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July 05, 2017

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The quiz told me I am an obliger. I would have said I have a bit of everything, except maybe upholder, but that may be because I don't have a clear sense of what an upholder is (because I didn't read all the descriptions -- because I'm a rebel?).

I think both-and is a good key here. I know for sure that I am a black and white thinker, and while I have worked hard to moderate that tendency in myself when it comes to relationships and my understanding of the world, I have not thought to apply it to habits-goals. I think in terms of habits, and I have a hard time forming them and conforming to them (who doesn't?). I am not as good at goals. I will ruminate on the link between habits and goals and perhaps try to start applying goal thinking to the habits I would like to form.

The quiz says I'm an obliger, which is probably mostly true, but with a contrarian streak. The overall tone suggests the obligers need some stern parenting. That's probably not the intention, but I know my weaknesses and this poked a soft spot.

I am a pure questioner. Are you surprised? ;)

Bearing: I am! I thought you were a fellow lover of rules.

Jennifer: contrarian fist bump!

Obliger....but with some upholder inclinations similar to how you described it. In my case I think I should be able to "just do the things" because I don't WANT to create external accountability...even thought it would be more effective. So my hurdle is about willingness to submit to outside accountability. (I read Better than Before when it first came out, while on a spring break trip, and then somehow abandoned the habit-forming project I was ready to start. I will have to dig up the notes I took and start over!)

I'm an obliger. I listen to her podcast so I already knew that. But at the same time if I make myself a to do list at home, I won't do a single thing on it. Like I'll put on my list vacuum, dishes, sort kids clothes and then I'll spend 4 hours on yard work instead. So I expected some rebel tendencies, but the quiz was short.

The quiz says I'm a questioner, which surprises me none. I admit to being a questioner of Rubin herself (haaaa) ever since I read a post she wrote about how it's better to just avoid French fries altogether than to eat them in moderation (her abstainer vs moderator framework). I left a very long comment on that post, the gist of which was "BUT ARISTOTLE!!!!" and didn't ever return. See? Questioner.

In terms of the habits vs goals dichotomy, it seems to me that you (and maybe all these people who are writing about the topic?) may be overlooking the third possibility: isn't it true that you are in the habit of making goals? I have never encountered someone more consistently inclined to make and work toward lists of things she wants to accomplish. It seems to me that this may capture some of the good of both approaches, no?

I am not surprised at the results: I am an Obliger. From Rubin's report: Obliger: "I do what I have to do. I don’t want to let others down, but I may let myself down.” I know that I have learned to deal with this in my own way for academics - where I make deadlines that I have to meet along the way, or I will be trying to do it all at once at the end. I have been successful in learning to do this, but it's not in my nature. I take care of everyone else though, to the point of forgetting me, which is something else I work on, because it's not going to help if I fall apart!

I found the sentence that obligers ask themselves: “What must I do today?” So so so true for me. And I have no problem dropping goals or habits for myself. The stuff I am getting done all has external factors. The education and job hunt? Because Robbie needs more money for his future. Sad, isn't it. Only the decision of what education, what job, etc. was based on me.

I have to tell you that the quiz says I am an Obliger.

Ooookeyyy, I am a rebel...says she
But if this is true (it may really be), then I know why behaving like a obliger for the last 30 years was so exhausting!

And Jamie: how about exchanging "audience" with "community"?

Obliger. And I'm not surprised but I kind of want t
to argue: I love deleting items of my own private lists, which no one but me sees!

The questioner detailed report looks like this.

I came up with Questioner. But for most of the questions I didn't really like any of the choices. They seemed vague to me, I wanted to ask questions to clarify, "what do you mean by this?" and "what about that?" So I guess questioner suits me.

But I'm still hazy on the whole framework and want more information and clarification. I'm not satisfied!

"Questioners question all expectations, and they respond to an expectation only if they conclude that it makes sense."

Thinking about this one. So, if Dom says "We need to do X this week," my first response is probably, "Why? Does it really have to be done now? What's the urgency, why should I put this thing on my to do list?" If I'm satisfied with the logic of the response, then no problem, but if I think I can put it off or my way is better, I will argue with it. I don't just accept it because he said so.


"They’re motivated by reason, logic, and fairness. They wake up and think, “What needs to get done today, and why?”

Well, I don't usually like waking up and thinking of my to do list first thing. But after I've floundered to consciousness, if I have to think about what to do, then yes, the *needs* and the *why?* are both key components.


"They decide for themselves whether a course of action is a good idea, and they resist doing anything that seems to lack sound purpose. Essentially, they turn all expectations into inner expectations."

I really like that last bit. All expectations must be inner expectations, if it seems stupid and arbitrary, it ain't happening. But if I can make it make some sort of sense, I'll do it. Even if reluctantly.

"Because Questioners want to make well-considered decisions and come to their own conclusions, they’re very intellectually engaged, and they’re often willing to do exhaustive research."

But on the flip side, if the research seems like too much of a burden, I'll do my damnedest to hide my head in the sand and avoid making any decision at all.


