ENNEAGRAM TYPE 7 - The Adventurer
Discussion with: Daniel Conway, Nina Grunfeld and Chris Walton
Moderated by Iain McNay
Iain: Hello, and welcome again to Conscious TV, I’m Iain McNay and today our programme is another in the series on the Enneagram. We are going to look more closely at Type 7. I have with me three type 7s in the studio, on my right is Chris and we have Daniel and Nina. We’re going to start with you Chris, how did you first get to hear about the Enneagram?
Chris: I first got to hear about it through a friend who’s very much into developmental work. He brought a book round to my house one day and said you’ve got to read this, this is you, and he was showing me the type 8 at the time, and so I read a lot of the 8, and I thought yeah that’s definitely me, but some of that’s not quite on the mark, and then when I nudged over and read the 7, and read the 7 in depth and understood the 7, I thought, “Oh bloody hell, that’s definitely me!” Those traits and that way to be…
Iain: We should explain the Enneagram of course, there are 9 different types. In fact, why don’t you tell us briefly what the Enneagram is.
Chris: The way I think of it and the way I describe it is that the Enneagram is a system for psychological and if you like spiritual growth. It allows you to find... I think of it as like a road map, a map to allow you to see aspects of yourself, your traits, the unconscious things that you do, your habits and your patterns that play throughout all of your life that for the most part we are unconscious of. We don’t really become aware of them unless we have some sort of system to highlight them, and so I describe it as that, as a system of growth that enables us to become more conscious of the things that we do, more aware of the self, what the self is, so that we can move along in a more harmonious balanced way, dealing with life and things that come up, you now, that’s the way I think of it.
Iain: OK, and when you first saw you were a type 7, or realised that, how did that impact you, how did you feel about that?
Chris: Enlightened and psychotic at the same time... yeah... when I first really got to understand it, firstly it made total sense with the traits of the 7, the way that I live my life, the way I think, the way I feel, the way I interact and also, the sort of more dysfunctional side, the things that I do when I’m stressed, where I lose energy, and this sort of thing, it really highlighted that.
Iain: Let’s start with an example, when you say dysfunctional and lose energy, just give a practical example of that.
Chris: Well, I’ll tell you what, why don’t we start with the good side first (laughs) .because that’s more fun.
Iain: And that is also very typical of type 7s.
Chris: Exactly, yes, we don’t want to start with the negative side too soon. So the traits that I can really relate to being a dominant 7, is that very optimistic, very high energy, always looking for new experiences, variety and joy, and you know enjoyment and happiness and pleasures and opportunities.
Iain: Exactly how you come across now, you’re really living this...
Chris: Definitely the best place to be on the Enneagram obviously, (laughs) ... and then the slight downside to it, is that if you’re continually looking for more experiences, more pleasures, more stimulus, then you tend to not be able to be present in the moment as much as possible, and because you’re constantly looking for more experiences, more information, more knowledge, more things to give you some sort of energy, or where to put your energy, you tend to then, you can struggle with being in the moment because of the anxieties that you might have to face being in the moment. The subtle little emotional pains that we all have to deal with day in day out, as a dominant 7 you’re trying to avoid those a little bit and not be here in the moment with those and experience those and then potentially get the benefit from those, you’ll be off on to something else looking for more and more pleasures. So, in a way, the here and now spot, the live here now and be here now and all that caper, is a mild challenge sometimes.
Iain: OK, that’s a great start thanks. So with Nina, let’s look at your story, how did you first hear about the Enneagram?
Nina: Well, it was very similar really to Chris, I mean someone came along and said I think you should go on an Enneagram course, I think you’d enjoy it, and so I went along. No one was saying I was an 8, it’s more… was I a 9 or was I a 4? It took me a long, long time because even though I love laughing, got a great sense of humour, that side of it, that instant kind of... I’m not an instantly jolly person, I’m quite a serious person and so the sort of 7 kind of fun, upbeat stuff, didn’t instantly resonate, it took a while, and I think it’s exactly what Chris was staying, it’s that the opportunities, it’s the ability to link, to make connections everywhere, to see, to meet people, to be able to join them, I mean it’s that kind of networking skills, it’s the excitement of realising one bit of learning that you’ve got could link up with another bit of learning that you’ve got. So, all that’s going on all the time, you’ve go this very busy, active mind, and so it took me a long time to realise that I was a 7.
