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  • feedwordpress 11:00:58 on 2018/10/16 Permalink
    Tags: analysis-paralysis, article, , , , Julie Payette, Questioners, Rebels, the four tendencies   

    Can You Spot the Tendency of Canada’s Governor General? 

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    I love seeing the Four Tendencies framework at work in the world.

    A thoughtful reader sent me a link to this fascinating article from Canada’s National Post, “Failure to launch: Inside Julie Payette’s turbulent first year as Governor General” with the note that judging from the article, she figured that Julie Payette was a QUESTIONER/Rebel, and did I agree?

    After reading the article, I absolutely agree.

    Julie Payette was the Canadian Space Agency’s former chief astronaut, former chief operating officer of the Montreal Science Centre, and an engineer—plus she speaks six languages and is a skilled pianist. She’s now in a very different professional role, as Canada’s Governor General. (If you don’t know what this role entails, it becomes very clear in the article.)

    So what kinds of behavior and patterns do we expect to see from Questioners? A drive for efficiency and justification. A love of research and information. A resistance to anything arbitrary. A disdain for arguments like “We’ve always done it this way” or “Because this expert says we have to do it.” A belief in their own judgments. A willingness to stick to their convictions about the best way to do something, even if that means conflict with outer expectations.

    We might also see a dislike for answering others’ questions or providing justifications. We might see analysis-paralysis.

    The article makes a crucial point, and one that we all know from our own experiences: someone can be outstanding in many respects, and yet not suited to a particular role. In my observation, when the core value of a person’s Tendency conflicts with the values of their role, that’s a big problem. If an Upholder works in a place that demands a lot of flexibility and tacit rule-bending, that might be tough. If an Obliger works in a place that requires being a self-starter, that might be tough. If a Rebel works in a place that requires a lot of oversight, coordination, and direction from the top, that might be tough.

    And if a Questioner is working in an environment that’s heavily influenced by tradition and is expected to observe and enforce rules that are somewhat arbitrary, that will be tough.

    The framing paragraph for the article reads: “Payette is perfectly suited to be an astronaut, but much less so for a job defined by strict adherence to convention, and which comes with constant public scrutiny.

    Here are some key passages from the (very long) article:

    “Payette called senior officials within the government, sources said, upset over the expectation she rearrange her schedule to accommodate the ceremony and questioning whether she actually had to be there. Could a Supreme Court justice preside instead?”

    “Payette has been locked in a year-long battle with the expectations and restraints that come with being governor general: demands on her personal time, expectations of how she should dress, what she can say in public and how she should work with politicians, diplomats and bureaucrats.”

    “Payette does not take kindly to the idea of simply rubber-stamping bureaucratic decisions. Unlike her predecessors, she questions much of the advice she receives and the papers put on her desk for signature, they said. It has sometimes been difficult to get timely sign-off from Payette on matters such as approving the awarding of honours like the Order of Canada.”

    “Michael Cox, president of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, said, “We simply got an email saying Her Excellency could not accommodate us this year.” The organization, which minted brand-new medals this year with a design symbolically representing the royal connection, did not receive any explanation, according to Cox.”

    “Some of the tension in the vice-regal community comes simply from Payette’s tendency to question why she should adhere to rules that she considers asinine, and that those surrounding her consider sacrosanct.”

    “In late May, Payette wore her NASA Exceptional Service Medal for an international symposium on honours and heraldry at Rideau Hall. In doing so, she appears to have contravened an Order-in-Council setting out what Governors General can display on their person — what some say is a technical violation of the law, and in a room full of the very people who care more about such rules than anybody else in the world.”

    “The space medal incident, which has become infamous in Canada’s small circle of honours experts, may seem trivial beyond that community. Given that the entire essence of Payette’s job as governor general is ceremonial, her purpose to uphold protocol, to some observers such transgressions raise the question of why Payette accepted the job in the first place.”

    “As remarkable and accomplished as Payette undoubtedly is, it is possible her particular skills, priorities and personality were always going to make her a difficult fit for the role.”

