance, Questioner refuses to do something because “why should I?” while a Rebel refuses because “you can’t tell me what to do.”

    Nevertheless, I’ve included some memoirs by people who were close to someone of a certain Tendency. Such accounts aren’t as dispositive as having an account by that person himself or herself, but I do think that sometimes, a person gets to know someone well enough over time that a portrait really does capture a Tendency.

    Also, even if you’re not interested in reading about the Four Tendencies, each one of these books is outstanding. So I recommend them wholly apart from their relevance to the Four Tendencies.

    Upholder

    The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling — in this legendary series, Hermione Granger is such an Upholder, with the strengths and weakness of that Tendency.

    His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik — Will Laurence is an Upholder, and Temeraire is a Questioner. It’s interesting to see how the two Tendencies work together. Warning: it’s a book with dragons, which is either your kind of thing, or not at all your kind of thing.

    Questioner

    Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson — a fascinating portrait of a QUESTIONER/Rebel. (As I explain in The Four Tendencies, people often “tip” in the direction of a Tendency that overlaps with their core Tendency. So while my husband is an example of a QUESTIONER/Upholder, Jobs is a QUESTIONER/Rebel.)

    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronteon the very first page of this classic novel, Jane’s hateful aunt Mrs. Reed literally calls her “Questioner” to explain why she finds Jane annoying: “Jane, I don’t like cavillers or questioners.” (I had to look up “caviller”; it means “one who quibbles.”)

    Obliger

    Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi — a brilliant self-portrait of a textbook Obliger who is also a tennis star.

    Here But Not Here: My Life with William Shawn and the New Yorker by Lillian Ross — it’s not Ross, but Shawn, who is convincingly portrayed as an Obliger.

    How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids by Jancee Dunn — an engaging memoir about the challenges of marriage by an Obliger married to a Questioner.

    Rebel

    Life with Picasso by Francoise Gilot — Gilot’s fascinating portrayal of her life with Picasso shows his Rebel Tendency. (The image above shows Gilot and Picasso at the beach.)

    Mansfield Park by Jane Austen — Lady Bertram is a thorough Rebel; she’s also a good example of how Rebels may appear proper and conventional — until closer consideration reveals that they do only what they want to do.

    The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton — I wrote a giant portrait of Merton as a Rebel, which got cut down to a few paragraphs in The Four Tendencies. He fascinates me. Rebel as Cistercian monk!

    Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After by Heather Harpham — in this brand-new memoir, the author writes about the challenges when her daughter grows sick and needs a bone-marrow transplant. Along the way, Harpham’s thoughts and actions show her Rebel Tendency.

    I’m always looking for books (and movies, television shows, street signs, anything!) that illustrate the Four Tendencies. So if you have any to suggest, please send them my way.

    Happy August, and happy reading! I do love summer reading.

    The post Want to Read Books that Show Examples of the Four Tendencies? Revealed! appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 17:43:43 on 2017/07/25 Permalink
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    Help! Have Ideas for a Four Tendencies Quiz for Kids? 


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    Four Tendencies Quiz Kids

    I’m getting geared up for publication of my book The Four Tendencies — planning the book tour, getting ready to launch the major pre-order bonus (stay tuned for that!), thinking about my book talk.

    I can’t wait for the book to go out into the world.

    One question keeps coming up, over and over, and I want to sit down to figure out the answer before the book hits the shelves: people keep asking me to write a version of the Four Tendencies Quiz aimed at children — so I’m going to try to draft one.

    I need to adapt the existing Quiz so that it uses vocabulary that children understand as well as examples that resonate with them. How do I help determine if a child is an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel?

    I could really use your suggestions and ideas! What questions should I ask? Related to dealing with school, parents, friends, coaches, classes, pets, anything that’s part of a child’s life.

    I asked this question over on my Better appmy free app that’s all about the Four Tendencies — and got such helpful, insightful responses, that I decided to ask here, too.