Iain: A long time is like weeks?
Nina: Yes, a long time in ‘7 terms’ (laughs) yes, it’s probably just a weekend...
Daniel: Excruciating... A life sentence!
Nina: Yes it was one of those times when I got really bored (laughs). And then it just has helped me enormously, so I mean, I’ve just suddenly understood why I’ve been sabotaging my life and my careers all the way down the line.
Iain: So, explain that in more detail then. You felt you’ve been sabotaging your life and your career, and so how did discovering being a type 7 actually take you out of that?
Nina: Well, when I got into the Enneagram I was in my forties, and I’d already had my first career as a graphic designer, then I’d written ‘how to’ books, but even though that sounds like a career they were ‘how to’ books on looking after your home, they were ‘how to’ books on the Royal Family, they were ‘how to’ books on stain removal...
Iain: Hang on you wrote a book ‘how to’ on the Royal Family?
Nina: Yes, how it was all about the Royal Warrant Holders, how to live your life like the Royal Family. So I’d had experiences in lots and lots of different fields, you know, and anyone else would have stayed an expert in one field, but I’d written a book, got bored, moved on to the next topic, so I’d covered 15 topics of books and was never sticking. Every time something was about to happen that I could write more books about on the same subject, I went no, don’t want to do that, done it, you know, been there, done that and I think when I realised that actually was a really deep part of my personality and I was going to carry on doing that forever, I started thinking about what I love doing and how I could put all the things I love doing into one business if you like, something that would actually be exciting enough to sustain me throughout everything.
Iain: So you went deeper into yourself to see what you really wanted and then you came from a different space, is that right?
Nina: Absolutely, yes, so it was saying let’s not just do things for instant gratification, let’s actually think about what’s going to reward me long term, and something that’s big enough that all the things that I get interested in can come into it and be part of it, and that’s just an enormous help.
Iain: To slow down a bit, less frantic, is that right?
Nina: Yes definitely, less frantic, less after a kind of instant hit… it became a much bigger, sort of more conscious, process.
Iain: Right. OK Daniel with you, how did discovering you were a number 7 actually affect your life, change your life?
Daniel: I think it gave me a framework, around things that I thought weren’t normal, that I was supposed to deal with and eradicate actually, I understood were part of my character, and a great example is choosing a table in a restaurant can be quite excruciating. I sit down and I think, “I’m on the wrong table, that table over there is so much better£ and to be given the space with my partner, to sort of say, “OK we can move there and you’re allowed one more move”, actually sort of freed me up to be me, that that was part of my nature and really resonating with what Nina’s saying career wise, of thinking I was supposed to become a specialist in something, but actually finding I’d do something once, I’d like to learn it, I’d like to do it a second time and be good at it, and after that I didn’t need to do it again; I was ready for the next thing.
Iain: This process of change, was it difficult for you?
Daniel: No, I don’t think so...
Iain: It’s like a natural...
Daniel: Yes, it was freeing up what was already there rather than trying to change into something. I think I’d been trying to change, this allowed me to be me, so there’s sort of an excitement in that.
Iain: It seems like both of you, in fact all three of you, pretty quickly got real value out of finding you were a type 7 - improved your life.
Nina: I just really enjoyed hearing about the table, because my husband now says, “You choose the table”, because he’s just so used to me not liking several tables and having to try them all out, so yeah, that’s really...
Daniel: And it’s best being able to share dessert, because I hate limiting myself to one desert, if I could share dessert with everyone on the table I’m done.
