I watched a baseball game during which the announcers described the type of player, usually outfielders, who can hear a single “boo” amidst all the cheering of loyal fans not far from them. They described this as having “rabbit ears.” He is most likely a style 6. Sixes sort for what can and will go wrong and are very sensitive to the group’s opinion. A Six would be the most likely Enneagram style to pick up a negative among the cheers.
Our Enneagram style is our default position. If we don’t do what the situation requires for us to get what we really want, we spontaneously act our Enneagram style.
Our Enneagram style is a nano-second interpretation of information and an habitual response to that information. On a physical level, if you’re walking and twig snaps behind you, you instantly turn. Before you turned, you interpreted the sound as a possible danger. On an emotional level, if we hear a certain tone of disapproval from someone, we make a “snap” judgment about how we’re going to interpret and respond to that tone.
Therefore: when we are in a hurry, we go with our fastest processes. When we are in a hurry, we don’t consider a lot of options: we do what we usually do, we do what our Enneagram pattern has practiced. So when we are in a hurry, we are most apt to act spontaneously, habitually, out of our Enneagram style.
Adrianna Huffington’s new book, Thrive is a wholesale rejection of the style Three culture of the modern workplace. She says things like
The Western workplace culture–exported to many other parts of the world–is practically fueled by stress, sleep deprivation and burnout.
Our current notion of success, in which we drive ourselves into the ground, if not the grave–in which working to the point of exhaustion and burnout is considered an honor-was put in place by men in a workplace dominated by men. (She argues the current situation is much harder on women than men).
American industrial culture is protective coloration for the problems style Three face. Workaholism is not even listed as a neurosis in the thick DSM5 (the book that lists what problems the insurance company will pay a therapist to fix). All the other Enneagram styles have a loose correlation with recognized mental and emotional problems. Working yourself to death is not considered abnormal.
Huffington is a bit preachy for some tastes, but I highly recommend Thrive for anyone who is a style Three.
My only criticism of the book is that there isn’t much mention of the terrible stress that people at the bottom face whether they want to or not. She writes as though overwork is a choice only high-power high achievers face.
Cogito, ergo sum. (Latin for “I think, therefore I am.) Descartes, a famous style Five based much of his philosophy on that conviction. As a Five, he would experience his most vivid emotions in reflective thought, not in immediate experience.
Although I am a practicing Seven, I have two connections to Five, one on the Enneagram diagram and the other a gift from my father, a strong Five.
Coming home from vacation we went through a double cell of storms in Iowa. We white-knuckled through the rain for 10 miles, devoutly following a semi truck with his flashers on. We couldn’t see the road, but we could see him. Then we pulled off at a rest stop to ride out the storm. The wind rocked our car so hard we feared tipping. That evening, safely in Des Moines, we watched the TV announcers excitedly display hail stones the size of golf, base and soccer (!) balls. Winds, we were told were 127 MPH.
I was fairly calm during the drive, focused on the flashing lights. The next day I was terrified and I’m still having trouble getting the experience out of my mind.
Like a good style Five, I will replay the experience and it will be more vivid in my mind than it was the first time.
And I’m firmly convinced it was a style Five who invented the instant replay on television. It’s just what Fives do.
Rita Carter, in her book, Mapping the Mind, asserts that “Emotions are not feelings at all, but a set of body-rooted survival mechanisms that have evolved to turn us away from danger and propel us toward things that may benefit us.”
Let’s assume that’s right. If so, then one of the best things we can do to modify emotions we don’t want is to take superb care of our body. When I wrote “You’re Fat, Your Fault” with Dr. Smith, I was impressed how completely he assumed that we self-medicate with food. We know that exercise gives us those nice endorphins runners rave about, but we don’t pay enough attention to the emotional dimension of eating. We can modify the expression of our Enneagram style with what and how and with whom we eat.
I’m back from vacation. Whilst idling, I saw the movie, Nebraska, which is so slow-moving you forget the first third by the time the last third shows up. It looked to this Dakota-born child that it was made by a group of Easterners who think the Midwest is a reserve for dismal, not-too-bright, old, rednecked and greedy geezers.
However, as an Enneagram student, I saw that the wife of the old man is a clear portrayal of an Eight. She is vulgar, confrontational and loud, but she is also a mama bear protecting those she loves and at times is sweet and lovable.
My vacation trip confirms my fears of climate change. I was trapped in a 100 mile storm in Iowa. I sought refuged in a rest area and learned that I just missed the place that had hail the size of baseballs and a few soccer-sized ones which were delivered by a 125 mile straight-line wind.
But today the sun is shining…and it is the coldest July 2nd in the history of Kansas.