    One difficulty is that an eight-year-old and an eighteen-year-old inhabit very different worlds. I’m not going to write multiple versions of the child test (at least not at this point), so one challenge is to try to be general enough to cover most ages.

    For some children, their Tendency is very obvious at a very young age. For other children, it’s much harder to determine. Partly, of course, this is because children aren’t autonomous in the way that adults are. Also, their lives tend to include tremendous amounts of accountability. Nevertheless, in my experience, it’s often possible to see a child’s Tendency.

    To spark your thoughts, here are the questions from the adult version:

    1. Have you kept a New Year’s resolution where you weren’t accountable to anyone—a resolution like drinking more water or keeping a journal? 

    • Yes. I’m good at keeping New Year’s resolutions, even ones that no one knows about but me.
    • I’m good at keeping resolutions, but I make them whenever the time seems right. I wouldn’t wait for the New Year; January 1 is an arbitrary date.
    • I’ve had trouble with that kind of resolution, so I’m not inclined to make one. When I’m only helping myself, I often struggle.
    • No. I hate to bind myself in any way.

     

    2. Which statement best describes your view about your commitments to yourself?

    • I make a commitment to myself only if I’m convinced that it really makes good sense to do it
    • If someone else is holding me accountable for my commitments, I’ll meet them—but if no one knows except me, I struggle.
    • I bind myself as little as possible.
    • I take my commitments to myself as seriously as my commitments to other people

     

    3. At times, we feel frustrated by ourselves. Are you most likely to feel frustrated because…

    • My constant need for more information exhausts me.
    • As soon as I’m expected to do something, I don’t want to do it.
    • I can take time for other people, but I can’t take time for myself.
    • I can’t take a break from my usual habits, or violate the rules, even when I want to.

     

    4. When you’ve formed a healthy habit in the past, what helped you stick to it?

    • I’m good at sticking to habits, even when no one else cares.
    • Doing a lot of research and customization about why and how I might keep that habit.
    • I could stick to a good habit only when I was answerable to someone else.
    • Usually, I don’t choose to bind myself in advance.

     

    5. If people complain about your behavior, you’d be least surprised to hear them say…

    • You stick to your good habits, ones that matter only to you, even when it’s inconvenient for someone else.
    • You ask too many questions.
    • You’re good at taking the time when others ask you to do something, but you’re not good at taking time for yourself.
    • You only do what you want to do, when you want to do it.

     

    6. Which description suits you best?

    • Puts others—clients, family, neighbors, co-workers—first
    • Disciplined—sometimes, even when it doesn’t make sense
    • Refuses to be bossed by others
    • Asks necessary questions

     

    7. People get frustrated with me, because if they ask me to do something, I’m less likely to do it (even if they’re a boss or client).

    • Tend to agree
    • Neutral
    • Tend to disagree

     

    8. I do what I think makes the most sense, according to my judgment, even if that means ignoring the rules or other people’s expectations.

    • Tend to agree
    • Neutral
    • Tend to disagree

     

    9. Commitments to others should never be broken, but commitments to myself can be broken.

    • Tend to agree
    • Neutral
    • Tend to disagree

     

    10. Sometimes I won’t do something I want to do, because someone wants me to do it.

    • Tend to agree
    • Neutral
    • Tend to disagree

     

    11. I’ve sometimes described myself as a people-pleaser.

    • Tend to agree
    • Neutral
    • Tend to disagree

     

    12. I don’t mind breaking rules or violating convention–I often enjoy it.

    • Tend to agree
    • Neutral
    • Tend to disagree

     

    13. I question the validity of the Four Tendencies framework.

    • Tend to agree
    • Neutral
    • Tend to disagree

    But a new question for the kid’s version doesn’t need to inspired by this existing Quiz. It could be something completely different, as long as it shows the differences among the Four Tendencies.

    I appreciate any thoughts or examples you might have!

