Raise your hand if this thought has ever crossed your mind:
“Am I lazy?”
Because I’m not afraid to admit that it has definitely crossed mine. You see, I’m not internally motivated. I’m not one to set gym goals and achieve them on my own. I can’t promise myself to do something and always expect to keep that promise. But it doesn’t mean I’m lazy. In fact, thanks to Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies, I know now it just means I’m an Obliger.
You see, Rubin has cracked the code of motivation. In The Four Tendencies, she explains that each person falls into one of four categories: Obligers (me!), Questioners, Upholders, and Rebels. Each of the categories is based off what motivates them. Whether it’s pure external factors (Obliger), pure internal (Questioner), both (Upholder), or neither (Rebel). And the truth is, once you know what motivates you, you know how to outsmart the system.
Let’s take the Obliger to start out with. I am motivated by external factors, so that means that when I really want to get something done, I’ll find an outside source to help me. Whether that’s an accountability partner, a business coach, or simply declaring my intentions to everyone that I can think of, I’ll then get motivated to do it because I have someone else I feel like I need to “turn my homework into”.
The Questioner is the opposite. They will only work to complete a project if they find value in it. It’s hard for them to just do something because they feel like they “should”. They have to do something because they want to (and then generally do the pounds of research and analysis to pick just the right choice). To motivate themselves for external factors, they have to convince themselves (or be convinced) of the logical need for them to do it.
Now, the Upholder is motivated by both internal and external factors. They want to get something done for themselves and for their partner/boss/coworker/coach/etc. This may seem like they’re the most hardworking, but it also means they’re the most rigid and struggle the most with things that are out of their control. They often have the mindset of wanting to do it all, which means it’s hard for them to delegate.
The Rebel (the rarest of all types), resists both internal and external motivations. In a sentence: They do what they want, when they want, and even they can’t control their own motivations. This means they tend to be extremely creative, thinking outside the box and bringing new ideas to the table. But it also means they’re often struggling with getting things accomplished, because they have a strong impulse to resist to anyone’s expectations (including their own).
So whether you’re an Obliger, Upholder, Questioner, or Rebel, it’s important to know your type so you can know how to motivate yourself. It’s all about getting things done, and knowing how to do it.
Which personality type are you? Share in the comments below, or join the party on my Instagram and share there: https://www.instagram.com/katrina.widener/
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