What’s Your Tendency?

I just read a very interesting transcript of a podcast. You can read or hear it here.

In this conversation Gretchen Rubin, author of Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, explains that you’ve got to know your habit-setting style.

The first thing the author does is break the myth that willpower is always necessary for forming habits. Apparently, by forming habits, we are doing away with the daunting task of constantly making decisions about our behaviour. If its a habit, it happens automatically and one need not expend precious willpower to achieve the same result. Willpower can therefore be saved up for occasions when it is really needed.

The second and to my mind more interesting aspect of the conversation revolves around the fact that there are “Four Tendencies” that all people can be classified into. What are these four tendencies you ask? Well they are simply the way in which an individual responds to expectations.

We all face two kinds of expectations:

  • outer expectations, such as meeting work deadlines or observing traffic regulations, and
  • inner expectations, such as exercising more or keeping a New Year’s resolution.

We have a certain “tendency” to respond to these expectations in a way that defines us.

Four Tendencies
Four Tendencies

Upholder: “I do what others expect from me and what I expect from myself”

Questioner: “I do what I think is best, according to my judgement. If it doesn’t make sense, I won’t do it”

Obliger: “I do what I have to do. I don’t want to let others down, but I may let myself down”

Rebel: “I do what I want, in my own way. If you try to make me do something – even if I try to make myself do something – I’m less likely to do it.”

These tendencies of ours determines the steps we must take to form habits. For example, someone who is an obliger would be better off teaming up with a friend in an effort to form a habit if they know that the friend will be disappointed if they do not follow through.

All in all it made for a very good read and I am looking forward to the book! There is a quiz on her website that you can take to understand what your dominant tendency is. Find it here.

So whats your tendency?

My Life As I See It

It’s been a while since I sat down at 8 in the morning to write. There have been a handful of instances across time when I have done this and it seems to me that that is what makes it so special. It also usually means that I’m supposed to actually do something else but I’ve just indulged myself and let loose. Today, however was different. I woke up about 20 minutes ago with a fully formed thought in my head that I wanted to write. I didn’t know what about and it didn’t bother me because somehow once I found my laptop open in front of me, I was sure that I would find my fingers racing across the keyboard and indeed that is what happened.
Well I’ve settled on what I want to write about. I want to write about writing and the strange fascination I’ve always had for it. I have always unequivocally loved reading, there has been no doubt in my mind about that. I may be picky about what I read sometimes but I’m quite convinced that I could read anything in world out there (provided I knew the language of course!). Writing however has been more elusive. Like a houseguest who you aren’t sure how long they would stay. Or when they would be back again. But the way I feel about it has always remained steady like a gnawing pain that won’t go away. I didn’t have words to describe this feeling for a long time and then I heard it in the movie The Hours. It describes it perfectly:
“I wanted to be a writer, that’s all. I wanted to write about it all. Everything that happens in a moment. The way the flowers looked when you carried them in your arms. This towel, how it smells, how it feels, this thread. All our feelings, yours and mine. The history of it, who we once were. Everything in the world. Everything all mixed up, like it’s all mixed up now. And I failed. I failed. No matter what you start with it ends up being so much less. Sheer fucking pride and stupidity.”
That’s how I’ve always felt. Like I want to write everything but somehow every time I take pen to paper, it always feels so much less than what it was in my head. The colours in the scenery just lack that lustre and it cripples me then to think that everything I will ever write will be that way and I will never be able to say everything that I want to. But I’ve slowly realised over time that its ok. It doesn’t matter that I couldn’t get it out perfectly or that I never will. It only matters that I felt happy about it. When I don’t expect to do something great I’ve managed to write some things that I am exceedingly proud of. I go back to these from time to time and wonder how I wrote them. But there is no secret, its just practice and discipline and habits being formed and most importantly being happy with what you are writing. Its about not assuming that you can or cannot write in a certain style. Its about never limiting yourself. Its about just writing down whatever comes to mind without second guessing yourself. And most importantly it is about getting over the fear of that nagging disappointment that comes when you’ve finished writing something that then looks nothing like what you imagined it would be. Its about celebrating every word for what it is and coming back to write more and more and more. No matter how agonizing it is. No matter how much your palm sweats from the effort or your head hurts or your eyes just want to close because its the end of a long day and you just don’t want to write anymore.

