Good Reading : March 2015
GOOD READING MARCH 2015 57 BOOK BITE 3 it. The first and most important habits question is: ‘How does a person respond to an expectation?’ When we try to for m a new habit, we set an expectation for ourselves. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand how we respond to expectations. We face two kinds of expectations: outer expectations (meet work deadlines, observe traffic regulations) and inner expectations (stop napping, keep a New Year’s resolution). From my observation, just about everyone falls into one of four distinct groups: Our Tendency colours the way we see the world and therefore has enormous consequences for our habits. Of course, these are tendencies, but I’ve found, to a degree that surprises me, that most people do fall squarely into one camp, and once I identified the Tendencies, I got a kick from hearing the people within a given Tendency make the same kinds of comments, over and over. Questioners, for example, often remark how much they hate to wait in line. Upholders Upholders respond readily to outer expectations and inner expectations. They wake up and think: ‘What’s on the schedule and the to-do list for today?’ They want to know what’s expected of them, and to meet those expectations. They avoid making mistakes or letting people down – including themselves. Questioners Questioners question all expectations, and they respond to an expectation only if they conclude that it makes sense. They’re motivated by reason, logic and fairness. They wake up and think, ‘What needs to get done today, and why?’ They decide for themselves whether a course of action is a good idea, and they resist doing anything that seems to lack sound purpose. Obligers Obligers are motivated by external accountability; they wake up and think, ‘What must I do today?’ Because Obligers excel at meeting external demands and deadlines and go to great lengths to meet their responsibilities, they make terrific colleagues, family members and friends. Because Obligers resist inner expectations, it’s difficult for them to self-motivate. Rebels Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike. They choose to act from a sense of choice, of freedom. Rebels wake up and think, ‘What do I want to do today?’ They resist control, even self-control, and enjoy flouting rules and expectations. Rebels work toward their own goals, in their own way, and while they refuse to do what they’re ‘supposed’ to do, they can accomplish their own aims. Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin is published by Hachette, rrp $29.99. Gretchen Rubin will speak at the Happiness and its Causes Conference in Sydney, 10-11 June 2015 happinessanditscauses.com.au Upholders respond readily to both outer expectations and inner expectations. Questioners question all expectations, and will meet an expectation only if they believe it’s justified. Obligers respond readily to outer expectations but struggle to meet inner expectations (my friend on the track team). Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike.