Type 8

Too similar

 Does anyone remember this  commercial  for ABC laundry detergent from the 80's?  Someone always said the line, "I can't see a difference, can you see the difference?"

Does anyone remember this commercial for ABC laundry detergent from the 80's?  Someone always said the line, "I can't see a difference, can you see the difference?"

Someone in my Facebook Enneagram Type 4 group asked how other Fours dealt with people who are constantly reminding them of how much they were similar.  She said she had a friend who was always pointing out their similarities.  My first guess is because this poster is a Four, that the other person is too.  Generally people who are the same personality type aren't super attracted to each other- they'll be polite, but there's nothing to project onto, so on an egoic level, they're just taking up each others' space.  Especially because they're both image types, they're fighting for the same response from others- and from each other, which makes conversation a bit stilted.  

The question reminded me of when I went to my first Enneagram workshop at the Enneagram Institute, and I met a Type 8 who said that by the middle of the week, all the 8's were evenly spaced out along the room- they were all defending their territory; none of them wanted to get close to each other.  I mean, this is a generality- the same type can be attracted to each other sometimes, and even marry.  At my second Enneagram workshop, I met two married couples who were composed to two Fours each, and that is a rare combination among married couples of the same type.  There aren't many 4-4 couples.

The other night I went out for drinks with another Four and I tried to be aware of my tendency to point out our similarities.  He didn't know the Enneagram and I was trying to just let him be, trying to be non-reactive to my craving to jump in and do a Type Four intervention on his life.  Fours especially need to feel unique, and nobody likes being put in a box- they want to feel like the other person is being present to their whole self, not just the characteristics that are consistent with the archetype.  I took it as an opportunity to see what triggered me.   We don't like being reminded of our shortcomings, and when we see them in another one of our kind, we want to push them away or "help them change".  I think the only way to learn to get along with someone with the exact same personality as you is to learn to love yourself. 

I love it when I'm wrong

My grade 12 English teacher, Mr. Koldingnes told us once that when new students walked into his classroom every September, he formed opinions about each of us within the first week- on the first day even.  He was a SP/SX 8, and of course 8's know everything right away apparently, but whatever, all of us form opinions super fast.  "But," he said, smiling and smacking his meter stick on a desk in front of him, "I love it when

Waking up Angry

I once heard someone say that Type Eights wake up angry.  I thought since that's a pretty core emotion for the Eight, the other types must wake up to their go-to emotion too, so I decided to see if I, as a Four, woke up melancholic. 

Of course, nobody wakes up immediately feeling a certain emotion.  There's that timeless ethereal white space first thing between sleeping and waking where you're processing your dreams and you just want to stay like that forever, unaware of who and where you are.  And then you remember you have a meeting that day, or something jolts you awake and suddenly, your regular thought patterns shoot back into place.  As your psyche fishes for its ground, it must grab what feels the most familiar. 

My first thoughts aren't always necessarily about melancholic things (?), like let's say my first emotion is anxiety, but I'll settle into a melancholic feeling about the anxiety.  Sometimes I'll just have to take a look at the heavy feeling that's settled over me and say, "Hey!  What happened there?  I was feeling so good before!" and the awareness shooes the clouds away....

Type 8s

There are nine personality types in the Enneagram.  This is my very quickly jotted, bullet-point form description of an 8.  They're my favorite type as they're exactly the opposite of my type.  I love their directness, big heartedness, charm, and confidence, although they're also one of the most feared types because they can use their big energy to intimidate people-- consciously and unconsciously.