I don’t suppose anyone in the world can ever write it all. But when we all write our own little parts, these stories come together and become so much more than just the sum of the parts. Its the richest and most complete story ever spun because each and every thread is unique not matter how much they seem similar. Like pieces of music that are made up of the same notes but each different from the next. Our words are what stay and tell our story long after we have uttered them. So put it all out there in the universe, your voice, your story. There are enough things in this world to inspire. The cup of tea I had this morning with the steam gently rising from the surface made me think about time passing slowly by. The patch of sunlight on the floor right now makes me think about strength and solidity. The dance steps I was attempting to learn last night (unsuccessfully) was proof of how much I love my friends to even think of attempting something like that. Watching the sun set over the sea yesterday evening just gave me an assurance that it would keep happening again and again till time itself stopped. The clear blue sky that I can see outside my window right now is humbling, makes me acknowledge how really small and insignificant we are in this universe. It all matters, it all counts, so never ever hesitate to write it down.
Cheers!

My Life As I See It

It’s been a while since I sat down at 8 in the morning to write. There have been a handful of instances across time when I have done this and it seems to me that that is what makes it so special. It also usually means that I’m supposed to actually do something else but I’ve just indulged myself and let loose. Today, however was different. I woke up about 20 minutes ago with a fully formed thought in my head that I wanted to write. I didn’t know what about and it didn’t bother me because somehow once I found my laptop open in front of me, I was sure that I would find my fingers racing across the keyboard and indeed that is what happened.
Well I’ve settled on what I want to write about. I want to write about writing and the strange fascination I’ve always had for it. I have always unequivocally loved reading, there has been no doubt in my mind about that. I may be picky about what I read sometimes but I’m quite convinced that I could read anything in world out there (provided I knew the language of course!). Writing however has been more elusive. Like a houseguest who you aren’t sure how long they would stay. Or when they would be back again. But the way I feel about it has always remained steady like a gnawing pain that won’t go away. I didn’t have words to describe this feeling for a long time and then I heard it in the movie The Hours. It describes it perfectly:
“I wanted to be a writer, that’s all. I wanted to write about it all. Everything that happens in a moment. The way the flowers looked when you carried them in your arms. This towel, how it smells, how it feels, this thread. All our feelings, yours and mine. The history of it, who we once were. Everything in the world. Everything all mixed up, like it’s all mixed up now. And I failed. I failed. No matter what you start with it ends up being so much less. Sheer fucking pride and stupidity.”
That’s how I’ve always felt. Like I want to write everything but somehow every time I take pen to paper, it always feels so much less than what it was in my head. The colours in the scenery just lack that lustre and it cripples me then to think that everything I will ever write will be that way and I will never be able to say everything that I want to. But I’ve slowly realised over time that its ok. It doesn’t matter that I couldn’t get it out perfectly or that I never will. It only matters that I felt happy about it. When I don’t expect to do something great I’ve managed to write some things that I am exceedingly proud of. I go back to these from time to time and wonder how I wrote them. But there is no secret, its just practice and discipline and habits being formed and most importantly being happy with what you are writing. Its about not assuming that you can or cannot write in a certain style. Its about never limiting yourself. Its about just writing down whatever comes to mind without second guessing yourself. And most importantly it is about getting over the fear of that nagging disappointment that comes when you’ve finished writing something that then looks nothing like what you imagined it would be. Its about celebrating every word for what it is and coming back to write more and more and more. No matter how agonizing it is. No matter how much your palm sweats from the effort or your head hurts or your eyes just want to close because its the end of a long day and you just don’t want to write anymore.

I don’t suppose anyone in the world can ever write it all. But when we all write our own little parts, these stories come together and become so much more than just the sum of the parts. Its the richest and most complete story ever spun because each and every thread is unique not matter how much they seem similar. Like pieces of music that are made up of the same notes but each different from the next. Our words are what stay and tell our story long after we have uttered them. So put it all out there in the universe, your voice, your story. There are enough things in this world to inspire. The cup of tea I had this morning with the steam gently rising from the surface made me think about time passing slowly by. The patch of sunlight on the floor right now makes me think about strength and solidity. The dance steps I was attempting to learn last night (unsuccessfully) was proof of how much I love my friends to even think of attempting something like that. Watching the sun set over the sea yesterday evening just gave me an assurance that it would keep happening again and again till time itself stopped. The clear blue sky that I can see outside my window right now is humbling, makes me acknowledge how really small and insignificant we are in this universe. It all matters, it all counts, so never ever hesitate to write it down.
Cheers!