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Who are you? Does an Enneagram test help or confuse?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 28 May 2012, 17:39

Enneagram Test Results type score summary

Fives are basically on some level estranged from the rest of the world, consequently, their mind is usually their best friend.

They like to analyze things and make sense of them (that is their anchor), this makes them great inventors and philosophers. The immense inner world of fives can cause them to lose touch or interest in reality.

Sevens are optimistic thrill seekers that see life as an adventure.

They are always thinking of new possibilies and adventures. This constant zest for life is often just escapism. Once things lose there fun they are no longer interested, so many projects go unfinished. Essentially, they avoid the difficulties of life because they fear being overwhelmed by them.

Fours are all about being unique and creating their own distinct culture.

They experience the highs and lows of life more intensely than other types. This makes them great creative forces (artists, writers, filmmakers). Fours often feel like misplaced children, and they long for a sense of real family.

Ones are idealistic perfectionists.

They are rooted in morals and ethics. They live with an overbearing internal critic that never rests. They can be very judgemental and don't understand how most people can be such slackers. Other people don't understand why they are so uptight.

Threes derive self worth from success in the external world.

They are highly skilled at adapting themselves in whatever way necessary to achieve success.

This external success driven image often comes at a price of having a personal identity and they may lose site of who they really are.

Twos are defined by their empathy of other people.

They are uniquely gifted at tuning in on the feelings of others. This makes them great networkers. They feed on their connection to others, love of friends and family. However being too caught up with other people can drain them, and cause them to lose track of their own personal well being.

Sixes are defined by anxiety.

They are gifted in their ability to see the dark and light sides of life (and of people and situations around them). This insight into possible outcomes makes them useful planners. However since they are never sure what will prevail they are always on edge and cling to predictable structures/systems for peace of mind.

Eights are natural leaders.

They are straight forward, direct, large personalities, that are unlikely to back down to adversity. They have a talent for motivating others. They have a strong sense of justice and are often protectors of the weak. However, they also have short fuses and can become domineering tyrants.

Nines are open minded optimists.

They are able to see everyones point of view, and have a natural desire for making peace. Consequently, they are effective mediators. They often live by the 'go along to get along' creed. However their openess to other people can cause them to lose site of themselves and their own happiness. Traditionally, the personality type you score highest on is considered your Enneagram type, so you are a:

(In truth, you are a combination of all the personality types so examine all your scores.)

And there is a difference between WHO you are and HOW you behave, especially if you behaviour has been modified by NINE years of boarding prep and public school, a virtually all male university college (Balliol College, Oxford in the 1980s).

And Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that I have used to undo and reknit who I am and want to be.

What can you share?

I come from a family where the person who goes to work is not the person at home, where lives are distinct.

Or were meant to be.

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Innovators to Laggards ... I do wonder.

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'What makes people despair is that they try to find a universal meaning to the whole of life, and then end up saying it is absurd, illogical, empty of meaning.’ (Anais Nin, Journals Vol 1)

Whilst Roger’s categories may be his view of people on an historical landscape of invention they are a simplification - wherein lies our first dilemma - to open our minds to the nature & possibilities of e.learning we need to find a way to engage with its complexity.

We could each come up with our own equally valid descriptors and argue our case.

What is more, there is an in-built bias to these terms: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority & laggards. With ‘laggards,’ perhaps like ‘Luddites’ pejoratively considered to be of less worth than the ‘innovators.’

Or not?

Ideas sell. So does innovation. I know from experience. As the inventive one  - the team needed a salesperson. (an early adopter) and a business manager (very much in the late majority verging on being a laggard). A new business, that if successful may prove an innovation works, is like a pop group, made up of an assortment of band members. An innovator alone is like the nutty profession, Mr Brainstorm or from 'Back to the Future', Dr Emit Brown & his ‘flux-capacitor’ that drove his time machine. Does not the innovator sell to the early adopter? What is the point in tryin to sell to the laggard? And what role does the market play for innovations? In advertising we talked of 'preaching to the converted.' In relation to innovative products, you need to be selling to those who are already or are prone to 'buy in' to the new technology, software or service.

Roger’s is surely just one set of stepped criteria, we could as readily differentiate between:

  • various levels of success & failure,
  • between risk takers vs & the risk averse
  • between the foolish & considered
  • between experimental vs experiential
  • between novelty vs tried & tested


And each or any of these could be researched, charted, put on maps and shared as annotated demographic pyramids.

As Mel Brooks put it in relation to writing:

'Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him.'

All Rogers has done is to give some characters types separate terms.

Aptly, from the world of writing fiction (novels, screenplays) there are the terms ‘protagonist’ & ‘antagonist.’ I wonder if in a screenplay that incorporated characters from Roger’s terms by implication the ‘protagonist’ is the innovator, while the ‘antagonist’ is the laggard. And do you know what, it is the conflict between the two that generates innovation, the one trying to prove themselves right, the storyline in which the ‘early adopters,’ ‘early majority,’ ‘late majority’ & ‘laggards’ literally buy into the service or produc

... or not?

Where else have we been grouped & bunched?

In ‘Sloane Rangers’ Peter York defined a group form Chelsea, a dress sense and background, a typical mode of behaviour and in newspapers at the time other socio-economic groups were dwelt upon and picked up by what they wore and how they spoke.

Labels are used to bully

Would you like to be called a ‘laggard;’ over an ‘innovator.’ Coming out of advertising I am used to those in what we called ‘planning’ categorising customers in all manner of ways to suit the product, the client & the moment. 

In 2001 I took an Enneagram Test and came out as a FIVE.

“Fives are basically on some level estranged from the rest of the world, consequently, their mind is usually their best friend. They like to analyze things and make sense of them (that is their anchor), this makes them great inventors and philosophers. The immense inner world of fives can cause them to lose touch or interest in reality."

http://similarminds.com

Instead of innovators and laggards these ‘tests’ gave you a number. I am not a number, or a term. I’d like to think of myself as something more complex, wouldn't you? As Anais Nin puts it, we are each a book:

‘There is not one big, cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.‘ (Anais Nin, Journals Vol 1)

It is from this complexity, this individualisation (if you must) and tapping into it, that innovation results, and where e.learning innovation is heading. Which is why I am here.

'What's new about new media? Not much!'

So I wrote a decade ago when briefing a team of communications managers from ABB on the use of the web.

What seems innovative today, may not seem so innovative tomorrow. Indeed, is it still innovative once it has become familiar and every day? And might one way of determining when something is no longer innovative when it is adopted by the ‘laggards.' Crystal sets became the wireless that in turn became the radio. carphone, becomes mobies (cellphones), then smart phones (and iphones).

Nearly a decade ago a group of ‘innovators’ met at Sussex Net Ventures. (Tuesday 19th September 2000) At this event hosted by Wired Sussex, Hugh Griffiths of iTouch said there would be

“No killer application but a killer cocktail.”


hugh.griffiths@itouch.com

This cocktail, to result in innovation, requires a team that includes a cross-section of those ‘labelled’ by Rogers: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority & laggards.

What makes an innovator?


Why do they stand out? Because they are passionate? Persuasive? Determined? Imaginative? Entrepreneurial? Well educated? Moneyed? All of these things, or none of them.

And why are there so few of them? Henry Miller puts in well in ‘Tropic of Cancer.’

“What distinguishes the majority of men from the few is their inability to act according to their beliefs."

Who can deny the self-belief of Bill Gates? Or Tim Berners-Lee?


Innovators believe in what they are doing. Whether they are successful (and how you measure or determine success is another matter).

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