Tag Archives: news

Obliger-Spotting in the News? Rex Tillerson on Becoming Secretary of State.

As I may have mentioned, I’m obsessed with my Four Tendencies framework, in which I divide all of humanity into four types: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel. (Don’t know your Tendency? Take the short quiz here.)

As I go through my days, I’m always searching for greater understanding of the Four Tendencies; I search for patterns and insight. Am I right that Rebel children are often especially close to their grandparents? Do many Questioners love to share links and articles?

I also constantly search for examples of the Four Tendencies in real life and in memoirs, movies, novels, and TV shows.

It’s crucial to remember that we can’t determine a person’s Tendency from the outside — we need to know why a person talks or behaves a certain way.

But at the same time, it’s true that sometimes people do say things that seem to be a powerful indication of Tendency. I was struck by this fact when I read about an interview with Rex Tillerson.

Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp, was named by President Trump to be Secretary of State.

In an interview about his new position, Secretary Tillerson said, “I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job.”

He explained that his wife “told me I’m supposed to do this.” She also told him, “God’s not through with you.”

Secretary Tillerson added, “I was supposed to retire in March, this month. I was going to the ranch to be with my grandkids.”

“My wife convinced me…She was right. I’m supposed to do this.”

To me, this sounds like an Obliger. The expectation is coming from the outside. What do you think?

Of course, because Obliger is the largest Tendency, it’s also likely that Tillerson is an Obliger because that’s the Tendency a person is most likely to belong to.

From these comments, Secretary Tillerson doesn’t sound particularly enthusiastic about this responsibility. Obligers have told me, however, that they’ve had the experience of starting a position because they felt obliged by an outer expectation, and then finding a real passion for that position. Sometimes passion follows, rather than leads, as we grapple with a new expectation.

What’s your view?

(Note: These days, any mention of politics can bring out people’s combative sides. Please keep the conversation civil and about the TENDENCIES.)

My book The Four Tendencies will hit the shelves in September. If you’re inclined to buy the book, it’s a big help to me if you pre-order it now. Pre-orders are extremely important for building buzz and support for a book among booksellers, the media, and the publisher.

Podcast 104: Have a “Life Story Conversation,” Ideas for Travel Beasts, and Dealing with the Emotional Toll of the News.

It’s time for the next installment of  Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

We’re coming up on our second anniversary of the show! To celebrate, we want to do an episode of highlights from the previous year. So if you have a favorite try-this-at-home, a great before-and-after story of something you tried, a favorite funny moment, let us know. Email us at podcast@gretchenrubin.com or call 77-HAPPY-336.

Try This at Home: Have a “life story conversation.” If you want to listen to the episode of The Onward Project podcast Radical Candor where they discuss this idea, check out episode 5.

Happiness Hack: Mary suggests, “When clothes are in bad shape, so that I can’t give them away, I pack them, and wear them one last time on the trip, and then leave them behind.” This is an especially great tip for under-buyers.

Happiness Stumbling Block: The news. So many people have emailed and called to say, “How do I manage the emotional toll of the news?” It’s a big question.

Elizabeth mentions Sarah’s Facebook group: #OurFirst100Days.

Demerit: Elizabeth’s battle with the game Candy Crush continues. Have you tried unsuccessfully to delete a soul-destroying app?

Gold Star: How I love the New York City subway system, especially the new stops on the Q line.

If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

Check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial, plus a $110 bonus offer — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

Also check out StitchFix, an online personal styling service with real stylists who handpick clothing for you — your taste, your schedule, your lifestyle, your budget. Sign up at StitchFix.com.

Also check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and free in-home or on-phone design consultations and free professional measuring.

Happier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #104

We love hearing from listeners:

 

To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

How to Subscribe

If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” The first shows are Side Hustle School and Radical Candor. Elizabeth’s show with her writing partner, Sarah Fain, will be Happier in Hollywood, so stay tuned for that.

HAPPIER listening!

Podcast 86: Why It’s Good to Bring Good News, How Other People Affect Our Habits, and a Look at Obliger-Rebellion.

It’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Remember, if you live near Seattle, please come to our live event! We’ll be recording an episode of the podcast live on stage at Seattle’s Town Hall on October 13, 7:30. Tickets are $25. More info and buy tickets here. Please come, bring your friends. We’re going to sell t-shirts — cash only.

Try This at Home: Be the bearer of good news (at least sometimes).

Happiness Hack: Cathy suggests that after you return from a vacation, read books set in your vacation location, to keep the vacation vibe going.

Better Than Before Habit Strategy: The Strategy of Other People — one of the most powerful strategies.

Listener Question: Thalia asks, “I’m an Obliger, but I’m with my parents, I act like a Rebel. What’s going on?” Thalia is experiencing Obliger-rebellion.

If you want to know when my new book about the Four Tendencies hits the shelves, sign up here.

Gretchen’s Demerit: I narrowly escape giving myself a demerit for vengefully refusing to answer Jamie’s questions.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth gives Adam a gold star for getting into the spirit of Halloween and wearing a costume.