    The post Help! Have Ideas for a Four Tendencies Quiz for Kids? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 17:27:09 on 2017/07/18 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , rebel, The bookThe Four Tendencies   

    How a Health Coach Harnessed Her Rebel Tendency to Lose 40 Pounds and Boost Her Energy. 


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    I love hearing how people put the Four Tendencies framework to work — whether by using knowledge of their Tendency to improve their own lives, or to work more effectively with other people.

    Recently, I got an email from Nagina Abdullah, health coach and founder of MasalaBody.com. She listens to the “Happier” podcast, and she told me about how she was able to eat more healthfully, lose weight, and boost her energy by harnessing the strengths of her Rebel Tendency.

    This story was particularly interesting to me, because — as Rebels themselves often point out — the strategies that work for other Tendencies often don’t work for Rebels.

    So I was fascinated to hear her story, and she wrote an account of it to share — which is below, with my comments in brackets.

    Nagina writes:

    When I was a kid, I got sent to the principal’s office on a weekly basis. While my teachers would ask the students to be quiet and obedient, I would end up in laughing fits and get sent to the principals’ office to get disciplined.

    I struggled with following expectations for my whole life. As a child, I resisted my teachers’ rules. As I got older, I resisted being healthier.

    See, I love food. I love sweets, fried food, food trucks, BBQs – everything that isn’t good for my waistline. I ALSO resist following the rules of having to be strict to get healthy.

    My tendencies finally made sense when I took Gretchen’s Four Tendencies Quiz. I wanted to see if I was an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, or Rebel.

    I wasn’t surprised when I scored as a “Rebel.” Rebels resist outer and inner expectations.

    After decades of being addicted to sugar and feeling unable to control my cravings, I embraced my Rebel tendencies. As result, I lost 40 pounds, skyrocketed my energy and started wearing the clothes I had dreamed of wearing.

    Before and after - Story of a Rebel mom

    The “Healthy Rules” I Did Not Want to Follow

    After having two kids and working 60+ hour weeks, I felt exhausted and overweight, more than ever before. I needed to get healthier to feel better and have more energy for my kids.

    I didn’t want to deprive myself of food I loved and I didn’t have time to spend hours in the gym.

    Here are the rules to getting healthier I would regularly hear:

    • “You have to count calories, points, crumbs, licks, and drops”
    • “You must exercise 3+ days a week”
    • “No eating cupcakes, donuts, and everything else you love”

    Even though I wanted to get healthier, I resisted restrictive rules like these.

    This led to a lot of internal frustration, yo-yo dieting, announcing “It isn’t worth it!” and “Why is this so hard for ME?” [Rebels often get frustrated when they try to use the same techniques that work for other Tendencies.]

    Even if I wanted to be healthier, I couldn’t even follow my OWN rules.  [Rebels resist outer and inner expectations.]

    Would I ever change my habits to get healthier when I kept rebelling against the rules?

    I finally got my dream body when (only when) I broke the rules.

    Here’s how I broke the rules to lose 40 pounds and keep it off for now over six years.

    Above All I Wanted to Be a “Rebel Mom”

    Being a mom is the greatest gift, but I feared I would be overweight, exhausted and put myself last in the name of my kids, which is the stereotype of a mom I held.

    That’s when I decided to be a REBEL MOM and break through the stereotype.

    Here’s my vision of being the mom I wanted to be:

    • Feel confident in a bathing suit so I could swim and play in the sand with my kids
    • Run 5k’s with my kids and set healthy examples for them
    • Feel sexy around my husband
    • Go rollerblading, biking, ice skating, roller skating, skiing, snowboarding and more with my family and feel strong and agile as I am doing it

     

    Having a goal of a “Rebel Mom” inspired me to be healthier.  [Rebels want to express their identity; they want to live in accordance with their authentic self; they can do anything they choose to do, in order to be the kind of person they choose to be.]

