Ta-Da! The Launch of My Quiz on the Four Tendencies. Learn About Yourself!

Of everything I learned about habits and human nature from working on my book Better Than Before, the most challenging thing I figured out — and the insight I’m most proud of — is my Four Tendencies framework. (See below for a quick overview.)

It took me months of rumination to make sense of everything I’d observed, and to fit it into a system that accounted for everything. I’ll never forget the thrill I felt when everything at last fell into place.

I felt like I’d uncovered something like the Periodic Table of the Elements. My framework is balanced, consistent, encompassing, and predictive — if I do say so myself.

For that reason, I wanted to develop a quiz to help people figure out their Tendency. With the help of the extraordinary Mike Courtney and his team at Aperio Insights, it’s ready! (It turns out that it’s a lot harder to make this kind of quiz than you might think.)

At last, it’s finished. Take the quiz here. Your results will give you your Tendency, along with a simple description. If you’d like more information about your Tendency, you’ll get a prompt at the end to request a detailed report.

Remember, be honest! The Quiz is only as accurate as the answers you provide.

When I talk about the Tendencies, people often say, “I’m a mix.”  It’s true that the Tendencies do overlap, so each Tendency shares aspects with other Tendencies — but it’s not really possible to be a mix. To be an Upholder is not to be an Obliger. To be a Questioner is not to be a Rebel.   While Upholders and Obligers both respond readily to outer expectations, it’s how they respond to inner expectations that distinguishes them. Similarly, Questioners and Rebels both resist outer expectations; it’s how they respond to inner expectations that distinguishes them. And so on.

For this reason, part of what made the Quiz tricky was that I had to figure out questions that would really pinpoint the key differences among the Tendencies.

Once you’ve taken the Quiz — did your answer ring true for you?

In Better Than Before, I explore at greater length the nature of the Four Tendencies, and how they affect habits.

In fact, I’m thinking of writing a little book that’s a field guide to the Four Tendencies, one that goes even deeper into this framework. Would you be interested in something like that?

In the meantime, take the Quiz! I’d love to hear what you think.

If you need a quick overview of the Four Tendencies:

In a nutshell, it distinguishes how people tend to respond to expectations: outer expectations (a deadline, a “request” from a sweetheart) and inner expectations (write a novel in your free time, keep a New Year’s resolution).

Your response to expectations may sound slightly obscure, but it turns out to be very, very important.

  • Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations (I’m an Upholder, 100%)
  • Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense–essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations
  • Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves
  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike

 

If you’d like to see me discuss each category in  a video, you can watch: for Upholders, watch here; Questioners, here;  Rebels, here, and Obligers, here.

I hope you find the Quiz useful. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun to do. I’m very curious to hear people’s reaction to it, so please do post a comment to share your thoughts..

Interested in Habits? Want a Free Bonus Gift? Of Course!

My new book, Better Than Before, explains how we can master our habits. In it, I reveal the secret to changing habits—really!

It turns out that changing habits isn’t that hard, when you know what to do. The book hits the shelves on March 17, 2015.

Pre-orders really help a book, by building buzz among the media, booksellers, and readers. If you’re inclined to buy Better Than Before, pre-ordering now is a big help.

So, as a thank-you to readers who pre-order the book, my publisher is offering a limited-edition bonus set. As you see in the image, you’ll get…

  • A Better Than Before cell-phone case (for the iPhone 5 or 6, or Samsung 5)
  • A wallet card with my Habits Manifesto
  • A bookplate signed by me

 

To receive your gift, pre-order the book from your favorite retailer, save your receipt, and click here to fill out the form with your order confirmation. If you’ve already pre-ordered, don’t worry — there are instructions telling you what to do. (And thank you!)

Want more information before you commit yourself to a pre-order?

To read an excerpt, look here.

To listen to a clip of the audio-book, listen here (that’s me, reading).

To check out other habit-related materials, click here. (For instance, you can get one-pagers on “Eating Better Than Before,” “Working Better Than Before, ” “Exercising Better Than Before,” and my favorite, “Reading Better Than Before.”)

Remember, you won’t be charged for the book until it ships.

This offer runs until February 15, 2015. Alas, my publisher can offer this in the U.S. only, and has a limited amount, so I apologize in advance if we run out.

