“One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.”
Today I sit down with New York Times bestselling author Gretchen Rubin to find out what happened when she asked a large number of people one singular question: how do you respond to expectations?
The answers led Gretchen to an epiphany — that four distinct human tendencies intrinsically underlie how each and every one of us approach our interior and exterior lives. Understanding your tendency changes how you perceive yourself and others. It informs better communication. It provides the structure to create better habits. And ultimately it serves to support the purposeful pursuit of the personal and professional life experience you most seek.
This is the terrain of today’s exploration.
A member of Oprah’s Super Soul 100 who was named one of the Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company, Gretchen is an über-author who has sold over 3 million books on the subject of habits, happiness and human nature. You may know Gretchen from her wildly popular blog, her runaway bestseller The Happiness Project*, or from one of her other many titles such as Happiness At Home* and Better Than Before*. An exploration of the aforementioned architecture of human motivation, Gretchen’s new book is entitled The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How To Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too)*.
When she isn’t writing, Gretchen hosts the wildly popular Happier With Gretchen Rubin podcast (along with her sister, TV writer Elizabeth Craft), awarded “Best Podcasts of 2015” honors by iTunes and named one of the “Best Podcasts of 2016″ by the Academy of Podcasters (I didn’t even know podcasting had an academy, but there ya go).
In addition, Gretchen is the creator of Better, a free mobile app that connects you with others to harness the Four Tendencies and create a better life.
This conversation is jam packed with super helpful amazing takeaways.
A former editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, we track Gretchen’s leap from high-powered lawyer to pursue a career in writing.
We talk about how her revelation about “expectations” led to The Four Tendencies, then unpack the specifics, tracking how these core archetypes can better inform our habits, our understanding of others and how we structure our professional and personal lives.
I learned a lot about myself in this one. In fact, Gretchen has already helped me reframe certain aspects of how I approach myself and others.
Final note: As you may recall, I put the word out a couple months ago in search of a partner to help create a visual arm to the work that I do. I think I found my guy. David Zammit, a young and talented photographer, editor and filmmaker from Malta, recently jumped aboard. Last week we posted a short film entitled Let’s Celebrate. Today we posted Where Do You Thrive? – a video that takes you behind the scenes of this very podcast. Our intention is to create at least a few videos every week. Soon we will be filming the entire podcast. For more, visit youtube.com/richroll. If you like what you see, it would mean a lot if you hit that subscribe button.
I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did having it.
Peace + Plants,
Listen, Watch & Subscribe
Large photo courtesy of David Zammit.
I want to personally thank everyone who responded to my podcast with Scott Harrison and donated to charity: water by joining The Spring. As of the date of this writing, the RRP community has collectively raised enough revenue to build 4 wells annually! Amazing. Inspired by your generosity, my company has decided to sponsor one well per year – so that makes 5 wells for 2017. But why not make it 10? For just $20-$40 in monthly donations (100% of which go directly to clean water projects), you can make an incalculable difference in countless lives by investing in a world where everyone has clean water. There is simply no better feeling than providing a basic, life-altering human right. To learn more and join, please visit The Spring at cwtr.org/richroll.com
Thanks to this week’s sponsors:
Boll & Branch: The first honest and transparent bedding company that only uses sustainable and responsible methods of sourcing and manufacturing. Go to BollandBranch.com today for $50 off your first set of sheets by typing in promo code “RICHROLL”.
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Background, Context & Reference
- Connect with Gretchen: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Linkedin
- Podcast: “Happier with Gretchen Rubin”
- App: “The Better App”: Harness the Four Tendencies framework to create a better life
- TEDxNewHaven | Gretchen Rubin – Five Half-Truths About Happiness
- NBC News: Peek Inside Happiness Guru Gretchen Rubin’s Office
- Oprah Winfrey Network: SuperSoul Sunday | Gretchen Rubin: 4 Secrets of Adulthood
- Oprah Winfrey Network: SuperSoul Sunday | Gretchen Rubin Shares 8 Personal Rules of Happiness
- Oprah Winfrey Network: SuperSoul Sunday | Why Reading Makes Gretchen Rubin “Deliriously Happy”
- TIME: How to Be a Rebel by Gretchen Rubin
- Parade: Happiness Expert Gretchen Rubin on the Four Tendencies and How They Shape Us by Gretchen Rubin
- Mind Body Green: The Answer To This One Question Reveals What Kind Of Person You Really Are by Gretchen Rubin
- Wall Street Journal: Gretchen Rubin’s Great Expectations by Alexandra Wolfe
- Forbes: Gretchen Rubin: How To Use The Four Tendencies To Improve Our Lives by Dan Schawbel
- Business Insider: Here’s why we’re often attracted to people with qualities that will drive us nuts down the road by Shana Lebowitz
- The Guardian: Want to be happier? First, work out if you’re an ‘upholder’ or a ‘rebel’ by Emine Saner
- Slate: Which Type Are You? Author Gretchen Rubin sorts people into four major personality types: Rebel, Obliger, Questioner, and Upholder by Mike Pesca
- Daily Mail: The 10-second personality test that can perk up your marriage: Is your other half a Rebel or an Obliger? by Louise Atkinson
- The Epoch Times: Book Review: “The Four Tendencies” by Gretchen Rubin by Barbara Danza
- The Times: What’s your personality type? Take the Gretchen Rubin test by Barbara McMahon
- 99U: Gretchen Rubin: The 4 Ways to Successfully Adopt New Habits
Notable People Discussed
- Chris Guilebeau: author, blogger, speaker, World Domination Summit founder and podcast guest
- Jonathan Fields: award-winning author, media-producer, entrepreneur and 2x podcast guest
- Dan Buettner: National Geographic Fellow, Blue Zones founder and NY Times bestselling author of The Blue Zones Solution*
- Elizabeth Craft: television screenwriter, coauthor of Flower*, producer cohost of the podcasts “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” and “Happier In Hollywood”
- Sandra Day O’Connor: first woman to serve as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Notable Books by Gretchen Rubin
- The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too)*
- Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits–to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life*
- Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life*
- The Happiness Project (Revised Edition): Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun*
- Forty Ways to Look at JFK*
- Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill: A Brief Account of a Long Life*
- Power Money Fame Sex: A User’s Guide*
- Profane Waste*
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy
- RRP #074: Leveraging Mindfulness To Change Your Life with Jonathan Fields
- RRP #250: Jonathan Fields’ Buckets For Living A Good Life
- RRP #282: Jessica Lahey On The Gift Of Failure
- RRP #247: The Art of Non-Conformity: Chris Guillebeau On Living an Unconventional Life & The Power of Divine Moments
- RRP #139: How To Live To Be 100+ (And Why You Should Invest In Adventure)
- RRP #243: Coach George Raveling Is The Mentor You Wish You Had
- RRP #267: Guru Singh: A Master Spiritual Teacher On The Power Of Cultivating Awareness To Awaken Your Highest Self
- RRP #253: How To Be A Minimalist: Joshua Fields Millburn On The Power Of Living Deliberately
- RRP #97: Dan Harris: How A Panic Attack On National TV Led To Meditation As The Path To Happiness
*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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