Iain: So, you’re dreaming of these restaurants you can find sometimes, that give you almost compilation desserts, so there’s like eight desserts on the menu and you can have a little bit of eight all in one deal.
Daniel: I love those.
Chris: …but it’s sort of like nature. Do you think it’s nature, or is it more like learned traits?
Daniel: I think it is nature, and my teaching of the Enneagram is also that it’s nature. I think - unlike the Myers Brigg for example, where we can change types - in my understanding the Ennea-type we don’t; that it’s part of how we’ve dealt with our growth, and it’s sort of the viewpoint we’ll always have.
Chris: But, is that nature, or the environmental nurture?
Daniel: Again, I think it’s nature, I think it’s how we almost deal with the separation from the breast, you know I was reading Sandra on the way here, Sandra Maitri, and she describes it in that sense, and because 7s, the painful quality of the 7 is always pursuing an experience we think we’ve had… that I had that great dessert at one point in my life and where will I find it again?
Chris: Right, right.
Iain: And you want to better it somehow. It’s almost like it’s out of control isn’t it? It’s like a greed, a gluttony.
Daniel: Yeah, and the part of the life journey of the 7 is finding the nourishment that we had on the breast, because I remember feeling really loved and warm there; but where do we find that in life?
Iain: Interesting. I just want to go back to a few basics for people that may be watching this, have never heard of the Enneagram before and are just wondering whether they’re a type 7, or not. I got caught up once before saying ‘number’, it’s ‘type’ isn’t it? I would just explain that even if you’re a type 7 you still have parts of the other types in you. It’s not as if you’re just that type, but you are mainly that type, and some of the things I wrote down in my notes from books I was looking at for my research was, basically type 7s enjoy life, are uninhibited, they’re optimistic, they’re busy and energetic, and you all three display that quality, you take risks. I guess coming on this programme is a risk to some degree, you like to keep moving, you’re easily bored - you’ve all pretty much covered that - you like yourselves... do you like yourselves?
Chris: I love myself! (laughs)
Iain: Daniel you’re not looking quite so sure about that one?
Daniel: Yeah, I think it’s because of that green grass syndrome for me, of ‘Oh but it would be better to have that quality’, so it’s that sense of ‘Ah, dark hair, no I think I’d like lighter hair, lighter hair seems like more fun’.
Iain: You like yourself, but yourself could always be better.
Nina: I don’t know about liking myself, I love talking about myself.
Daniel: Oh yeah, centre of attention thank you (laughs) - coming back to me.
Nina: Exactly, don’t think that necessarily means I like myself, I like hearing myself think and talk. I mean, my husband’s a type 9, the radio’s always on in his world because he doesn’t want to think, he doesn’t want to hear himself think. I never have the radio on, it’s always so I can enjoy my thoughts, so I enjoy bits about me but I don’t know that I necessarily like them.
Iain: OK. Just going down my list to try to cover as much as we can of what a type 7 is like. They’re idealist and want to contribute to the world; is that something you connect with? You love excitement and travel, ‘there’s not enough time to do what I want’ - you very much covered that – you like being outspoken and outrageous.
Daniel: Oh no… (laughs)
Nina: Yes, definitely.
Iain: So, how would you be outspoken and outrageous as a type 7?
Nina: Well OK, this morning, in my business we had a breakfast for corporate clients. Once, when I was in a corporate [meeting] I was talking about what success meant to everyone in the room and there was a lady there who, to my amazement said, “Well, success to me is having a Brazilian”.
Chris: I think that’s a type of coffee... (laughs)
Nina: Now, I was absolutely amazed. I was amazed to hear her talk about that in a mixed public arena, so by repeating that story to some quite high-powered corporate clients [this morning], that’s what I’d call being slightly outrageous. With my grey hair it’s probably not what they’d expect...
Chris: Good ice-breaker...
