Rebels Hate Being Told What to Do. How Are They Managing the Corona-virus Rules?

The four tendencies book

The other day, I wrote a piece, “Coping with COVID-19: How my ‘Four Tendencies’ personality framework shows up in the context of social distancing.

There, I explored how the perspective of each of the Four Tendencies might influence their behavior.

(No idea what I’m talking about?  Take the short, free quiz here—more than 3 million people have taken it, to learn if they’re Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, or Rebels.)

As I expected, Rebels—who resist being told what to do—struggle most with all the rules around the extraordinary, difficult situation we’re in.

I’ve heard from many people who ask, “What do you do if someone close to you refuses to follow the rules of social distancing? This Rebel in my life won’t do it. I’m worried about the Rebel’s health, and I’m also worried that the Rebel’s disregard of the rules will expose other people to the virus.”

I posted on this subject on Instagram, and many Rebels responded to explain about how they’re negotiating this time—such brilliant solutions.

If you’re a Rebel yourself, or you’re living or working with a Rebel, you may have experienced the Rebel resistance to being told what to do. Hearing from Rebels themselves, about what messages resonate, may help you communicate more effectively.

Here are some (lightly edited) responses:

They remind themselves that this is what I want:

“I’m getting through social distancing by insisting that I am enjoying it, while everyone around me complains about it and is miserable. I guess I’m convincing myself that it’s what I want to do.”

“I love being home and trying to get done all sorts of projects I’ve been saving for a ‘rainy day.'”

“My Rebel partner said he knows why we’re in lock-down; he just hates being told what to do. He gets around the Rebel-frustration by saying he’s going to go do this and that (but then he doesn’t), and that seems to satisfy his Rebel needs.”

“I’m a Rebel and absolutely LOVE THIS TIME! I get to make my own schedule, and no one is telling me what to do and where to go when, because schools have closed and most jobs are work from home.”

They remind themselves that this is who I am; this is the person I choose to be; this is my identity:

“I have no issues with social distancing, first all, it’s my normal life habit, and second, this is a crisis and I want me and others to be the best we can. I’m doing my part.”

“This situation is allowing me to lead fully, be creative and a role model to my children of how we can get through and do anything together while also supporting others who need a lift.”

“In Italy, nothing was working to get people to stay in their homes here until the government launched the #iorestoacasa hashtag (‘I’m staying at home’), with some well-chosen celebrities getting in on the act. Suddenly it was like a light-bulb went on in people’s heads—it had become a question of identity, and people wanted to show how responsible they were.”

I’m having no problem because I am CHOOSING to do this! My identity is as a leader, and sacrifices need to be made.

They remind themselves of information-consequences-choice:

“As a Rebel, I have the strongest desire not to be home mostly because I am being told I HAVE to stay home. What is truly working for me is I really have no place to go except the grocery store. Where I am almost everything is shut down.”

“My husband is a Rebel and is doing great with the social distancing. There are just too many facts to ignore at this point.

Speaking of consequences: Every day at 4 pm ET, my sister Elizabeth and I hold Instagram Live “Coping with COVID-19 Conversations.” One viewer commented that because her Rebel husband refused to take any COVID-19-related precautions, she has moved to an Airbnb for three months. That’s a consequence.

They refuse to be controlled:

“I’ve been personifying the virus in my head, and I’ll be damned if this virus will use me or my kids to survive and strengthen and pass on to others.”

They rise to meet a challenge:

“My brother-in-law told my sister that there was no way I’d be able to follow social-distancing rules. I decided, ‘I’ll show him!'”

Rebels, what other strategies have you used to cope during COVID-19? Or what has helped Rebels to get through this time of massive rule imposition?

If you’re interested in using this time to learn more about yourself through my Four Tendencies video course,

If you want to learn more about the Four Tendencies, and how to harness their power to achieve your aims, you can read my book The Four Tendencies




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