Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Four Categories of Rules Acceptance Behaviour

I was listening to Gretchen Rubin's podcast recently and was intrigued by how she brings certain perception out which makes people think.

For those who are not familiar with who she is, Gretchen is an author and researcher for psychological behaviour in her pursuit of finding optimal happiness either in marriage, family, solidarity and any point in time.

She calls herself a "happiness bully" which begets the idea of bullying people with happiness!! Awesome.

Her research on the four categories of rules acceptance is one of her more popular contributions to the society and we'll quickly link this later to who your personality is.

According to Gretchen, the four main personalities are broken down into:

  • Upholder - accept rules, whether from inner or outer. An upholder abides deadlines, follows orders and makes resolutions or targets in advance.

Upholder wake up and think, "What's on the schedule and the to-do list for today?" They're very motivated by execution, getting things accomplished. They really don't like making mistakes, getting blamed, or failing to follow through.

  • Questioner - questions rules and accepts them only if they make sense. They may choose to follow rules, or not, according to their judgement. They are a big time questioner and only follow rules they endorse.

Questioners wake up and think, "What needs to get done today?" They're very motivated by seeing good reasons for a particular course of action. They really don't like spending time and efforts on activities they don't agree with.

  • Rebel - flout rules. They resist control. Give a rebel a rule and the rebel will always want to do the very opposite thing.

Rebels wake up and think, "What do I want to do today?" They're very motivated by a sense of freedom or self-determination. They don't like being told what do to and will tend to do the opposite of what others usually did.

  • Obliger - accepts outside rules, but doesn't like to adopt self-imposed rule.

Obligers wake up and think, "What must I do today?" They're very motivated by accountability. They really don't like being reprimanded or letting others down by self-imposing on completion.

Where Does My Family Fits In?

This is very interesting because I look at my small family member of 4 and we are all exhibiting different personalities as described above, which is still amazing because we are still able to live harmoniously together so far and not yet to the point of strangling each other. Well, sometimes we do.

My eldest son who is currently 3 now is definitely a rebel personality. Not a rebel in the sense that every 3 year old kid is a monster on its own, but he does exhibits certain personalities that are quite unique on its own. For instance, regardless of anything that we recommend to him, he would go for the opposite end of that recommendation. When we ask if he would prefer a green straw, he took the black straw. And on another day when we ask if he would like a black straw, he would take green. He just wants the opposite of what we were suggesting to him.

When I told my parents the story, they told me I was like that too in the past, so like Daddy like son. Hands off to that.

My wife exhibits personality which is more of an upholder. She likes things to be planned in advance and follow rules that are being set. I can see impromptu appointments at times unrattled her a little bit, making her somewhat uncomfortable.

For myself, I am more of a questioner. I like to challenge the ideas of people, either at work or at home. I always feel that there was something more that could be justified or rethink before I can agree with it. Even if I do agree, I'd just like for us to think about the alternatives. This is precisely why I am on this journey that is different from the conventional wisdom of all holy grails - Study, married, get a job, work for retirement, and then die. Certainly not the way I see things.

At the end of the day, there's nothing wrong being one and not the other and what is important is understanding yourself and what you are lacking of and accepts that fact and improve on.

I'm curious to know which categories do most financial readers belong to.

What about yourself? Which category do you belong to?


  1. B,

    I had fun placing the 4 personalities to the bloggers we know!


    So obvious right?


  2. Hmmm.. Nice read! I think.. I belong more to the "Questioner" category. HAHA

    1. Hi Sleepydevil

      Good to know we exhibit same personality.

  3. I think I am a questioner .... lol in my head...

    1. Hi SI

      Wah another questioner.

      So many questioner then who is the abider, hmm...

  4. Hi B

    Can I enquire which software do you use for your technical analysis?

    With regards

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