A Sixes choice

Sixes are polarized against themselves. They second-guess themselves, either before or after most decisions. Menus need to examined and routes thought out, with style Six pitting one decision against another.
Then after the decision is made, they can go back and worry whether they made the right decision or not.
This relates to Sixes being phobic or counter-phobic. They can either freeze or take fast and furious action against their fear.

The choice of Fives

In one sense, style Fives make a cost analysis of a lot of decisions. They can operate out of a scarcity model (emotional, not financial), so they intuitively seek to find out if it will cost them time/money/emotional involvement. If we don’t make it too financial, but generalize a bit, they ask whether or not they can afford it. If/when Fives are stingy with time, affection or money, it is because of an inner economy that says they can’t meet the demand.

Four’s check

I’ve been writing about how Enneagram styles have a few basic polarity questions by which they evaluate or at least check for.
Style Four makes a quick estimation of whether or not a thing that presents itself to them as ordinary or special. Threes follow fashion to please the crowd. Fours don’t follow – they wear either last year’s or next year’s fashion, preferably next year’s. At least it will be different and probably highly individualistic. A Four will find a way to stand out – the the first place they look to stand out from the crowd is by checking to see if it is ordinary or in some way special.


When Style Threes act from their Enneagram style, they polarizing yes/no question they ask is whether it is efficient or not. The US is a Three-ish culture and the question usually asked first is,”Will it work?”
When Dick Cheney (not a 3)wanted to justify the lies and torture that were used to justify the Iraq war, he did so by saying “it worked.”
As Threes get healthier, they examine the long term consequences of doing what “works.” Work can’t only be defined mechanically, (the bomb worked) but in terms of consequences.


Last time I talked about the reflex responses we use to make decisions. Those reflexes are at the heart of our Enneagram strategy.
The reflex choice for style Two is to care or not to care. The caring here is about helping the other. Sometimes it is a choice between caring for myself or others, but often it is a choice of how much to care and what form it should take. Caring here means “caring for,” not choosing to be concerned or indifferent.

When a style Two wants to help but can’t, they may grow uneasy or feel guilty. The “sin” of style two is pride but it is not really the notion of arrogance that our culture means, it is the false belief that they do not have needs but the other person does. So when a style Two has to refrain from helping for any one of a dozen reasons, perhaps they could reflect on T. S. Eliot’s lines.

Teach us to care and not to care;
Teach us to sit still.

Bi polar

Well, Earth is bi-polar, so I guess it is not surprising that we are, too, and that our Enneagram style uses a lot of bi-polar thinking to make our minds up about things.
A case could be made that every style has point of departure that is polarized. It’s part of the way we simplify life in order to make it manageable. Ever notice how people, when they talk about a decision, they begin with the phrase, “well,that’s a non-starter for me.” When they say that, they mean, “I have some things that conflict with the starting point of my Enneagram style.” (Our Enneagram style is not the only “starting point” however. Politics provides many examples of other starting points.)

Let’s start with style Ones. They use, as their simplification tool, right or wrong. Before any other considerations –cost, convenience, elegance — whatever, They have to establish whether or not something is right or wrong.


I live in Kansas City and our Royals baseball team just won the world series. The mood of the city is euphoric. The exuberance of good will is instructive. Everyone in KC somehow feels they share in the event. The feeling of belong to something greater than your individual little self is a tonic to be reckoned with – and learned from.

A traditional definition of sin was “curved back in our self” and the definition of love was “self-diffusion” (that’s a bit awkward translation but it means spreading your energy outward). An example would be your own observation that when someone is in love they tend to love everyone else a bit more, too.

All Enneagram styles are experiences of deprivation. I don’t have enough of ____________ depending on our style. Ultimately it is not enough love, but our Enneagram habits look for love in the same places. Eights assume if they have power they will gain love (people hate wimps) and Fives assume if they have enough information they will be content and lovable. (people hate stupid people).

But when your team wins, then everyone loves. At least four of the baseball players could be elected mayor tomorrow. 300-400,000 people will cheer the team in a parade. Crime will go (has gone) down, the only criterion for acceptance is a blue Royals shirt – the town is bathed in joy. Because we are part of something bigger than ourself.