    3 Rules I Broke to Get My Dream Body

    I started by eating healthy, because I found that it is the most impactful thing to do. But I needed to make eating healthy enjoyable and realistic for my life and family, and that’s when I realized there were three rules I had to break. [Rebels do well to focus on enjoyment. They also often enjoy breaking rules or achieving aims in unconventional ways.]

    Rule 1: “You need to eat healthy every day to lose weight.”

    How I break Rule 1:

    I have one “Cheat Day” a week where I eat everything I want, so I always get a “break” from the rules and have something to look forward to. A Cheat Day is KEY to losing weight if you hate following those strict diet rules. [As an Upholder and an Abstainer and a very low-carb eater, this would not work for me — but it works for Nagina.]

    Rule 2: “You have to eat boring food in tiny portions so you feel like you are starving to lose even 5 pounds.”

    How I break Rule 2:

    Instead of making my food flavorful with heavy sauces and creams, I use spices and herbs that pack in the flavor and have natural health benefits (like anti-inflammation and reduced water retention). I feel like I’m “cheating” and indulging even though I’m actually eating healthy.

    I love to add a pinch of cinnamon (lowers your blood sugar) in my morning coffee because it tastes so delicious. [Again, the focus on pleasure and choice.]

    Rule 3: “You are “supposed” to eat healthy.”

    How I break Rule 3:

    Remember the last time you were at an airport? Temptations at every turn, with most people indulging in them? It’s HARDER to eat healthy than not!

    As a result of eating healthy, I feel in control of myself, and feel like I’m rebelling against the “norms” of society. [Rebels often benefit from reminding themselves, “I’m not going to be trapped by a sugar addiction. These big companies can’t control me with their fancy marketing campaigns and crinkly packages. I’m strong, they can’t make me eat their junk.” Rebels also often love a challenge: “Most people can’t resist the goodies in an airport, mall, or store, but for me, it’s not a problem.”]

     What you can do to get healthier:

    If you resist outer and/or inner expectations (Rebels resist both, and Questioners and Obligers resist one or the other), and/or you have found it challenging to get healthier, try to BREAK some of the traditional rules by using one of the methods that worked for me:

    1. What’s a stereotype you would break by getting healthier? Embrace that and make it your goal.
    2. Include one cheat day a week and eat whatever you want on those days, while staying healthy on the other days. [Very effective for some people! Not effective for others! Know yourself.]
    3. Add herbs and spices to your foods to make it taste indulgent without the extra calories.
    4. Resist the unhealthy temptations around you and feel in control of yourself.

    To help you, I have a special gift for Gretchen Rubin readers. I would like to send you my three spiced late-night snacks to banish your sugar cravings forever AND a bonus recipe e-book, “7 Spicy Recipes to Help You Lose Your First 7 Pounds.” You can get these here.


    What I love about Nagina’s account is how carefully she examined what works for her, what she wants, and figured out her own way to get there.

    By embracing her Rebel Tendency, she was able to get the benefit of its enormous strengths. By contrast, when Rebels think they “should” be able to use techniques like to-do lists, scheduling, monitoring, or accountability, they often get very frustrated with themselves.

    There’s no one “right” way, no one “best” way — only what works for you.

    The post How a Health Coach Harnessed Her Rebel Tendency to Lose 40 Pounds and Boost Her Energy. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 14:00:29 on 2017/07/05 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , The bookThe Four Tendencies,   

    Podcast 124: Remember Love, Coping with Sad Anniversaries, and Why People Shouldn’t Tell You What You “Should” Be Able to Do. 


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    Happier Podcast 124

    Update: Elizabeth gives a teaser — tomorrow on her other podcast Happier in Hollywood, she and Sarah discuss the highly controversial issue of food in the workplace. Will they discuss the evil donut-bringer? Tune in!

    Try This at Home: Remember love. When someone is bugging us, often we can re-frame the situation by remembering: this person’s annoying behavior is an expression of love.