As always, readers, I so appreciate your support and enthusiasm. If you live in a tour city, I hope I see you this spring. If you live in L.A., San Diego, Dallas, Denver, San Francisco, Princeton, Washington D.C., Boston, Madison CT, Cedar Rapids, Philadelphia, or of course New York City, I’m headed your way. Please come, tell your friends. (Tour dates in Canada, UK., and Australia coming soon.)

Better Than Before  was very tough to write; habit change is a very challenging, large subject.  But I loved writing this book.

As always, readers, thank you for your support and enthusiasm.

Thank You, Readers, For All Your Good Wishes

I want to say thank you to everyone who wrote me, one way or another, to send good wishes to me and my family after my announcement that my husband is cured — yes, that’s right, cured — of hepatitis C.

I wasn’t able to answer every comment on my blog and on Facebook, but believe me, I read every single one.

I thought I couldn’t get any happier, but knowing that so many people were rejoicing with us cranked me right up to 11.

Also, many people told me that as a result of my post, they’d signed up to be an organ donor.  Just think: years from now, some family may be as relieved and ecstatic as my family is right now, because of a small action someone took this week.

Thank you. I’m very, very happy.

Today Is One of the Happiest Days of My Life. Here’s Why.

Today is one of the very happiest days of my life.

I was happy when my two daughters were born, but having a baby is such a tremendous new responsibility; I was extremely happy, but also awestruck and slightly terrified.

I was happy on my wedding day, but I was also worried about how the whole day would unfold. For instance, strangely, I was very concerned that my veil might fall off as I was going down the aisle.

Etc.

Today, though, I’m purely, absolutely happy.

In The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, I write about the fact that my husband got hepatitis C from a blood transfusion during a heart operation, when he was eight years old. You really don’t want to have hepatitis C; eventually, it destroys your liver. My husband tried many treatments over the years, but nothing worked.

I’ve so appreciated the thoughtfulness of readers who have emailed me to make sure that we knew about possible new treatments, or to send along their good wishes for my husband’s health. Last year, a new treatment was approved, and my husband went on it right away.

As of this morning, he has been declared CURED A few hours ago, we got the email from his extraordinary doctor, Dr. Leona Kim-Schluger. He is now free from the virus. It’s over.

I am so, so happy, and grateful, and relieved, and thrilled. I can’t really put it into words.

And yet there’s something more I want to say.

I love children’s literature, and at this minute, I’m reminded of a scene from one of my favorite books, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

It’s Meg’s wedding day, and she and Laurie start talking about drinking wine. Laurie explains, “I don’t care for it; but when a pretty girl offers it, one doesn’t like to refuse, you see.”

Meg answers, “But you will, for the sake of others, if not for your own. Come, Laurie, promise, and give me one more reason to call this the happiest day of my life.”

And in that spirit, my dear readers, out of the fullness of my heart, let me ask something of you, so I have one more reason to call this the happiest day of my life.

If you support organ donation, take a moment to sign the donor registry, and also to tell your friends and family that you’d want to donate your organs.

Very few of us die in a way that permits us to donate our organs, and in a time of sorrow and shock, the people around you might not know what you would’ve wanted. Let them know, now, if you would want to be an organ donor. Over the last many years, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my husband’s liver, and I’m very glad that he gets to keep the one he was born with. But things might not have turned out this way.

Tears are running down my face…I’m beside myself with joy! I hardly know what to do with myself. What do you do on one of the happiest days of your life? I think I’ll go buy his favorite dessert: a pralines’n’cream ice cream cake.

Fill in the Blank: X Is a Good Servant But a Bad Master

I love to collect variations on phrases, such as the “X is the new Y.” “Orange is the new black,” “Breakfast is the new lunch,” “Forties are the new thirties,” “Halloween is the new Christmas,” or–and I was inspired by this one for Happier at Home–“September is the new January.” (I started this happiness project in September, instead of January, because September also seems like a good time for a fresh start.)

I came up with my own fill-in-the-blank phrase, “___ is a good servant but a bad master.” I’ve been thinking about different ways to fill in that blank.

Because I’ve been writing and thinking about habits for so long, to write Better Than Before, my first answer is, no surprise, habit. And indeed, habit is a good servant but a bad master. A very, very good servant, and a very, very bad master.

Other possibilities…

Money

Technology (or Facebook, Twitter, email…)

Alcohol

Punctuality

Caffeine

Television

Anger

Food

Ambition

Planning

The flesh

Ego

Leisure

Productivity

What would you add? I don’t know why I get such a big kick out of lists like this, but I do.