Nina: Good icebreaker yes. I think the risk taking, the outrageousness, is always, I’ll want to go slightly further than everyone else. We’re having a walk or a picnic, I’ll want to push down the beach. We’re in a boat, I’ll want to row a little bit further than everyone else; so it’s that kind of thing, there’s always… let’s just do a little bit more, so maybe that’s a bit outrageous, I don’t know. Wearing outrageous clothes, but probably not as outrageous as a type 4, so...
Iain: I’ve got a feeling Chris would have a good example here.
Chris:: What, of outrageous?
Iain: Yes, how would you be outrageous as a 7?
Chris: Is this an X-rated show? (laughs) I don’t know, I mean outrageous, it depends what you call outrageous - I personally think that is outrageous.
Iain: That’s what I’m getting at really, something that you would naturally do that other people might be shocked in a minor way by, or even in a major way!
Chris: Outrageous? I don’t know, I don’t know if I’d really call things outrageous, I mean outrageous would be stripping off and running down the middle of Pall Mall whilst waving a banner saying I fancy the Queen, that would be outrageous, but I mean, other than that, it’s just normal behaviour.
Iain: Yes, so you’re naturally outgoing basically and other people might have slight inhibitions about doing something that for you would be quite ordinary in a way.
Chris: Yeah, I mean outrageous... depends what you mean by that... but I think, like getting up in front of people, talking, I’m very extrovert in my energy structure and what have you, so those sort of things [that] are considered generally more extrovert and out there a little bit, are very easy for me, it’s very comfortable for me to be that way. I mean, if there were a thousand people there and you had a little group and somebody had to go up and tell this group good or bad news, it wouldn’t bother me. I would volunteer to do that sort of thing, and then if they said you’ll have to dress up in latex to do it, just for kicks and giggles I’d say even better, that’ll be fun you know, so...
Iain: Okay, so far it’s all been very ‘up’, but there must be a side of the 7 that’s challenging for you. I know 7s can get ungrounded, they can get lost in things. Daniel, you hinted at this a little bit, so what’s the-, I’m not saying the downside of being a type 7 - but what is the challenge of being a type 7? What are the things that you find difficult at times in terms of your development?
Daniel: I think for me it is being present and accepting what is, because under stress 7s go to 1 which is, sort of the perfection. So there’s that desire in me, if I feel stressed, to want everything to get perfect. It’s very hard for me to accept where I am at times, and to enjoy where I am, to enjoy the job I’ve got rather than to dream of ‘the perfect job’.
Iain: So what helps you in that situation?
Daniel: I think now, knowing that this is a tendency for me, knowing that actually the fantasy of the perfect job isn’t perfect, that it is a fantasy… and I guess increasingly, letting my energy come down to remembering to breathe almost, and to experience what is going on around me and detach from the story of what might be.
Iain: So you mentioned being present, describe in a practical way what being present means.
Daniel: I don’t know, what is being present? Certainly around my spiritual teaching it’s kind of physically being aware of my body. It’s being here in this room, enjoying being with the three of you, rather than moving off into: what’s my journey home is going to be like, what am I going to do when I get home, how I’m going to tell people that I was on TV, and I can even feel my energy change when I talk about the different things. So for me that’s being present, and remaining present I think is really tough for me as a 7 - at least that’s my excuse - you know meditating I find excruciating and actually, I meditate now on my push-bike as a way of having movement and practising being with myself.
Iain: You don’t close your eyes...
Daniel: No, no...
Chris: That would be a skill!
Daniel: That’s the advanced meditation! So, yes, that’s some of the pain for me of being a 7.
Iain: So, we could say with being present it’s very much, you mentioned feeling the body, about being here, about being aware if your mind is taking you away somewhere else and you also mentioned earlier, acceptance. Accepting this is what’s happening and that’s it I guess. That’s what’s happening, the four of us are together in a studio in West London, and we’re talking about type 7s. Chris, you’re really bubbly and you’re full of energy, is there a side of you that you find difficult at times?
