I’m An Obliger – And It’s Not What You Think

Isabell Brighton

I recently listened to an episode of the Rich Roll podcast with Gretchen Rubin and it is all about how you thrive and how you react to inner and outer expectations.

It is rare, that I fully follow or agree with guests on Rich Roll’s podcast, though they often give me something to think about that I didn’t know or hadn’t considered previously.

This podcast, however, really triggered something for me. I think it has to do with the fact that over recent years I noticed that I have often procrastinated or failed when it came to my personal goals, things I want to be doing. I don’t really have that issue when it comes to external expectations other express toward me (like in a professional setting). I know this is a very simplistic way of looking at this and there are many factors to consider, which the episode goes into, such as how your personality plays into that and how you make decisions, take actions and react.

However, I was intrigued. Gretchen talks about how she categorises people into four tendencies: Upholder, Obliger, Rebel, Questioner. To find out more about what that all means, you can read more here and also take the test to find out which tendency is your default state. It only takes a few minutes.

One person is obviously not always one thing and I have tendencies from all 4 types of tendencies mentioned in the podcast. In fact, when listening to the discussions, I swung between the Obliger and Upholder, but then sometimes am also a Questioner or a Rebel. I think it all comes down to recognising how you are most likely to behave and how you can use that default state to make it work for you.

A couple of things came to mind when I read through the different types and got my result. Working Out! I love to move, but since exercising is something I’d do just for me, I tend to put that expectation (or need) to the back of the pile and get on with other things that “must” be done. Whenever I do exercise, I find it a lot easier to do it with someone else (the many times I’ve nudged my husband to do HIIT workouts with me…) or I go to a class. For the past year, I’ve constantly tried to force my inner self to get on the mat or to do exercise by myself. I learned a few tricks along the way to make that work for me, but what I need more of is someone to workout together with (hence the personal trainer I paid for, which is not easy on the bank balance) or commit to classes. It doesn’t have anything to do with the fact I don’t want to go, but rather, that I don’t prioritise it or meet my inner expectations.

Another thing that helped me this year to do the things I want to do (and many pennies dropped whilst listening to the podcast) is this blog. It took me absolutely ages to decide to do it because I knew that when I do it, I want to be doing it regularly. The extrinsic motivator? Iron bloggers.

The same goes for my cards. I love doing them. I love being creative and get in the zone with some good music. BUT, it takes a lot of hard work to finally sit down and do it. What helps me stay true to my inner expectations? Me posting about it publicly and sharing what my plans are (and this doesn’t just apply to cards). I’ve had some feedback from friends and strangers and that helps me keep myself accountable to, in the end, keep at it. Once I am doing it and have produced another great animal, I am absolutely happy with what I’ve accomplished.

Anyways, I’d love to hear what tendency you find yourself in and if you recognise your default behaviour. Feel free to post some examples below with how your tendency blocked you or how you unblocked it.



  1. Christine
    8 October 2017

    Ha ha, I am a questioner, who would have thought that 😉

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