Basic Fear: Of being harmed or controlled by others

Basic Desire: To protect themselves (to be in control of their own life and destiny)
— Enneagram Institute
  • They're the most transparent in their motives, direct, and the simplest to understand (and they wouldn't be offended to hear me say that).  You don't have to read between the lines to know what they want.  They will tell you, as well as how you can help them (unless they're a Self-Pres 8, in which case they won't tell you- they'll just go and get it).
  • They like to do things BIG because they're unconsciously defending themselves against feeling small and vulnerable inside.
  • They will avoid any situation that will have them be dependent on someone- either romantically, financially, physically, or any other way.
  • Don't allow themselves to feel "weak" emotions like embarassment, sadness, or fear.  Their driving motivation is to toughen themselves up against any inner weakness they might perceive in themselves.  Their go-to emotion is anger, as it's the most accessible.
  • They love intensity.  Intensity makes them feel alive.  Depending on level of their EQ, they may use drugs, alcohol, strong coffee, caffeinated tea, sex, loud music, shock value or anything that will maintain a certain level of intensity.  Lack of intensity feels like death.
  • Physically: sometimes have a square jaw, belly is often the first to gain weight, often quite strong and/or stocky, or at least mesomorphic build.
  • "Natural leaders".  Often asked to take the lead, and they shoulder the responsibility quite seriously.  At work, they can quite often be in your face, hustling people for reports, confrontational, protective of their interests or employees, depending on what kind of 8 they are, not afraid to tell the truth, even if it offends (and for those with lower EQ, especially if it offends). 
  • In search of the truth and what feels "real".  Disdain for fluff, weakness, cowards, tears, new age shit, decorum, foreplay, tofu, and sometimes their own clothes, anything that's covering up or separating them from "Reality", or "The Truth". 
  • Need to be in control in order to be able to relax.
  • The least complicated defence mechanism: denial. 
  • Energy comes from the gut, the centre of action.  Often act now, think later (Less so Self-Preservation 8's who are very calculating about getting what they want.)
  • If you want them to stop doing something, you have to tell them, "stop doing this thing."  Sometimes it helps to put your hand out in front of you.  Anything that's direct and clear.  They love people who can match their energy and push back.  They don't like realizing after the fact that they've bowled someone over, especially a loved one.
  • Narrative of their life revolves around defending their territory, whether that be physically, financially, academically, relationship-wise, etc.  In that sense, they're the best kind of friend to have.  They think most fundamentally in terms of us vs. them, and you want to be on their side.  They derive their value from protecting those they love and being a pitbull toward anyone on the "outside"....
  • ...Therefore also often called a "big teddy bear"
  • Blame others when things go wrong. (again, the source of evil is outside them)
 The Beast is a Type 8.  If you want an Eight to do something for you, just ask!  They get their sense of self-worth by being protectors of those in their charge.  But don't ask them to be vulnerable until they're 100 PERCENT ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN it will be safe to do so.

The Beast is a Type 8.  If you want an Eight to do something for you, just ask!  They get their sense of self-worth by being protectors of those in their charge.  But don't ask them to be vulnerable until they're 100 PERCENT ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN it will be safe to do so.

 Donald Trump is a Type 8.  He wants to keep refugees out of America because in order for his inner Type 8 Protector narrative to work, there has to be a bad guy to protect against, and the refugees are the most obvious "enemies".  It doesn't matter if he's right to create this polarization or not, it's what's convenient to his getting into power (Low EQ).

Donald Trump is a Type 8.  He wants to keep refugees out of America because in order for his inner Type 8 Protector narrative to work, there has to be a bad guy to protect against, and the refugees are the most obvious "enemies".  It doesn't matter if he's right to create this polarization or not, it's what's convenient to his getting into power (Low EQ).

 Type 8's are always innocent- it's you with the problem.  The sound of a Type 8 appologizing is like the sound of a tree falling in a forest when there's no one there.

Type 8's are always innocent- it's you with the problem.  The sound of a Type 8 appologizing is like the sound of a tree falling in a forest when there's no one there.

 Here's what a Type 8 looks like when they focus their energy and accomplish something transcendental beyond his own personal goals.  Although I mean, apparently he was a womanizer and had his issues.   But still.  Good example here of a big-hearted, generous Type 8 who sacrificed himself for a greater cause.

Here's what a Type 8 looks like when they focus their energy and accomplish something transcendental beyond his own personal goals.  Although I mean, apparently he was a womanizer and had his issues.   But still.  Good example here of a big-hearted, generous Type 8 who sacrificed himself for a greater cause.

 Type 8's are not afraid to throw things if that will release their pent up anger.  (Russell Crowe famously threw a phone at a hotel employee).  After they've blown off steam, they come back to homeostasis fairly quickly, but then they wonder why everyone is seething at them.

Type 8's are not afraid to throw things if that will release their pent up anger.  (Russell Crowe famously threw a phone at a hotel employee).  After they've blown off steam, they come back to homeostasis fairly quickly, but then they wonder why everyone is seething at them.