Chris: (laughs) More than one... yeah, yes there is, I definitely resonate with what Danny said you know that being present, it’s very easy not to be present, it takes a bit of work. ‘Overwhelm’ is something I experience a lot of, whether it could be having 15 or 20 windows open on my computer, and doing one task, then I’ve clicked on an email and before you know it I’m half hour into a programme and totally forgotten what the hell I was doing, you know which when you think about it, sometimes it’s quite mad. Yes, I can very easily get consumed with doing lots and lots of things and that can make me quite inefficient in getting the task done…
Iain: And how do you focus yourself?
Chris: I have to give myself a talking to, I have to sort of just, say hang on a minute, what’s going on here, slow down man...
Iain: There’s a side of you that’s wise and that wise side is saying to another part of you, ‘slow down’, in fact what Daniel’s saying, be present! Is that right, is that how it works for you, or is it different for you?
Chris: Yes, I mean more or less, more or less. For me one of the big components of being able to be functional and as present as possible is exercise. I do a lot of exercise so that I have a good physical outlet for energy expenditure and when I’ve had a good exercise session then it’s much easier for me to be present, I’m much more centred mentally, emotionally and physically, so then, the living in the now is a lot easier. But, generally it’s what Danny said. I mean being present is not easy for anybody, never mind if you are a 7 Enneagram, but, it’s a challenge anyway for anybody I reckon, so that’s the game, yes, being right here right now is easier said than done.
Iain: OK, Nina how’s that for you?
Nina: Yes, I definitely agree with both of them. I think what does it for me is two things really: it’s reading and writing. I find those really calm me down, especially reading, and Mozart, I mean listening to classical music, or any music actually just really brings me right to the present very, very quickly, so that works. I think the thing, the difficulty Chris touched on, the sort of overwhelm when your mind is spinning with ideas, your computer’s flashing with all sorts of different things that you’ve started and haven’t finished, but the thing that probably is the most difficult is something that Danny mentioned, is the idea of going into perfectionism. So it’s very tough for people around me because I suddenly get, “Oh my goodness you’re dirtying the kitchen” and you’re just boiling an egg, you know, and that snap at my husband for doing something which is really irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, but I’ve just gone into type 1, seeing him making a mess and get very upset about it and that part of being a 7 is difficult for everyone around us, that we can lose our temper very quickly. For me, I don’t know about for you guys, but for me, one second later I’ve forgotten about it, and they’re still going - especially if they don’t know me very well - they’re going, “Phew what was that? That was just like a tornado” and for me it was just nothing, I was just cross, I vented my crossness, but I think it left everyone else around me reeling; I think that is very hard for people and I find it very hard. I know now there are certain things... I’m just not there... my husband cooking I’m just not there, so I know now what my trigger points are, but I think the only way for me not to do it, is to set myself not to get annoyed with certain things, and it is when I’m stressed, absolutely.
Iain: So it can be a challenge to be around a type 7, especially in a close relationship?
Chris: I wouldn’t have thought so (laughs)…
Iain: What would you say?
Chris: I wouldn’t say that Iain myself! No more of a challenge than anybody else, I think it’s a pleasure!
Nina: It’s a pleasure 99.9% of the time, but when I lose my temper… luckily your loved ones get to know you well enough they know it doesn’t mean anything, but it can be quite a formidable force as it were, but maybe that’s just me, I’m not talking for them...
Iain: So the anger for you guys is an expression, and it’s clearing something, it’s like energy you clear and then back to your normal life, so to speak.
Nina: Yes, about a second later.
Chris: Short and sweet...
Nina: I don’t bear grudges, don’t get upset, I mean basically I really like people, I mean, I love meeting new people. I’m impossible to interview people, if we’ve got someone that we need to hire, I can’t do it, because I would have everyone, I can see the strengths in everyone and I can see exactly, “Oh they might not be so good at that but they’d be brilliant at that” and so it makes them exciting. On the whole it’s quite fun to be around a 7 because there is that real desire to find a positive in every experience, in every person, in ‘every everything’ really, it’s a fun place to be.