    Happiness Hack: Use a Ziploc bag instead of a toiletry bag. Cheap, clear, easy to replace, any size, and changes shape to conform to the open space in a suitcase.

    Four Tendencies Tips: Be very wary when someone tells you what you “should be able” to do. That’s often a sign that someone is giving you advice based on their Tendency, which is often not the way that’s right for someone else.

    If you want more information on the Four Tendencies, go here.

    If you want to pre-order my book The Four Tendencies (and it’s a big help to me, if you do), go here.

    Listener Question: Nicole asks about “What’s your advice about dealing with sad anniversaries?” If you have any strategies to suggest, please let us know.

    Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth didn’t “design the summer” for her seven-year-old Jack. I mention the “Strategy of Clarity,” which is very useful to keep in mind.

    Gretchen’s Gold Star: I give a gold star to Dwight Garner’s new New York Times book column, “American Beauties,” where he writes about under-sung American books from the past 75 years. The novel that Elizabeth mentions after the credits is Soleri by Michael Johnston.

    Two Resources:

    1, As I mention, I have a “book club,” where each month I recommend one book about happiness or human nature; one work of children’s literature; and one eccentric pick (a book that I love, but that’s probably not for everyone). To make sure you never miss a month’s selections, sign up here for the free newsletter.

    2. Speaking of books, if you’d like a free, personalized, signed bookplate for you or for some friends, make your request (within reason). Or if have audio-book or e-book, I’ll send you a free, signed, personalized signature card. Alas, U.S. and Canada only.  To request, email me or go here.

    The September book tour for The Four Tendencies is set! I’ll be going to New York City (obviously), Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.  I hope to see you there — please come, bring friends. Info is here.

    If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

    I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Lyft  — join the ride-sharing company that believes in treating its people better. Go to Lyft.com/happier to get a $500 new-driver bonus. Limited time only.

    Also check out ThirdLove, the lingerie brand that uses real women’s measurements to design better-fitting bras. Try one of their bestselling bras for free, for 30 days, by visiting ThirdLove.com/happier.

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    We love hearing from listeners:

     

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    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

    Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” Check out these great shows: Side Hustle School and Radical Candor and Happier in Hollywood.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 124: Remember Love, Coping with Sad Anniversaries, and Why People Shouldn’t Tell You What You “Should” Be Able to Do. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 18:07:04 on 2017/06/07 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , The bookThe Four Tendencies,   

    Podcast 120: Very Special Episode of Listener Questions about the Four Tendencies. 


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    Update: Congratulations to our beloved producer, Kristen Meinzer — her hilarious, addictive podcast By the Book got picked up! She and her co-host comedian Jolenta Greenberg choose a different popular self-help book and report what it’s like to live “by the book” — for their pilot, they lived by The Secret, next up, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Check it out, subscribe!

    Every tenth episode, we do a “Very Special Episode” that’s different from our usual structure. For this VSE, we discuss listener questions about the Four Tendencies.

    Want to take the Quiz, to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel? It’s here.

    Want to listen to the episodes dedicated to each Tendency?

    Upholder is episode 35 — “Are you like Gretchen and Hermione?”

    Questioner is episode 36 — “Do you always ask why?”

    Obliger is episode 37 — “Can you meet a work deadline, but can’t go running on your own?

    Rebel is episode 38 — “Do you hate being told what to do?” Note: we weren’t able to interview a Rebel as part of that episode; if you want to hear from a Rebel, check out this interview with the brilliant Chris Guillebeau (bestselling author and host of the podcast Side Hustle School) about his perspective as a Rebel. Start listening at 25:15.

    My book The Four Tendencies hits the shelves in September. As I mention (often!), if you’re inclined to buy the book, it’s a big help to me if you pre-order it. Pre-orders build buzz among booksellers, the media, and other readers; it makes a very big difference to the fate of a book.

