Every individual is born with a dominant character. That dominant character lies dormant in us when we are young and as we grow older, we grow more and more into our dominant characters. This dominant character comes from our tendencies to react to things in life. This personality trait is responsible for the way we behave and react to external emotional stimuli. It takes a lifetime to discover oneself as we are always changing and evolving. But despite all the changes we go through, our innate tendencies to react remain the same.
Gretchen Rubin is a celebrated author who recently published a book called The Four Tendencies. This book explores the underlying world of human tendencies to react to external and internal expectations that drive us to behave the way we do and our ability to achieve things. Different people live up to these expectations differently in life, which are responsible for the difference that we see in human behavior.
The author believes that we can understand our strengths and build a life that we want if we can understand our tendencies to reciprocate to our external as well as internal expectations. People can be categorized into four groups depending on their affinities to react to their external and internal expectations.
This category belongs to people who are known for upholding their internal as well external expectations readily. They will seize every opportunity that they get. External expectations like a deadline or a request from a loved one will be fulfilled by this kind of people without any internal hesitations. Similarly, they will also meet their internal expectations alike. For example, internal expectations like a new year resolution will also be met with same vigor because to them each expectation matters.
Like the name suggests, the people who fall into this category would question every expectation that comes their way, be it internal or external. These people find it hard to be swept away by an idea of someone’s and sometimes even their expectation. They want to make sense out of everything that they are taking on. But if an expectation makes sense to them, then they will internalize it like their own and carry on with it. So, this category of people look for the right reason behind all expectations and when they are convinced with those reasons, they will treat all expectations as their own.
This category of people are very good at meeting external expectations but find it hard to meet their own internal expectations. They will thrive when they have to meet a set of external expectations because they rely heavily on others to bring out the best in them. They would always struggle to meet the expectations that they have set for themselves because it is easier for them to push themselves when others are there to hold them accountable. So, these people look outward for expectations as they fear that they might crumble under the pressure of their own expectations.
Like the name, this category of people would resist every expectation, be it internal or external. They don’t discriminate based on the source of an expectation. Rebels don’t like conforming to a set idea which is why they don’t like expectations. They thrive when they live on their sheer impulse. Expectations can bog people down sometimes and it can also hold people back from exploring. That’s the reason why rebels rebel against it all.
The Way To A Happy Life
The author has pondered a lot over which type of tendency is better. Unfortunately, the author couldn’t come up with a right answer because there is no right answer. The tendencies with which we look at expectations depends on our life experiences and sometimes the situations. The way to finding a happy life depends on knowing what your tendency is and thus, making the best of it. Our tendencies come with consequences. So, if we can figure out a way to handle them, we can thrive under all kinds of expectations.