Chris: Sold! (laughs)
Iain: You’re all doing a great PR job for being a type 7 I have to say. So, one of the things about the Enneagram that I know for myself has been very useful when I discovered my type, was not only did I learn that there’s a lot of people on the planet that function very much the same way as myself, but also there was a potential of my type, in so far as I didn’t have to be stuck in certain behavioural patterns, there was a higher way of being myself if you like, and I wondered how - let me start with you Nina - how that’s affected you, seeing that potential and moving towards and living that potential of the type 7.
Nina: Gosh, I think it’s really what we were sort of touching on earlier, realising that it’s a freedom to be who you want to be, and I think the potential of the type 7, it’s actually about finding that... (pauses) I think you should go to Danny on this one! ...I’m just trying to think, no, no, I’m just trying to think! Well it feels like most of it is potential... because there is so much energy and there is so much desire to do lots of good things I think, you know ways of helping people, ways of creating sort of fun, harmonious situations... so the potential is more to keep as grounded as you can, so that you have the energy to do these things.
Iain: You see, what I’m trying to get at, and maybe this doesn’t apply to you guys, but when I was doing my research earlier here, one of the things I wrote down about the potential for the type 7 was, to move forward they have to confront their emptiness and barrenness, they have to see and confront how much they live in their minds and I wonder, can you relate to that?
Nina: Yes definitely, well these two [Chris and Daniel] are obviously wonderful and working out and going on their bikes, and everything, I find that I don’t even notice I’ve got a body...
Iain: Yes, you see I’m interested in this, and as I say I’m not trying to put something in that isn’t there for you guys, but this emptiness and barrenness, is this something you can relate to?
Nina: Yes, definitely, I think boredom is a real key thing, that there is a real desire not to feel bored.
Daniel: Yes. (laughs)
Iain: So boredom for you is barrenness? Is that right?
Iain: Describe boredom for you.
Nina: Boredom for me, well I don’t know that I have it so much now, because I think I’ve got more resolved, it’s something that I would dread a lot as a child, that feeling there’s nothing to do, and what am I going to do, and sitting for ages. I think now, if something sad happens I can feel very, very desolate, as if I’m in a very barren landscape, with nothing there, grey skies and just a real feeling of emptiness, and uncertainty as to how it’s going to get filled ever... so...
Iain: And are you OK with that feeling now?
Nina: I’m much better with that feeling, yes.
Iain: Is that something that before you would try to jump over isn’t it, to try to get away from it in your activity, and ideas and everything?
Nina: And not want to lie there crying, but want to actually move into something positive, and I’m now much better at just saying this is it, and it doesn’t last terribly long. In a way I often try to get it to last longer because I think I will learn more about myself if I can stay in that unhappy space for longer, but it tends to… the happiness tends to kind of bubble up quite quickly, but I think it is a good learning place, when it happens, so I don’t mind if it does happen.
Iain: OK. Daniel how is the emptiness and barrenness for you is that something you connect with?
Daniel: Yes, a lot, because I’ve got a rowing machine and I never use it. I said to someone the problem is it’s boring, it’s excruciatingly boring, and so I tried music video, and they said, “So what’s wrong with boring?” and it had never occurred to me that boredom is something I could allow to exist. I presumed I was always meant to fill it, that it represented a lack of stimulation rather than being a state in itself.
Iain: So you judged it as a bad thing?
Daniel: Yes, yes it was a really tortuous place to be, so yes I do really relate to that barrenness and I think that’s almost the moving tables in the restaurants, it’s like I sit at this table and it hasn’t completely filled me up, I still feel an emptiness and so maybe that table is going to satisfy me more.
Iain: What I’m interested in is, can you stay with the barrenness, and does it change without you doing something?
Chris: Jesus Iain, come on, move on, this is just a nightmare! Sorry Danny... continue...
Daniel: Can I stay with the barrenness?
Iain: Come on to your list in a minute [to Chris]... (laughs)
Daniel: I still judge it as a bad place to be. It’s not a place that I want to be and stay, and ... even, almost like the nature of this discussion, I’m thinking so let’s move on to the fun bit! (laughs)
Iain: You see, according to these books, this is the gateway to the freedom for you type 7s.