    Questions we discuss in this episode:

    “How can a doctor quickly figure out someone’s Tendency?”

    “How can I as an Upholder parent better understand my Rebel child?”

    “I’m an Obliger who works for a Questioner. How can I feel less frustration?”

    “As a Rebel, how can I tell myself to eat healthfully and exercise?”

    “I’m an Obliger, and I’m resisting the new office policy that we show a badge. Is this Obliger-rebellion?”

    “An Obliger friend keeps busting through her budget — because she owes it to other people to spend. What’s up?”

    “I’ve realized that my Obliger Tendency is affecting my dating life, for instance, by being too accommodating. How do I create a balance?”

    If you’re intrigued by the Four Tendencies, and want to join the lively discussion on the Better app, sign up! It’s free. You can start or join an accountability group (Obligers, I know many of you want to do that), ask questions, have discussions about your own Tendency or dealing with someone else’s Tendency.

    Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth wanted to start hiking on the weekends with friends; it hasn’t happened.

    Gretchen’s Gold Star: Gold star to everyone who has provided me with their perspectives, examples, and questions about the Four Tendencies. I have a lot more insight into other people — and myself.

     

    Resources related to the FourTendencies:

    1.  Try the Better app — it’s free, fun, and informative.
    2.  Take the Quiz to learn your Tendency.
    3. Buy a Tendency mug — complete with the Tendency’s motto! So fun. (Scroll down.)

    1pix

    If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

    I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial,  including postage and a digital scale — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

    Also check out ThirdLove, the lingerie brand that uses real women’s measurements to design better-fitting bras. Try one of their bestselling bras for free, for 30 days, by visiting ThirdLove.com/happier.

    Also check out Audible. Audible has an unmatched selection of audio-books, original audio shows, news, comedy, and more. Get a free audio-book, with a thirty-day trial, by going to audible.com/happier.

     

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

    Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” Check out these great shows: Side Hustle School and Radical Candor and Happier in Hollywood.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 120: Very Special Episode of Listener Questions about the Four Tendencies. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 17:29:01 on 2017/05/26 Permalink
    Tags: , , , The bookThe Four Tendencies,   

    I Give My Own Response to the “Ask Amy” Advice Column in the Washington Post. 


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    I’m always on the watch for anything out in the world that illustrates my Four Tendencies framework.

    Many thoughtful readers and podcast listeners know this, and they send me links to anything Four Tendencies-ish.

    I very much appreciated it when a reader sent me the link to this question in the Washington Post’s “Ask Amy” column.

    To me, it’s a great example of an Obliger misdiagnosing the problem — to my mind, the writer’s problem is not “I’m lazy,” it’s “I need accountability.”

    And “motivation!” Arrrrgh. Here’s a post I wrote, “Warning! Don’t expect to be motivated by motivation” — and I note that Obligers tend to be the folks who worry about motivation the most (to no avail, as illustrated below).

    And the advice Amy gives is a great example of how people give advice — some helpful, but some not helpful — when they don’t understand the dynamics of the Tendency. Amy suggests many accountability strategies that could work, but without really understanding, in my view, why they would work better than other strategies, and why they’d work for this particular person, but wouldn’t work for someone else (e.g., a Rebel).

    What do you think?

    The question:

     Dear Amy: How do you help a lazy person to become more healthily active, when the lazy person is yourself? I’ve dealt with depression all my life and think I’ve made a lot of headway, (with the help of therapy) over the years. I’ve reached the point where there are things I can imagine doing and enjoying that will require some self-discipline and energy to achieve, such as saving money, or keeping my home cleaner and prettier. But inertia and daydreaming take over, and another day goes by, and another, and another. At work, by the way, I’m a great employee. I’m diligent and hard-working; I enjoy making my bosses happy with my efforts. I suspect that part of my problem is that I still lack motivation to make myself happy. Maybe my situation is a bit extreme, but I’m sure many of your readers struggle with finding the energy or the motivation to overcome one’s own laziness.