 Type 8's don't want anything holding them back, not even their underwear.

Type 8's don't want anything holding them back, not even their underwear.

Science and Mysticism: We Need An Interdisciplinary Approach to Life

It turns out that Neil deGrasse Tyson has some pretty strong views on astrology.

Last week I was watching an interview that he did at SXSW last year, and something he said jumped out at me.  The interviewer was Christie Nicholson, a contributing editor of Scientific American Magazine.  She was reading him some stats from the National Science Foundation's 2014 Science and Engineering Indicators (a national survey that's been done every year for over 30 years) to get a reaction from him about what he thought of the state of scientific literacy in the US. 

Warmly regarded as "the peoples' astrophysicist", Dr. DeGrasse Tyson is a big advocate for scientific education for children so they don't fall prey to pseudoscience, and he and American creationists often get at each other's throats over how the universe came to be.  So because creationism contradicts science, I'm not defending the former, but Christianity does tend to get lumped in with astrology and other mystic traditions when his discussions turn to pseudoscience.

Anyway, one of the stats Nicholson used to build a case that America was still highly illiterate in science was that more than 40% of Americans see astrology as highly scientific.  Which is a crazy stat when you think about it.  Astrology is so not mainstream, or acceptable to bring up in conversation in almost any public context besides dates, yet more than 40% of Americans think it's "highly scientific"  I don't know what the definition of "highly scientific" is, as opposed to just normally scientific, but I will say that anyone who has ever had their birth chart read  is blown away with the accuracy of the readings, and after having mine read, and I've spent hours and hours dissecting mine lately, I can't say enough about the value of having it read. 

In my opinion-- and the Greek philosophers agree with me here, so I think I'm in good company-- if you don't know yourself, your knowledge that you've accumulated is dust in the wind.  "Know Yourself" was incribed in one of the pillars at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, which forms the basis of the Western tradition itself.  Science came later with Aristotle's drive for objectivity and logic, but Aristotle was definitely informed in his studies by the Delphic Oracle: "Knowing thyself is the beginning of all wisdom", he said.  I don't want to be put in a position of having to defend astrology, as it's the Enneagram that's my first love, but I mean, the West does have a fascinating mystic tradition that deeply informs us about our nature as human beings, as well as a scientific tradition that is just as honorable, but gets all the attention.  Both, in my opinion, need to share the spotlight. 

Until there's a marriage between science and mysticism, the West will continue to struggle with terrorism, global warming, racism, and disease.  We not only need more informed people, we need wiser people who are self-aware and emotionally intelligent to solve these problems. 

DeGrasse Tyson's rejection of astrology in his discussion at SXSW reminds me that he's an Enneagram Type 8, one of the dominant traits of this type being skepticism and a categorical dismissal of anything that appears weak of "fluffy", and it just shows what you can miss out on when you're identified with the personality.  In essence, he's proving his own point that when you don't know the facts, you're subject to being led astray.  Astrology, the Enneagram, whatever: the whole Western mystic tradition helps you come home to yourself.  Knowing astrophysics without knowing yourself is cool for a while until life comes crashing down on your personal life or whatever kind of mid-life crisis elicits your soul-searching.  (By the way, I love DeGrasse-Tyson and have a TON of respect for what he does.  I just wish we saw eye-to-eye on this subject, and I don't wish him any crises- I just hope he has ears to hear when life does throw him a curve ball.)

I'm proud that my course offers both scientific lenses on the self (astronomy and neurobiology) and mystic lenses on the self: Astrology, the Enneagram.  Both are crucial for a integrated view on the world.  It is going to blow some minds, people.  I'm very excited.

Making Decisions from the Gut

A friend of mine is trying to make one of the biggest decisions of her life right now: when and where to retire.  She could retire where she feels comfortable and where she's got her circle of friends, or in Eastern Canada where her children are.  Understandably, she's torn- how do you choose between the two? 

Last night, we talked about making decisions with the head, heart, and gut, and how they each have different voices, speeds, and energies.  The head and the heart tend to come up with the logic, math, and reasoning,  and the dream, vision, and the aching respectively.  The gut is the centre of action.  It recognizes opportunity or danger and springs the body into action. 

