The Four Tendencies: Rebel

This article focuses on the Rebel tendency and is the fifth and final article in a series of articles all about the Four Tendencies and how you can understand yourself better to make it easier to do what you want. If you haven’t read the first article yet, check out The Four Tendencies article now.

What are the Four Tendencies?

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The Four Tendencies framework is a simple and elegant way to categorize how we respond to both internal and external expectations.

The Four Tendencies categorizes people with regards to how they respond to EXPECTATIONS, that’s it. A narrow aspect of our whole person, but very mighty because this influences how we accomplish our goals.

Check out Gretchen Rubin’s podcast episode all about the Four Tendencies.

What is your tendency?

If you haven’t done so already, take the quiz here to learn your tendency.

If you’re a patient of mine, email me your tendency! I like to keep note of this in your chart because it helps me to help you improve your health!

Do you ever feel like you are your own Worst Enemy?

Goldfish leaping from bowl on left with lots of other fish into empty bowl on right

Are you a “free spirit”?

Do you like to be “Devil’s Advocate”?

Have you ever been told you are stubborn, inconsiderate, or contrarian? If you are independent and love to be challenged but struggle with rules, routine, planning, and repetition then you may be a Rebel!

According to Gretchen Rubin’s research, Rebel is the least common tendency at 17% of the population.

“You can’t make me, and neither can I”

Rebels “resist all expectations, outer and inner alike.” Rebels do not feel bound by the same rules and restrictions as most people, so you can be highly independent, innovative, and progressive. Because Rebels are able to tune out rules and conventions, you are often most in tune with your inner drive.

Toddler sitting on bathroom floor covered in toilet paper that has been unrolled

However, Rebels often feel frustrated in achieving their goals because they resist structure and consistency. Trying to force yourself to do something because you or someone else expects it of you often backfires and results in frustration for everyone! Making the rules harsher and harsher does not work on Rebels! Rebels do their own thing, in their own way, and usually refuse to do what they or others think they are “supposed” to do.

You do not respond well to advice, rules, scheduling, supervision, routines, repetition, and planning. Your challenge is to find the deeper drive behind your choices and follow that forward.

Rebel Key to Success: Identity

When Rebels try to adhere to expectations (your own or others’) through conventional strategies, it will often backfire and you can feel frustrated and stagnant. The key is to do things because you WANT to, not because you HAVE to. Obligation sabotages you!

Woman standing in kitchen with eyes closed holding her hands to her chest

Rebels succeed when they feel in control and in alignment with their values. Your key to success is to connect with your identity and to choose behaviours that are consistent with that identity. Are you an active, strong, and fit person? If so, then you exercise, choosing activities that are consistent with your interests and avoiding too much predictability or repetition.

Rebels are also capable of meeting expectations of others out of love or caring, probably because this is part of their identity. Are you a loving partner? If so, then you collaborate with your partner to show your love and maintain your relationship.

How I work with Rebels:

1. Clarify identity and goals

Example: I ask you why you are seeing me. Then we create a plan that is consistent with who you want to be and what you want to do to achieve this.

2. Create challenges

Example: Rather than giving you “doctor’s orders”, I will frame some behaviours as challenges, such as quitting smoking, cutting out sugar, or meditating every day.

3. Focus on information, consequences, choice

Example: Let’s say you have high blood sugar or insulin resistance. I review your labs and symptoms with you, explain that your current trajectory leads to not only fatigue, low mood, and possibly many other symptoms but also obesity, heart disease, diabetes. Then I provide choices on how we can change this trajectory.

What’s next?

To learn more, check out Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast episode all about Rebels.

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