Podcast 141: Find an Oasis, Wisely Planning an Exception to a Good Habit–and Is it a Mistake to Adapt to a Rebel’s Tendency?


More than a million people have taken my Four Tendencies quiz! Yowza.

If you want to take the Quiz to tell you whether you’re an Upholder like me, an Obliger like Elizabeth, a Questioner like my husbandor a Rebel like Chris Guillebeau of “Side Hustle School,” it’s here.

The quiz was built by the brilliant team at Aperio Insights.

Try This at Home

Find an oasis: a place in your week that you struggle to reach, and is delightful once you get there.

This is related to the power of the Strategy of Treats. We must have treats! Having an oasis, getting a treat — these pleasures are not mere frivolous self-indulgence; they help us to exercise self-mastery.

I mention my love of children’s literature. If you’d like to see my list of my 81 favorite works of children’s and young-adult literature, it’s here.

Happiness Hack

If you know children who like to listen to great audio content, check out Pinna — the brainchild of many people, including our beloved Andy Bowers. Pinna (which is the word for the outer ear, get it?) is the home of terrific audio stories and podcasts for kids 4-12. So much great content there! It’s a subscription service, which means your children can listen ad-free.

Four Tendencies Tip

Ashley, an Obliger, has a Rebel son who clashes with her husband (Rebel or Questioner). She wants to communicate with her son in a more Rebel-minded way, but her husband objects that pussy-footing around their son in this way will set him up for failure in the real world.

To read more discussion of raising a Rebel child, check out The Four Tendencies book.

Listener Question

Jenny used the surgery as the catalyst to use the Strategy of the Clean Slate to change some of her eating habits. Now she’s wondering if she can use her week’s holiday as a “planned exception” — or whether a week is too long.

Read here to learn more about “planned exceptions.”

Jenny also notes that she’s an “Abstainer” — read here to learn more about the Strategy of Abstaining. I’m a huge Abstainer, myself. Wow, life became so much easier when I realized that aspect of my nature.

Gretchen’s Demerit

I’ve been doing what’s urgent instead of what’s important. For instance, I’m spending hours dealing with my emails — which give me a quick and easy fix of accomplishment — instead of thinking about my big, long-term aims.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star

Elizabeth’s gold star goes to my friend Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, who coincidentally came to speak at Jack’s school. She gave a great talk that really resonated with Elizabeth and other parents.

Jessica also has a podcast “#AmWriting with Jess and KJ” with another friend of mine — KJ Dell’Antonia, a columnist and contributing editor at the New York Times Well Family. On their podcast, they discuss writing, reading, and getting things done.

I love it when worlds collide!





Like what you see? Explore more about this topic.

Subscribe to Gretchen’s newsletter.

Every Friday, Gretchen Rubin shares 5 things that are making her happier, asks readers and listeners questions, and includes exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes material.