    –Trying to Be My Own Magic Wand

    The answer (which demonstrates that Amy is probably also an Obliger):

    Trying to Be My Own Magic Wand: I give you major props for figuring out and describing your challenge, and for understanding that you hold the key to positive change.

    Here are some ideas for small things you can determine to do, which will lead you in a positive direction:

    Break down your desired efforts into very small and achievable components, such as “open and categorize today’s mail,” “clean the inside of the car” or (on a weekend) “pack up one box for donation.” Make a list and check off each item after completion. (Checking boxes off a list is surprisingly satisfying.)

    Join a group. For me, singing with a local choir once a week helped to shake loose the inertia in the rest of my life.

    Use a “buddy” to inspire and hold you accountable. Walking with a friend right after work a few times a week will give you more energy to face the challenge at home.

    There’s an app for that: A fitness wristband and/or fitness app will help you to see your progress in real terms.

    Flylady.net is a favorite starting point for many people seeking transformation through baby steps. Flylady says to start by cleaning and shining your kitchen sink.

    Make your bed. Even if your bedroom is a mess, and even if you don’t achieve much else, your bed will be a pristine and clean space each day.

    You are very good at working hard to please others. So plan to have company over for coffee or a meal. Knowing that someone will be in your home will inspire (force) you to tidy, clean and prepare.

    This is good advice, but what I like about the Four Tendencies framework is that it explains why measures like this would work for this person — but not necessarily for other people. Amy is an Obliger, giving advice to an Obliger, so for the most part, the advice is fitting. But what if this question came from a Rebel?

    What do you think?

    I have to say, I do love reading advice columns. How about you?

    If you’re intrigued by the Four Tendencies framework, you can pre-order my book called (with a stunning lack of originality) The Four Tendencies.

    I very much appreciate pre-orders — they really do make a difference for authors, by creating buzz among booksellers, the media, and readers. So if you’re be interested in the book, and you have the time and inclination, it really does give the book a boost if you pre-order. (Note that this message is tailored to try to appeal to all Four Tendencies.)

    The post I Give My Own Response to the “Ask Amy” Advice Column in the Washington Post. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 16:10:37 on 2017/04/19 Permalink
    Tags: birthday, , , , , , , , , , , , , The bookThe Four Tendencies, ,   

    Podcast 113: Reclaim Your Dump Zones, a Hack for Making Tough Decisions, and Is Your Birthday Important to You? 


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    Update: There’s an official launch date of May 18 for Elizabeth’s great new podcast with her writing partner and old friend Sarah Fain. Yes, Happier in Hollywood launches in a few weeks. I’m counting down the days!

    The Better app, all about the Four Tendencies, is now free. If you want to learn more about Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, or Rebels, join the discussion on the app. Or if you want to use the framework at work, with your health clients, with your family, with your students, you can find a lot of focused discussions there, too. And you can start or join an Accountability Group. (Don’t know your Tendency? Take the Four Tendencies quiz.)

    Try This at Home: Reclaim your dump zones. I reclaimed the little table I describe — above, you can see it pictured in its naked glory.

    Here’s one of my all-time favorite podcast episode — #10, live from Elizabeth’s messy closet.

    If you’re intrigued by the subject of clutter-busting, you might enjoy my book Happier at Home. For many people, outer order is a very important for happiness at home.

    Happiness Hack: Turn on the subtitles when you’re watching TV.

    Know Yourself Better: Is your birthday important to you — or not?

    Listener Question: Danielle asks, “My family constantly debates whether we should stay in New York City, or move to the suburbs, and it makes me feel constantly unsettled.”

    The book I mention is Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness.

    Demerit: I made the mistake of “treating a gift like a burden,” when I was working over spring break to get The Four Tendencies ready for publication.

