Have you ever thought about how you respond to others’ expectations of you, or your expectations of yourself? I have become very interested in this question since reading Gretchen Rubin’s books and listening to the weekly podcast she produces with her sister Elizabeth Craft.
One of the topics they ponder is how to discover the secret of making or breaking a habit. According to Gretchen, to change our habits we first have to figure out ourselves.
She explains it as follows:
“When we try to form a new habit, we’re setting an expectation for ourselves. Therefore, to change our habits, it’s crucial to understand how we respond to expectations.
We all face outer expectations (meet deadlines, observe traffic regulations) and inner expectations (stop napping, give up sugar).
To help us figure out how we respond to expectations, Gretchen has devised the “Four Tendencies” framework: Here’s a brief summary:
- Obligers. These are people who are fantastic at meeting outer expectations — for friends, loved ones, co-workers and so forth — but not as good as meeting inner expectations, or those they make of themselves. Knowing that other people are depending on them is what impels them to get things done. Most people are Obligers.
- Questioners. These people resist outer expectations until they are sure those expectations are valuable, worthy or fair. They tend to take a long time to make decisions because they’re busy crunching numbers or doing other research. However, questioners do well with inner expectations.
- Upholders. Upholders tend to meet both outer and inner expectations. Deadlines? Appointments? No problem. If you’re checking things off a to-do list every day, chances are you’re an Upholder.
- Rebels. They have a tendency to resist both outer and inner expectations. No one else can tell them what to do. Rebels are the smallest group in the framework.
As an Upholder, I have figured out a lot about myself, my family, friends and co-workers. And as a public relations professional who writes and blogs for Laurel Hill, a company dedicated to providing sustainable, hand crafted fiber arts tools, I couldn’t help attributing the Four Tendencies to different types of yarn crafters. Here’s my take on the Four Tendencies for Knitters and Crocheters:
You, fellow upholder, follow every knit or crochet pattern to the letter, purchasing all recommended yarns and tools on the materials list. You set a timeframe for completing each project, and you are adamant about working on only one project at a time no matter how much you yearn to start a new one in between.
Sweet, kind obliger – you also adhere firmly to directions but you never create a project for yourself. You are a serial gift giver – creating baby blankets and booties even for your most casual acquaintances. If you ever do make something for yourself it will only be because your knitting or crochet group holds you accountable until you do.
Why should I follow the pattern? Why would I use a #10 needle when a #13 needle will get the job done faster? How come I can’t make my own pattern? Wait a moment while I calculate the new measurements that will improve this. Our intrepid questioner will always think of a new and better way.
Don’t be surprised if there’s a project in progress and six more stashed in the closet in various stages of completion. Oh, wait – crochet hooks, who needs crochet hooks? I am going to use my fingers, or a giant novelty tool I just invented. And this project – I am going to do it from the bottom up rather than the top down – why? Because I feel like it!
Where do you fit in? Gretchen has created a short quiz so you can determine your tendency:
We would love to know how the quiz works out for you and how you demonstrate your tendency. It’s just for fun, but you might learn more about yourself and others close to you. Please share!
Happy Yarn Crafting from Laurel Hill!