"If they decide there’s sufficient basis for an expectation, they’ll follow it; they won’t follow it if they think it’s arbitrary or ineffective. They tend to take direction only from people they respect."

Man did that get me into trouble in school....


"At times, people get tired of feeding a Questioner’s appetite for information and justification. Questioners themselves sometimes complain that they suffer “analysis paralysis,” or wish they could accept expectations without probing them so relentlessly."

See above where I avoid making any decision at all.


"Questioners are motivated by sound reasons—or at least what they believe to be sound reasons. In fact, to others, Questioners can sometimes seem like crackpots, because they may reject expert opinion in favor of their own conclusions."

I'm highly amused about seeming like a crackpot. I probably do quite often.


"Certain strategies tend to have special appeal for Questioners. For instance, if you’re trying to exercise more, you might:

• Design a habit very specifically to suit your particular character and idiosyncrasies (Strategy of Distinctions)

• Consider exactly why and how a particular habit should be kept (Strategy of Clarity)

• Get more information about your habits by wearing a pedometer or charting your exercise (Strategy of Monitoring)."

Let's see: I've definitely done the first one, setting a reading goal by keeping a monthly reading log. When thinking about it as a goal for this year, my inner dialogue included thinking about why it suits my particular personality to motivate myself thusly.

Clarity: yes, I recognize that thought process: explaining to myself how and why I find a particular strategy effective.

That last one. I've finally decided I probably should get a pedometer because I'll probably be (at least somewhat) motivated to get more steps in if I'm tracking my progress.


I came up Obliger, but I haven't read my full profile, and based on some of the questions, it wouldn't surprise me if I'm an Obliger, with a big hefty side of Questioner. Analysis paraalysis? Oh, yeah.

(In some ways, I'm better at using the best parts of this to streamline my energy-usage as I get older: Why are we doing this? Does this need to be done NOW? In other ways, I have to combat it...sometimes by gathering all my info, then going with my gut. Not unlike looking at the pond to make sure there are no big branches or rocks or snakes...then just closing my eyes and leaping.)

The analysis paralysis might go with my Obliger tendencies, though. When faced with a list of Things I Need to Do vs. Things People Say I Should Do vs THings I Want to Do...I get tied in knots. The things I want to do often get pushed aside.

(I was able to break through a little wall on this a few Christmases ago, when I realized how badly my to-do list was stressing me out. I looked at it, and said, "Who am I doing this FOR?" and "Who SAYS I have to do this??"...and crossed half the things off, and felt a lot better.

There's still a risk there: the question of ""Who besides you will actually care if you don't get this item done?" is VERY useful when I'm trying to tease out how much pressure I'm putting on myself. But it also runs the risk of, you know, removing the things I might actually want to do, just because I want to do them. (Does a whole committee have to agree that this is a good thing to do? Or could my interest in it be enough?)

Once I read the descriptions of the different types I knew I would be an Obliger and I was right! I will bend over backward for someone else, but my own personal goals usually get set aside. Lately I've made good progress in making my personal down time more of a priority, but I'm still struggling with changing habits (eating, exercise) that only affect me. I've been thinking about this (beating myself up over) a lot lately. I'll have to read this book and see if there are changes/tips I can use to help me meet my goals.

Questioner. I'm not surprised in the least.

Habits vs goals: I feel comforted by habits. I hate setting goals - the analysis paralysis is so uncomfortably me.

I need outside accountability. I, too, trained for and ran a half-marathon (because my husband wanted me to) and then just stopped running. I did great at the gym when I had a personal trainer for 2 months...only attended sporadically when I started doing the program on my own. I'm on a break from my team due to an injury. I'll show up twice a week for 3-hour practices but can't seem to find the time to exercise on my own when I'm not going to practice.

Maybe I should look at this book.

Rebel. Not surprised, considering how many times I've told myself "I'm going to do X every day" and have failed, even though I really like whatever it is that I've attempted to do. The irony is that I'd really like to break out of bad habits or develop new ones -- it's just really hard for me not to engage in self-sabotage.

This quote was on her website concerning rebels, and I feel like I need to get it on a shirt: "You can’t make me, and neither can I."

I knew I was an obliger before I took the quiz, my results say I'm an obliger, absolutely no one who knows me is surprised.

Obligers can be great collaborators.

Now I need to go clean out that guest bedroom that I promised would be clean before the cleanliness-focused child gets home from camp tomorrow.

As a side note, I know Rubin is kind of the "happiness guru" du jour, and I wonder if it is a coincidence that on my to-read list is The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt, whose book The Righteous Mind I found so helpful last year. Hmm.

Questioner. Not surprised in the least. I practically live my entire life in analysis paralysis.

I have a hard time achieving the goals I set because I probably spending as much time thinking and analyzing efficiency and best practices as I do actually doing the thing. No, that's not true. I spent more time thinking about it than doing it.

So apparently I'm a rebel. Not sure what to do with that information now but it fits with my stubborn nature!

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