Gretchen Rubin

Four Tendencies Sighting! Chelsea Handler’s Memoir Reveals Her Tendency.

Four Tendencies Sighting! Chelsea Handler’s Memoir Reveals Her Tendency.

I continue to be fascinated by my "Four Tendencies" framework, and I'm constantly looking out for these Four Tendencies in the world.

If you don't know your "Tendency"—whether you're an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel—you can take my quick free quiz here. (Want to know the Four Tendencies of the characters of Game of Thrones? Read here. Want some examples from various movies? Read here.)

And I thought about the Four Tendencies framework when I recently read Chelsea Handler's engaging and thought-provoking memoir, Life Will Be the Death of Me: ...And You Too!

I read it because a thoughtful reader emailed me to say, hey, I think Chelsea Handler is a Rebel, what do you think?

So of course I ran out to get the book. And yes, I agree, Chelsea Handler sure seems like a Rebel. Here's my evidence. In addition to her life choices, career, and vibe, which also suggest Rebel, she writes:

No kids, no husband, no responsibilities—just a TV show on Netflix and whatever else I felt like doing, whenever I felt like doing it. Not trapped, not stuck, not dependent on a single person but myself.

Remaining married to the same person your entire life seems not only boring, but also like becoming just another statistic. It feels like marriage goes hand in hand with, well...running errands.

I just prefer to not do what everyone else is doing. I like to be in the minority.

I don't like constraints or restrictions of any kind. I don't like feeling boxed in.

It's the 'everything is a possibility' phrase that I live for. I don't ever want another person making the decisions about where I go or what I do, or to be sent down a particular runway I haven't approved. I want to change runways all the time, and I don't like answering to others. I don't like feeling trapped, or having to get approval to go on a trip from anyone. I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it.

We rescued [the dog] Tammy from a facility in Long Beach—where, for the record, my cousin Molly said the following: 'You can't get that dog. She's the ugliest one here.'

When I think back about that time, I am struck by my fearlessness, my drive, my ambition. It doesn't even feel like me now. I'm jealous of that girl. A girl with a plan. I knew exactly what I was going to be, and I was right—powerful. My intention broadsided any challenge that came my way. I didn't care what anyone else thought, what anyone said, all I wanted was my own life, and I was going to keep moving until I got it. I wanted to be a person people could depend on, and I was going to do it my way.

[As a teenager] I put my mother through hell, but she never gave up on me, and she never stopped loving me. She always told me she knew I would turn out okay, and that I just needed my independence, and that once I was an adult, I would shake myself out.

I will also note that judging from this memoir (I don't know much else about her) Chelsea Handler is wildly successful, extremely hard-working, and deeply attached to her friends and family. In particular, it was very poignant to read of her profound mourning for her brother, who died when she was a child.

She has found a way to tap into the strengths of the Rebel Tendency.

Her colleague remarked on this. Of her decision to be filmed taking the drug ayahuasca for Chelsea Does, her documentary series for Nexflix, Chelsea Handler recounts a conversation she had with her team:

"I'm not doing any drugs on camera," Karen said, zipping up her sweatshirt.

"I would," Molly said, "but if we film this, I'll technically be working. I don't think anyone's going to go for that."

"Why not? Chelsea will also be 'working,'" Karen reminded us.

"Yes, but Chelsea's 'work' requires different things from her than ours does from us," Molly said.

Please keep the sightings coming! I so appreciate everyone who has suggested books, movies, TV shows, and so on where they've spotted the Four Tendencies framework.

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Find out if you’re an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, or a Rebel.

The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t actOur Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so understanding your Tendency lets us make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress and burnout, and engage more effectively.

Take the quiz

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