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Last night at dinner I got into a conversation about enneagram types and realized I wasn’t entirely sure what my type is. Colin had a copy of The Essential Enneagram at home, so when we got in I started reading. I came to the conclusion that I’m either a 1 or a 5. The following descriptions of these types are from www.enneagraminstitute.com/.
Type 1 – “The Perfectionist” AKA “The Reformer”
Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their best: wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. Can be morally heroic.
Type 5 – “The Observer” AKA “The Investigator”
Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation. At their best: visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way.
I tended more toward 5, but then read this about the subtleties between them in The Essential Enneagram: “Perfectionists…are quite intense, suppress their desires, and seek to improve themselves and others, while Observers detach from feelings in order to protect themselves from being intruded upon and to conserve energy.” I am constantly trying to improve (whether through work, diet, book-learnin’, fitness) and absolutely encourage those around me to do the same. But suppress my desires? That’s something I hadn’t thought about. It could explain why I haven’t taken a proper vacation in a few years. I battle with feelings of guilt if I take too much time off (say, a week) and start to feel as though I’m missing out on things. Loss of control can be hard to stomach, especially when it comes to editing manuscripts and finalizing products—what am I missing out on that I could have made better? Given that, now I think I’m likely a 1.