    “The Globe and Mail reported last week that Payette has ruffled the feathers of her security detail, which feels she has put her own safety at risk by keeping them ill-informed of her whereabouts.”

    “In the first six months, I was like, ‘I want her to succeed,’ ” said one long-time observer of the office. “She looks great on paper, her resume says she should be a great success at this, and be able to connect in a way in which other people have not been able to. But it’s been—it’s just the wrong personality for this job.”

    What do you think? To me it sounds like a brilliant Questioner—in a position that cuts against the Questioner Tendency.

    If you want to take my short, free quiz, to find out if you’re a Questioner, Upholder, Obliger, or Rebel, take it here. Almost 1.7 million people have taken it at this point.

    If you want to dive deeper into the Four Tendencies and learn how to harness the strengths and manage the weaknesses or you Tendency, take my new video course.

  • feedwordpress 11:00:28 on 2018/09/25 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Matt Klam, , , the four tendencies, Who is Rich?   

    A Novel Depicts an Obliger in Deep Obliger-Rebellion (He Has an Affair and Spends All His Money) 

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    On a recent trip to Texas, I finished Matt Klam’s novel Who Is Rich? This novel came out in 2017 and got a lot of buzz.

    It’s about the once-famous cartoonist Rich who has stalled out in his career. Every summer, he teaches a week-long class at an arts conference in a beachside town. He’s married with two children, and has also been carrying on an affair for a year with Amy, another teacher at the conference. The novel focuses on what happens during the week of the arts conference when Rich and Amy are there together again.

    I enjoyed the book very much, and I was especially interested to see the Four Tendencies in action. I’m always on the hunt for the Tendencies! This story involves two Obligers: Rich and Amy. Rich’s wife Robin may also be an Obliger, but we don’t see enough of her to judge.

    Rich is definitely an Obliger. He’s having Obliger thoughts and facing Obliger challenges; he shows Obliger strengths and weaknesses. He’s spinning out in major Obliger-rebellion.

    I won’t give away everything that happens, but his Tendency shows most clearly in a few places.

    For instance, he reflects, "People make you do things you don’t want to do." Now of course, all Tendencies have to do things they don’t want to do; this is true for everyone. But it has particular bite for Obligers.

    Rich’s wife Robin is always telling him they need more money; he doesn’t earn enough; they must scrimp and cut back. In an act of deep Obliger-rebellion, Rich buys Robin a $3,000 bracelet, a dollar amount that he knows will wipe out the checking account of their cash-strapped family. He thinks: "From this distance, Robin couldn’t do anything to stop me. I’d worked hard to earn these precious funds to buy a gift she didn’t want or need, to signify my love."

    Then, in further Obliger-rebellion, Rich doesn’t give the bracelet to his wife, but instead gives it to his lover Amy—who, by the way, is a multi-multi-millionaire. (For instance, to play in a softball game, she wears a pair of diamond earrings worth more than $220,000).

    When Obligers enter a state of Obliger-rebellion, they often feel that they’re acting out of character. They’re puzzled by their own actions. As he buys the bracelet, Rich thinks, "I attempted to interpret my irrational action. Had I ever done this kind of thing before? No. A life in the arts requires vigilance and restraint. Was my behavior out of character? Yes, technically, and also terrifyingly, although it was possible that this was merely the culmination of a period of interior deadness and anger, that something had been building for months, or years, that the recent and ongoing stresses had pushed me over the edge."

    Obliger-rebellion is mysterious and important. It blows up a situation—which can be beneficial, absolutely, but can also be destructive.

    Many people have emailed me with examples of the Four Tendencies they’ve spotted in books, TV, and movies. Keep them coming!

  • feedwordpress 11:35:04 on 2018/07/31 Permalink
    Tags: , Best of, , Elizabeth Craft, , , , podcast episodes, the four tendencies, Try This at Home   

    Want to Start Listening to the “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” Podcast? Consider These Episodes. 

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    Of course, I love every episode of the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast—but if I had to choose just a few, here are some episodes that have resonated most with listeners, Elizabeth, and me.