Click here to get the Wedding Readings PDF now

If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here.

Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page about the podcast. To join the conversation, check the schedule. 

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

Sign up for The Great Courses Plus today and you’ll get a month of unlimited access to thousands of fascinating lectures taught by top professors and experts in their fields. Get a free month when you sign up at www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/happier.

And check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial, plus a $110 bonus offer — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

Also check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 25% off window treatments and a free in-home design consultation.

1pixHappier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #86

We love hearing from listeners:

 

To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

How to Subscribe

If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen toHappier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much.

HAPPIER listening!

Avoid the Dangerous Allure of “Potato-Chip News.”

Assay: I’ve identified sixteen strategies to use for fostering habits, and one strategy is the Strategy of Distraction.

It’s a highly effective strategy, particularly for people who are attracted to potato-chip news. I’m not attracted to potato-chip news, myself, so it took me a while to understand this challenge.

“Potato-chip news” is news that’s repetitive, requires little effort to absorb, and is consumable in massive quantities: true crime, natural disasters, political punditry, celebrity gossip, sports gossip, or endless photographs of beautiful houses, food, or clothes. We all have a duty to be educated citizens, but potato-chip news provides endless commentary, speculation, and images, rather than fresh facts or sophisticated analysis, and information is usually sensationalized.

Most people enjoy potato-chips news from time to time—to track a presidential election or the Oscars. However, some are particularly drawn to material that makes them feel shocked, frightened, insecure, or indignant, and that’s what potato-chip news often provides.

Often, constant exposure to potato-chip news causes a kind of distress that can inflame bad habits—in the people are most drawn to it.

The subject of potato-chip news came up when I was giving a talk, and one audience member asked: “I’m absolutely one of those people who’s attracted to potato-chip news. What they call ‘disaster porn.’ I know it’s not good for me, but somehow I always watch. Plus I do think it’s important to be an informed citizen of the world.”

“Try this,” I suggested. “Get information from written sources. Seeing distressing visual images on TV hits people a lot harder than reading about it—also, you’re more likely to watch three hours of TV coverage than to read about a subject for three hours, and written news tends to be more informative, anyway. Or decide to watch for a limited time, like ‘I’m going to watch for thirty minutes to find out what’s happening, then I’ll turn it off until tomorrow.’”

Potato-chip news has two major downsides: it can take up a lot of time, and the bigger problem, from a habits perspective, is that some people feel overwhelmed and upset, and then they indulge in bad habits to try to make themselves feel better.

Righteous anger, pity, a desire for justice—these can make us get involved and do good things. But that means taking constructive action, and potato-chip news often leaves people feeling upset, angry, or helpless, but not inspired to act. And it can have a bad effect on them. I read a comment:  “I was so worried about how the election was going to turn out that I ate half a pan of peanut-butter brownies in front of cable news.” Yes, this person is deeply interested in the situation, but still, we need to have ways to deal with somewhat remote events in ways that don’t derail or attempts to manage ourselves.

It’s stress, but really, it’s a vicarious, voluntary stress.  Spending hours stressed out in front of the TV isn’t the same as volunteering or donating. Feeling a high level of personal distress makes people feel agitated and emotionally drained, to the point that they lack the energy or detachment to help—or the energy to manage themselves. (Here are ten extremely basic tips for eliminating stress from your day.)

Potato-chip news comes in many guises. A guy at a conference confided, “I’ve realized I can’t take a five-minute break and go to ESPN.com. I read one thing, then another, I can’t get in and out quickly. Plus I’m from Cincinnati, so I care a lot about the Bengals, and if I read something about how the Bengals suck, it puts me in a really bad mood, and I can’t work.” A woman told me, “I find myself spending hours in front of Pinterest, and it makes me feel bad about myself, that I’m not hand-stenciling my bathroom, or whatever.”

For people who have a taste for it, it’s very helpful to learn to distract themselves from potato-chip news, so that this inclination doesn’t overwhelm their self-mastery. As William Edward Hartpole Lecky wrote, “To see things in their true proportion, to escape the magnifying influence of a morbid imagination, should be one of the chief aims of life.”

Are you tempted by potato-chip news? If so, how does it affect you, and how do you keep yourself from over-indulging in it?

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Pigeon of Discontent: News of the World Makes Me Unhappy.

Each week, I post a video about some Pigeon of Discontent raised by a reader. Because, as much as we try to find the Bluebird of Happiness, we’re also plagued by those small but pesky Pigeons of Discontent.

This week’s Pigeon of Discontent, suggested by a reader, is: “Bad news of the world makes me unhappy.”

 

If you want to read more about this resolution, check out…

The “negativity bias, ” or, bad feelings are stronger than good.

 7 tips for handling criticism.

Do you think I’m correct that some people seem to be highly affected by bad news of natural disasters, true crime, or alarming social trends, while other people seem to be much less personally disturbed by this kind of news? That’s just my own observation, so I’m curious to hear if it rings true to others.

You can check out the archives of videos here. It’s crazy–my YouTube channel has passed the mark for one million viewers.