Enneagram: type 9, mediator (personal capabilities, part 4)ΒΆ

Tags: personal, capabilities

From an ennegram intro: The Enneagram is mainly a diagnostic tool of one's emotional outlook on life. It will not cure one's problems, but may help point out their underlying fixations. It is also useful as a guide to how other people see the world differently. From browsing a few resources on the web, I get the impression that it is mostly used for self-help and that the scientific theory behind it needs some work. For an hour of browsing joy, I'd advise 9types.

To get right to the core: my type is number 9, "the mediator". The 9types website gives the summary "the withdrawn approval-seeker". The sentence I like most from the main description of type 9 is: Inertia is in fact a chronic problem for 9s, who often find it hard to get started on things. However, this inertia can also work to their advantage, because once started 9s can make slow-but-steady progress, becoming surprisingly relentless in their pursuits.

Getting started on my study. Just getting down to work. Major problem. It took me 9 years, but with a slow but steady progress I did finish it. I even went on to get a PhD. Even with kids running around the house.

One thing I also recognise: the distaste for conflict. If people start to irritate eachother, I often feel bad. I sometimes try to quiet the short-term irritation down. To this there is one exception. In a next entry in this personal capabilities series I'll describe my belbin teamroles. My strongest teamrole is "monitor", which means I have keen sense for major things that are wrong. If some decision in a group is really wrong or has some serious drawbacks, I'm known to say so and to oppose it. I was, for instance, one of the persons at the core of the most serious conflicts (solved, btw) at my former student club C.S.R.-Delft because something was wrong there. Somewhat out of character for a type 9!

A work-related comment that sounds mostly fitting: Relaxes in the absence of friction. Wants things to feel comfortable and to run without hassle. Wants the "job family" to get along. Has a deep desire to have good feelings on the job, between authority and employee. (From work).

For those who know the enneagram theory: I'm a 9 with a 1 wing.

The most benefit I got out of the enneagram theory is from a summary of callahan's "the enneagram for youth". It contrasts the way you probably behave when you're OK with the way you probably behave when you're a bit in the shit:

  • When a Nine comes to believe in its self-worth, it develops the freedom of expression and assertiveness of a healthy Three, the principles of a healthy One, the responsibility of a healthy Six, and the self-confidence of a healthy Eight. (Quote from callahan)
  • When a Nine retreats from the demanding world, it develops the panicky cowardice of an unhealthy Six, it fears failure like an unhealthy Three, becomes rigid like an unhealthy One, and turns angry like an unhealthy Eight. (Quote from callahan)

Not everything applies, but it was a help to recognise certain things.

To close this off, an example type 9: Eisenhower. To make the types more clear, many webpages include examples of well-known persons divided by type. For me, I'm not talking about Eisenhower-the-president as I don't know anything about that period. I'm talking about Eisenhower-the-general. Eisenhower is definitively not the best general of the second world war, someone like Erich von Manstein would kick his butt. But he was a great diplomatic general, coordinating the combined efforts of the US and the UK armies. Trying to keep both Patton and Montgomery more-or-less happy. Smoothing things. I'm still under the impression that the US-UK cooperation in the second world war was much smoother than the UK-FR cooperation in the first world war. So Eisenhower has a 9's inertia to keep on going, despite occasional setbacks, homefront pressures, a multi-national conglomorate of armies. And he's got the 9's desire to smooth things out.

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My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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