    My personal favorites will always include the two sisterly clutter-clearing episodes. In episode 10, we did a recording live from Elizabeth’s messy closet, as I helped her clear clothes clutter. In episode 160, we tackled her messy home office. I love to clear clutter, and much to my delight, Elizabeth is very messy. If you’re interested in clutter-clearing, stay tuned for my book Outer Order, Inner Calm, which is coming out in March 2019.

    Listeners (and we) loved the idea of creating a list of "18 for 2018." We introduce the idea in episodes 147 and 149, do a deep dive in episode 152, and in Very Special Episode 170, Elizabeth and I each give a personal update of how we’re doing on our own lists.

    In episode 154, Elizabeth and I challenged ourselves to wear "clothes" for a month. We thought this was our private problem, so we were very encouraged to find that many people struggle with this issue.

    People responded to the Try This at Home to "Create a 'ta-da' list" as discussed in episode 134. Here's a post where I talk about the to-do list, why a to-do list doesn’t work for everyone, and alternatives, such as the "to-day list," "could-do list," "might-could list."

    If you want something a little wacky, we had a great time doing our "unplugged" episode 150. We recorded an ordinary phone conversation between the two of us.

    In episode 130, we discussed the seven myths of happiness: Happy people are annoying and stupid; A "treat" will cheer you up; It’s selfish to try to be happier; and four others. In my book The Happiness Project, I address these myths as part of my exploration of making my life happier.

    In episode 122, I asked for advice from kids and parents about how to deal with my daughter Eliza’s imminent departure for college. In episode 125, we did a deep dive on the great advice and insights that listeners gave us. Fast forward: Eliza had a great freshman year in college, in part because of all great suggestions we got.

    If you’re intrigued with the "Four Tendencies"—my personality framework that divides people into Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels—check out episode 120, where we discussed listener questions about the Four Tendencies. (Don’t know your Tendency? You can take the short free quiz here.) If you still want to learn still more after listening to our discussions, check out my book The Four Tendencies.

    A common and serious happiness stumbling block is loneliness. We devote episode 110 to the question, "Are you lonely?" and return to do a deep dive into the subject in episode 115.

    Some very popular Try This at Home suggestions include episode 79’s "Revive a dormant friendship" and episode 26’s "Pick a one-word theme for the year."

    My imagination was fired by listeners’ enthusiastic response to episode 71’s "Choose a signature color." We followed up with a deep dive into color in episode 75. In fact, I’ve become so interested in color that I’m writing a little book, My Color Pilgrimage. I can’t learn enough about color.

    In episode 39, Elizabeth talks about the experience of getting fired. She’s been fired more than once! If you enjoy hearing her talk about her crazy experiences in Hollywood, check out Happier in Hollywood, the weekly podcast she does with her writing partner Sarah Fain.

    Speaking of Hollywood, in episode 137, I went with Elizabeth at her office on the Disney lot, and in episode 60, I visited a sound stage where she was working. Lots of fabulousness.

    In episode 24, I talk about how my family really wanted a dog, but I couldn’t decide whether or not we should get one—so I ask listeners for advice. In episode 27, all is revealed.

    Way back in episode 3, we talk about two issues that struck a chord with listeners: the Try This at Home of "Make Your Bed" and the Happiness Stumbling Block of "Resisting the Evil Donut-Bringer." This last idea proved to be very controversial. We talk about the evil donut-bringer in many subsequent episodes.

    In episode 2, we talk about our family "update," an idea from our mother which people have loved.

    Well, I could keep going, but I’ll stop here.

    It’s been thrilling to get such a warm response from listeners. Each week I’m fascinated to see how people respond to the ideas and suggestions from the most recent episode. If you’re a long-time listener, you may have noticed how over time, we’ve started incorporating more and more ideas from the audience. That’s because people have such brilliant, insightful, thought-provoking commentary, we can’t resist including it.

    If you like the show, and if you have the time and the inclination, it really is a tremendous help to us if you subscribe to the show, and if you take the time to rate and review it. This kind of endorsement helps other listeners find the show. You can find instructions about subscribing, rating, and reviewing here.

    Making this podcast is one of the joys of my life, and I know Elizabeth feels the same way. Onward and upward!

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