Everyone operates primarily from one of the centres, has secondary access to another, and has trouble getting in touch with the third.  So for example, you could be a head type, a heart type, or a gut type and be completely literate in that centre's vocabulary, but then you could have real difficulty deciphering what one of the other centres is saying, which can have you unconsciously flying in long, slow circles over the bird sanctuary of your life with a clipped wing for years on end. 

  Jim Treliving .  Image from CBC.ca

Jim Treliving.  Image from CBC.ca

Jim Treliving is a Canadian entrepreneur and investor, known as the RCMP officer-turned-owner of the international Boston Pizza franchise and now a fixture on CBC's the Dragon's Den (like the US' Shark Tank).  He's possibly a lusty, gut-driven, tough yet self-effacing Enneagram Type 8w9 (although I'm not positive on that), but one thing is clear in reading his book Decisions- he accesses his gut to make decisions over and over again in his business deals.

 

My RCMP training taught me the most crucial business lesson there is: Always do something.  That's the one thing that sets successful people apart from not-so-successful people-- the ability to actually make a decision.  Unsuccessful people freeze in the face of choice.  Why does this happen?  It's fear of the unknown that keeps us stuck.  Or fear of making the wrong decision.  Sometimes it's easier to continue doing things the old, familiar way, even if that way is all wrong.  But a big change will take you to a whole new place in business, and in life.

Joanne Wilson, an entrepreneur with a powerful presence whose gut decisions have served her well.

At a workshop a few years ago with Enneagram teacher Ginger Lapid-Bogda, she had a participant come up to the front who was trying to make a major decision in her life.  This woman - a heart type- was trying to decide whether or not to pursue her passion by opening a Body Shop-type of business.  The purpose of the exercise was to "hear" from all three centres, and she was to put her hands on each of the three centres in turn, picturing that body part in her mind's eye, and talk about her business idea, as if she was in that centre.  It was interesting to notice how her voice changed when she spoke from each of the centres.  Sometimes the words had the ring of a parents' dissaproval, or betrayed desire with the way the breath carried the words.  The voice from the gut was meek, but there's something about the gut- how it knows things.  (Actually, we now know from neuroscience that it literally knows things, as nerve fibers from the nervous system surround our hollow internal organs [ie. our visceral organs] and are the first point of contact for our internal sensory perceptions that get sent up to the pre-frontal cortex in the brain via the insula, hence the expression, "a gut feeling".)

A lot of us don't listen to the gut and turn the volume way down because we're afraid of action, and we get stuck in the head, or start stewing in the heart.  It can get really sterile in the head or stinky in the heart if we don't get out to the other centres.  I'm reminded of a Kaballah principle for those with a weaker connection to the gut: "When challenges appear overwhelming, inject Certainty. The Light is always there!"  I'm not sure how reliable this is, but Rav Berg says the Israelites fleeing from the Egyptians had to walk into the Red Sea until the water reached their nostrils before the water started parting for them.  That's injecting certainty into a difficult situation!

  "You know what my favorite quote is?  It's right here:  'I seen my opportunities and I took em.'"  Mr. M, a gut-type.

"You know what my favorite quote is?  It's right here:  'I seen my opportunities and I took em.'" Mr. M, a gut-type.

On the other hand, some lucky people have immediate access to their gut and can act instinctively.  Those are the people who get things done in a self-assured decisive way- they tend to be society's leaders; later in life, however, they may find out they've neglected the head or heart centre and have to make corrective action at that point.

We all have to make corrective action- the question is how long does it take us to recognize that we're slightly out of balance?  For most of us, 50 years or so.  Less for some people.  More for others.

Whatever your main intelligence centre, getting into that third, under-utilized "brain" is the spark that lights the match, the redirection of the flow of energy that brings our lives into a balance heretofore unattained.

 

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Worth Staying Up For

I was going to go to bed on time tonight, but I saw a lovely treat in my inbox from Fred Wilson's blog, so I'm staying up to watch that.  Usually I insist on 8 hours of sleep, but when there's an Fireside chat between your two favorite venture capitalists in your inbox, it's okay to only get 7.

