Monday, January 25, 2010

Enneagram

I'm not the only one to be bored enough to do one of these today, but Britni's post piqued my interest so I figured why not. Not too surprisingly I came up as number 8 which is called "The Challenger."



In case you're wondering, an Enneagram is essentially a personality test. Each of the nine type profiles expresses a distinctive and habitual pattern of thinking and emotions (at least according to wikipedia).

Anyhoo, here's a discription of The Challenger:
Type Eight exemplifies the desire to be independent and to take care of oneself. Eights are assertive and passionate about life, meeting it head on with self-confidence and strength. They have learned to stand up for themselves and have a resourceful, "can-do" attitude. They are determined to be self-reliant and free to pursue their own destiny. Thus, Eights are natural leaders: honorable, authoritative, and decisive, with a solid, commanding presence. They take initiative and make things happen, protecting and providing for the people in their lives while empowering others to stand on their own. They embody solidity and courage, using their talents and vision to construct a better world for everyone depending on the range of the influence.

Most of all, Eights are people of vision and action. They can take what looks like a useless, broken-down shell of a building and turn it into a beautiful home or office or hospital. Likewise, they see possibilities in people, and they like to offer incentives and challenges to bring out people's strengths. Honor is also important to Eights because their word is their bond. When they say "You have my word on this," they mean it. Eights want to be respected, and healthy Eights also extend respect to others, affirming the dignity of whomever they encounter. They react strongly when they see someone being taken advantage of or treated in a demeaning or degrading manner. They will step in and stop a fight to protect the weak or disadvantaged or to "even the score" for those who they feel have been wronged. Similarly, Eights would not hesitate to give up their seat on the train to an old or sick person, but they would have to be dragged away bodily if anyone tried to make them give it up without their consent.

Nothing much about Eights is half-hearted. They have powerful feelings and drives and often have a major impact on the people around them—for good or for ill. Eights are more intense and direct than most, and they expect others to meet these qualities as well. Indirectness of any kind drives them crazy, and they will keep pushing and raising their energy level until they feel that others have sufficiently responded to them.

Their Hidden Side

Eights present a tough, independent image to the world, but under their bravado and layers of armor, there is vulnerability and fear. Eights are affected by the reactions of those closest to them far more than they want to let on. They often expect that others will dislike or reject them, and so they are profoundly touched, even sentimental, when they feel that someone they care about truly understands them and loves them. Eights may learn to harden themselves against wanting or expecting tenderness, but they are never entirely successful. No matter how tough, even belligerent, they may become, their desire for nurturance and connection can never be put entirely out of consciousness.

Healthy Eights combine their natural strength and energy with measured, insightful, decision-making, and a greater willingness to be emotionally open and available to others. They make loyal friends and will make any sacrifice necessary for the well-being of their loved ones. They feel no need to test their wills against others: they are so secure and grounded in themselves that there is no need to constantly assert themselves much less to control anyone else. Thus, they have greater inner peace themselves and can therefore be enormous sources of support and strength for others. Seeing that they can be a powerful source of blessings in others' lives fills Eights with a deep sense of fulfillment and a kind of benevolent pride in their ability to have a positive impact on the world and on others.

Social Eights: Gusto and Camaraderie (Ichazo's "Friendship")

Social Eights like to "live large," and as the name suggests, engage fully in the world. Friendship and loyalty are top values for them, and they are willing to make great sacrifices for the people and causes they care about. At the same time, they expect that others they have bonded with will be similarly loyal to them. (In this regard, they can resemble Sixes, although their energy is bigger and more direct than that of Sixes.) Often, Social Eights will gather a group of friends around them while unofficially acting as the chairperson of the group—the "king" or "queen." They enjoy conversation about sports, politics, rock music, or the latest events on their favorite soap opera—any subject in which they can boldly state opinions and get into debates about. Social Eights enjoy the banter and energy of a disagreement about such matters, and they are often surprised to learn that others can be hurt or overwhelmed by the force of their opinions. At such times, they may try to "tone themselves down," but they usually find this an uncomfortable compromise. More often, they seek out friends who they perceive as strong and independent, people who can take a bit of roughhousing and who will not be overwhelmed by them. Less healthy Social Eights have problems with making promises to people that they cannot always fulfil. Conning others, and exaggerating situations can become part of the picture.
Obviously not all of this is accurate, but there are a few things that really hit the mark. One is the statement about not being half-hearted. That’s true and anyone who has spent any time around me knows that I run hot/ cold. I love something or I hate it. Apathy really has no place in most of my life. Another is the sentence, “They often expect that others will dislike or reject them, and so they are profoundly touched, even sentimental, when they feel that someone they care about truly understands them and loves them.” That’s so true it’s kind of amazing.

I also really liked the sentence, “They feel no need to test their wills against others: they are so secure and grounded in themselves that there is no need to constantly assert themselves much less to control anyone else.” I ended up cutting out this paragraph since my post was getting too long, but I wanted to add it in since this is something I like to think about myself. Yes, I am very assertive but I am not controlling. (It’s a very important distinction in my opinion.) Lastly, I also related to the king or queen comment about social circles. This is something that I often do without trying. It’s just that I’m usually the one who makes the effort to get people together and that usually entails making the plans as well (though it has been a while). It’s not that I necessarily want to do it, it’s just that most people aren’t willing to take the initiative. I’m also often surprised by how sensitive people can be so, “they are often surprised to learn that others can be hurt or overwhelmed by the force of their opinions,” is especially true. Even though I try to be nicer and calmer, it just doesn’t last. I need friends with thick skins.

Beyond that I don’t really know how I feel about the “heroic” or “visionary” comments. That seems like a little much, but I guess its better then being labeled a sociopath or something. If you're itnerested you can take your own test here and discriptions of the different types can be found here.

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