    Gold Star: Jack’s nanny Cynthia made lots of special plans to make spring break fun for him.

    New feature: Each week, at the end of the podcast, I list “Two Resources for You.”

    1. To get every new episode of the podcast by email, sign up at happiercast.com/join.
    2. Every Tuesday at 3:00 pm Eastern Time, I do a Facebook Live video about the most recent episode. Join the conversation with your questions, comment, and insights. If you miss the live conversation, you can always see the archived version on my Page.

    If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

    As mentioned above, I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and free in-home or on-phone design consultations and free professional measuring.

    Also check out StitchFix, an online personal styling service with real stylists who handpick clothing for you — your taste, your schedule, your lifestyle, your budget. Sign up at StitchFix.com.

    Also check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial,  including postage and a digital scale — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

    1pix

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

    Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” The first shows are Side Hustle School and Radical Candor. Elizabeth’s show with her writing partner, Sarah Fain, will be Happier in Hollywood, so stay tuned for that.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 113: Reclaim Your Dump Zones, a Hack for Making Tough Decisions, and Is Your Birthday Important to You? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 18:20:05 on 2017/04/14 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Taylor Swift, , The bookThe Four Tendencies, upholder,   

    Fun with the Four Tendencies: Is Taylor Swift an Upholder? 


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    I spend a lot of time thinking about my personality framework, the Four Tendencies. It’s an endlessly fascinating thing to study.

    If you don’t know if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel — and why it matters — you can take the quick quiz here. (More than 640,000 people have taken the quiz.)

    I’m always on the watch for Tendencies in the world. Now, we generally can’t judge people’s Tendency by what they do; we need to know how they think.

    But sometimes patterns of behaviors are so consistent that they do suggest a Tendency.

    My sister Elizabeth told me that she thinks that Taylor Swift is an Upholder. It’s not easy to tell, because of course a mega-star like Swift has a persona that’s carefully crafted for public consumption. However, judging from external factors, I agree, she sure looks like an Upholder.

    She seems to meet outer expectations very patiently and professionally—not only those related to her extensive music and business responsibilities, but also involving time-consuming, inefficient tasks like going on press tours, handling paparazzi, and putting up with all the nonsense that super-stars must endure. She meets a very high level of expectations, with no visible sign of resentment or burn-out or frustration at inefficiency.

    She has no trouble resisting the advice of her record label, and she also has no trouble following the advice of her record label. She doesn’t seem to feel pushed around by the press, social media, or her own team. In a cover profile in GQ magazine, Chuck Klosterman observed of Swift, “There is a perpetual sense that nothing about her career is accidental and that nothing about her life is unmediated. These are not unusual thoughts to have about young mainstream stars. But what’s different with Swift is her autonomy. There is no Svengali directing her career; there is no stage mother pushing her toward the spotlight. She is in total control of her own constructed reality.”

    Plus Swift exhibits an extraordinary level of self-discipline, and she’s often criticized for being “unspontaneous.” Now, what Tendency does that sound like?

     I suspect that Upholders in the entertainment business, and in the arts, sometimes go out of their way to hide their Tendency—to present themselves as more wild and more hedonistic than they actually are.

    Upholderness isn’t a very glamorous, edgy, or endearing quality. It doesn’t contribute to a fascinating biography or make good magazine copy. In her mega-hit song “Shake It Off,” Taylor Swift sings, “I stay up too late…I go on too many dates…At least that’s what people say.” Does she stay up too late? Hmmm. I wonder. 

    What do you think?

    In other news about the Four Tendencies, very soon I will be able to reveal the jacket for the book The Four Tendencies — I’m about to be able to take down that dull placeholder cover. Exciting! If you’re inclined to buy the book, it’s a big help to me if you pre-order (pre-orders help build buzz for a book among booksellers, the media, and the public). But only if you want to, of course!

    The post Fun with the Four Tendencies: Is Taylor Swift an Upholder? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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