Quite often Gretchen Rubin’s interviews inspire to me to write posts here. These posts have got me thinking about Rubin’s Four Tendencies, specifically the tendencies that resist expectations. Taking Rubin’s quiz, it turns out that I’m a Rebel, which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. My inner teenager maintains a firm hold on my ability to get things done which means I will do something for two reasons only:
- Because I decide it’s a good idea
- Because I want to avoid getting into trouble
Before doing the quiz, I thought that perhaps I would end up being an Obliger, fulfilling others’ expectations but not my own, however it turns out that any obliging tendencies I may harbor have more to do with wanting to avoid a scolding than wanting to please people. This avoidance of negative reactions doesn’t just emerge when it comes to external expectations; I act the same way about my own inner expectations, getting things done to evade an internal scolding.
Knowing this, I have to ask myself what having an inner teenager at the helm means for being productive and organized?
Well, for one, to get myself moving, I have to see a benefit. A teenager doesn’t get out of bed unless there’s internal passion, or at least a decent reward of some kind for completing the task.
A rebellious teenager’s favorite question is “why?” and teenagers also tend to reject history, thinking that they can invent and discover new ways of doing things that their elders (being old and slow) have never thought of.
At work, I’ve always been able to channel this rebellious attitude into productive outcomes, looking for new and more effective ways to do things, rejecting “because that’s the way we’ve always done it” out of hand, only accepting traditional ways if they prove to be the most effective.
In my personal life, however, I don’t look for new and productive ways of doing things. Instead my conflict-avoiding teenage attitude tends to rule over me and it can get me into trouble. I don’t communicate enough with my partner, either doing what I want without any sort of consultation or turning into a people-pleaser because I feel that doing anything else will end up in confrontation. Of course, what the teenager is not capable of understanding is that this avoidance strategy only creates more conflict in the end.
Staying productive, motivated and organized, therefore, requires and understanding of the following:
- I can’t force myself into any action or I will do the opposite.
- I need to know the benefits of any course of action.
- I need to remember that conflict avoidance just creates more conflict.
- The more I streamline processes, the more likely I will do them.
Have you taken Rubin’s Tendencies Quiz? Do you know yourself well enough to work with, rather against yourself?