This post by Gretchen Rubin is blowing my mind. In it, she discusses a framework for categorizing people based upon their responses to motivations. She’s got four categories: Upholder, Questioner, Rebel, and Obliger.
Upholder—accepts rules, whether from outside or inside. An upholder meets deadlines, follows doctor’s order, keeps a New Year’s resolution.
Questioner—questions rules and accepts them only if they make sense. They may choose to follow rules, or not, according to their judgment.
Rebel—flouts rules, from outside or inside. They resist control. Give a rebel a rule, and the rebel will want to do the very opposite thing.
Obliger—accepts outside rules, but doesn’t like to adopt self-imposed rules.
I am, without a doubt, an Obliger. I need external expectations to get things done: the sports team waiting for me, the deadline approaching etc. I’ve always been so bummed out by my response to inner stimuli “Why can’t I get myself to do x? It’s good for me! What’s wrong with me?“. I’ve thought it was a character flaw to be corrected. So reading Gretchen’s post is a definite game changer. She’s stating that it’s no longer a deficiency, instead it’s just the way I am. In fact, it’s just the way that a lot of people are to judge by the comments on that post!
This is pretty liberating. Instead, of chastising myself, I can now restructure my goals and habits to this framework. I can stop wasting energy on being upset with myself for not going for a run, and create external obligations, like having a work out tracking account that shares my runs on social media. I’m motivated to get out and run when I say I will, because I know that folks will be able to tell if I haven’t done it. “I told A I’m going for a run, I have to run, because if I don’t, then the workout won’t show up on Facebook!” I used to think this was tricky and a bit pathetic, but it feels great to say, no, this is not sad, this is just my strategy for maximum effectiveness!
Which do you think you are?