Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Exploring Personality: Part Nine -- "I want it all!" (an IWM post)

"I want the world. I want the whole world... Give it to me now." -- Veruca Salt
Enneagram types 5, 6, and 7 make up the intellectual triad of the Enneagram. These types are data based. They are information gatherers. They tend to react to situations from a more rational viewpoint, especially when compared to the emotional triad (types 2, 3, and 4). Where other types, when asked why they did something, may say, "I don't know," the intellectuals can almost always tell you exactly why they made the decision they made and hand you the numbers to back it up. Their emotional center is fear; gathering information and making informed decisions is a way of combating that fear. The intellectuals are also attracted to ideas and ideals; relationships are less important and can sometimes be a means of achieving other objectives.

The Epicure

Also known as the Enthusiast, the Seven is best known for her pursuit of pleasure. Her enthusiastic pursuit of pleasure, because Sevens rarely get involved in activities without throwing themselves in all the way. However, this can sometimes resemble throwing yourself into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim.

The Enthusiast is the more common name given to Sevens, but I prefer Epicure. So here's a brief history lesson:
Epicurus, the Greek philosopher, believed that the pursuit of pleasure was the greatest good. That's a bit misleading, though, because he defined "pleasure," basically, as the absence of pain and fear. He really wasn't promoting the kind of hedonism the idea is attached to these days. Epicurus believed in a sparse and tranquil life, not the kind of behavior we associate with Sevens, today. BUT! The motivation that drives Sevens in their pursuit of pleasurable experiences is, actually, to get away from negative experiences. That's an important distinction.

Of course, it's a distinction that Sevens are not always conscious of as the knowledge of their avoidant behavior is in-and-of itself a painful thing to confront.

Because even boredom (often especially boredom) is a painful experience for Sevens, they tend to be spontaneous. Or what looks like spontaneous from the outside. The truth is that a Seven's mind is always working and planning and looking ahead to the future and what kinds of things they can do to occupy themselves. This is why they are in the thinking triad. They tirelessly collect data, often becoming instant experts on subjects, so that they can better formulate their plans for the future. To everyone else, this looks like a person who, while in the middle of doing some often highly anticipated event, suddenly wants to take off and do the next thing: spontaneous. But for the Seven, who has planned all of it out in her head in exquisite detail, it's not spontaneous at all. In fact, a Seven can frequently have a very negative response to spontaneous ideas from other people if they don't fit into the plans she's already made. Sevens also respond poorly to being told "no" about pretty much anything they've developed in their minds, whatever the reason. At that point, the person saying "no" becomes one of those negative aspects of life to be avoided.

Sevens are "life of the party" kind of people and are most often extroverts, delighting in being the center of attention. They promote fun experiences for everyone around them and are frequently leading the charge to some new activity. As such, they have a problem with follow through. As soon as an activity becomes repetitive or routine, they are ready to move on to the next thing. Because they are such good planners, though, they can be highly efficient at getting routine work out of the way. Or of coming up with inventive ways of getting around it. However, they can find it soul-killing when stuck in situations where are they are forced to do uninteresting, repetitive labor.

Sevens are especially prone to addictive behaviors of all sorts, especially when "stuck" in situations from which they feel they have no escape. Rather then face their own negative emotions, they can become critical and abusive toward those around them, highlighting others' negative qualities. When allowed to freely express their wide range of passions, though, they can become experts in many different areas and become an unemptying fountain of ideas.

It should be noted that Sevens make up a fairly small portion of people, one of the smallest personality types. It should also be noted that Sevens are much more frequently men.


  1. Jeez I've been gone too long! Here I find this super interesting post in part nine?! Now I have to not only click the link for the history lesson, I have to back track and read the previous eight posts! Unless this 'part nine' is some kind of ploy, like 'Monty Python's Big Red Book in Hardcover', which was published in softcover and blue....hmmm...that was probably before your time...why am I still talking?! I've got reading to do!

  2. Of course I'm headed over to read. I participated in that hop last year, but after my blog tour, I'm a little hopped out. Maybe next time.

    Unleashing the Dreamworld

  3. Eva: No ploy. And, actually, because there was one part that wasn't part of the numbering, it's really part 10. I hope you enjoy the series!

    Crystal: No problem. But maybe you should get a pogo stick?

  4. Sevens are maddening for those of us who thrive within structure. I've known plenty.

  5. TAS: That they are, but they look on that as a good thing.