But first- what a great day today- I woke up at 5, went to the gym, then went car shopping with my mom.  I'd gotten my car totalled a month ago, and she decided to help me out financially, and we finally hit a jackpot tonight.  My mom is a great stats person, and always makes up Excel spreadsheets for everything, and me, well, I just wanted a new car, so I was motivated to keep us focussed and just keep lining up the next viewing and the next viewing.  It turns out I'm quite comfortable negotiating too.  My birth chart says I'm bad at managing my own money and great at managing others' money, so I was dogged about keeping us under my mom's budget, and voila- LAST car of the day- my mom had a gut feeling about a car, we go to check it out, and this great young lady- a real credit to her parents who clearly raised her to think intelligently about finances- showed us an impeccable car that she took great care of over the years (and barely drove).  We made her a good offer and she accepted.  For two women who - let's talk Enneagram here for a second- who don't do power plays as first recourse- my mom and I were a solid team today and I'm proud of us. 

Now back to Fred Wilson and Jason Calacanis.  Back in 2011 when I left my government job, I became a bit of a tech nerd, I guess- my other passion besides the Enneagram and the Victoria's Secret franchise (I love the VC business, I love all things Victoria Secret, but I want people to know me first and foremost as someone who challenges them to look inward.  When I die, I want the bells to peal "Know yourself.  Know yourself". )

Anyway, in 2011, I developped a love affair with the internet and the people who invest in the technology that make the internet such a great place.  The article I read that got it all started was about a Jason Calacanis presentation to a computer science class at UPenn- I think I've written about it before- STILL the best pitch in my mind for entrepreneurship.  A must watch for all kids contemplating their direction in life after high school or university.  So I started watching Calacanis' TWIST videos, and when I started dating Mr. M, I connected him to this one interview between him and Brad Feld, another great investor in the Venture Capital field.  Which started us both just digging into this really exciting world of tech investments and the VC's who blog about it. 

One power couple we fell in love with was Joanne and Fred Wilson- proud New Yorkers, wife and husband, best friends, really sharp investors, and longtime bloggers who share their perspectives on new developments in technology.  Joanne, Fred, and their buddy Jason all got into the internet in New York in the late 90's when the first browser- Netscape- came out, made some good bets over the years, and have made very good return on their investments in the internet since.  So this fireside chat is Jason and Fred doing a retrospective of the last twenty years of their friendship and their investments- it's mostly about Fred, but you get to know Jason a bit here too.

One day I'm going to write about their Enneagram types.  Jason is a Type 7- probably a social/ sexual/self-preservation, and I'm still undecided about Fred's type- he could be an Eight or a One, but he's got two very important people in his life who are already Eights and Ones, so my back-up is Type Six, but he just doesn't worry enough to be a Type Six.  I just don't have enough information yet.

On the one hand, he could be a self-preservation One because I do see him being a body type, and he's about substance and "here"-ness, (not that that's a word, but his presence has heft to it, as opposed to buzzy and aversive head-space energy, or the ethereal and craving heart-space energy.)  However,  Fred's business partner, Brad, is definitely a Type One, and it would take some very special magic for two Type Ones to work together as effectively as they have over the years.  Fred and Brad definitely complement each other's strengths and weaknesses.

On the other hand, he could be a Type 8, but Joanne, his wife is a type 8.  I have a good mind that she's a social/self-pres Eight w Seven (although she could also be a 7w8), so because they also complement each other really well, it's possible he's also an Eight, but with an instinct stack of self-preservation/sexual or self-preservation/social. 

Fred is confident, has a drive toward "realness" and likes talking straight, getting to the point and cutting through bullshit.  He disdains fluff and goes with his gut- all Eight traits.  Another interesting trait- he and his wife don't invest in public markets because he doesn't like putting his money in with other people; for an Eight with the resources to make his wealth independently, you can see the type's signature survival instinct at play.  And then, some type Eights have this thing where they lower their forehead when they talk to you or pose for pictures, which you can see Fred doing in this interview- they've realized over the years that they come on too strong for some people and to minimize that effect, they unconsciously angle their head down, almost to prevent the intensity of their energy from drilling a hole in the other person.  Eights are intense whatever their instinct stack, and you get a taste of his intensity here, despite it being a laid-back interview.

So it's a really great, insightful chat between two long-time friends.  I hope you enjoy it.

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