Chris: If you believe them...
Iain: (turning to Chris) Tell me about your barrenness (laughs), I think I’ll blink and I’ll miss it!
Chris: What’s the question? What’s the specific question?
Iain: OK, let’s change it.
Daniel: No, make him suffer as well!
Chris: Bring it on!
Iain: How do you see your gateway to your potential as a type 7?
Chris: I think inevitably the gateway to express more potential, more expanded awareness, more expanded consciousness, the way I see it as a dominant 7, is to slow down, and be more aware of that present moment. I think you could say that I guess, about any type and I think specifically the 7 due to that desire for constant stimulation, always looking for something else, and being somewhere else and having something else, and feeling something else, and seeing something else, and all those things. The more I’m able to just be totally present in the moment, and anything that comes up accept it and let it pass, whatever comes up, experience it with non-judgment and non-attachment, then inevitably that is the gateway - from the way I view it - to expanded awareness, expanded consciousness.
Iain: But, how does that work practically for you?
Chris: Carnage, doesn’t work at all! (laughs) I’m just good at waxing lyrical. I’ve read lots of books. Absolute bullshit!
Iain: Are you being totally serious there?
Chris: Erm, how does it work practically? Practically, I often quite say on a day to day basis I have a range, an emotional scale from totally enlightened bliss and really present to everything that goes on... to absolute dysfunction and madness where you’ve completely lost the plot... and everything in between. So I think practically, it’s just work, it’s not that easy, you just have to have a set of practices that help you live as presently as possible.
Iain: You’re theorising. I’m trying to feel another side of you, you see...
Chris: So the question is what? What practically...?
Iain: How practically do you realise the potential of a type 7, by going through your gateway? And, maybe it’s not appropriate for you, the question. I’m not trying to pin you down.
Chris: How practically do I experience it?
Chris: Erm, well like I say, on a day to day basis that’s really what I mean, on a day to day basis I can be totally present, totally aware, totally really in the moment and be an inter-connected part of a grander whole, and really live from that space, walk that space, breathe that space, and then the next thing I know I’m half an hour down the road and I’ve totally lost that way of being and I’m all over the place doing lots of things at the same time. So, you know, that’s the reality of my sort of day to day, week by week, breathing and living on this spinning planet.
Nina: And I think often, even though 7s like talking about themselves, they often don’t like thinking deeply about themselves because there might not be anything there, and I think that is what often can keep us more superficial, if you like, because that might be the emptiness inside, that there aren’t great. When we experience things, we don’t do them in the same kind of in-depth way that maybe a 4 or a 6 is doing it, we are living more on the surface and enjoying kind of fun and superficial things, so maybe we’re not as in-touch with our emotions as other types are.
Chris: I don’t’ know about that (laughs), I don’t know about that. Superficialness as compared to other types yes, but as for not in touch with emotions, I don’t know about that.
Nina: The superficialness that if you start digging deep, if someone does start really asking us about the dark side, it’s hard for us to actually talk about it, because we’re not quite sure we understand it, because we don’t really like going there.
Chris: Why would you, sort of thing?
Nina: Yes, why would you? I think that’s maybe why you’re having difficulty with the questions because it’s something that we find difficult to express ourselves.
Chris: Yes, plus Iain’s throwing his own type over the questions, you know what I mean, so it’s not right or wrong, that’s how it rolls.
Daniel: I’m wondering too about the path of integration which from 7 is into the 5, which I tend to always generalise, the 7 is sort of quite extroverted and the 5 is quite introverted. I think the 5 is quite self-sufficient and likes to bring knowledge and calm in, and I find that state. I’ve often been confused whether I’m extroverted or introverted because I had this very bubbly outgoing bit and then I need to kind of recuperate, and for me that’s the feeling of going towards the 5, of recharging, finding my self-sufficiency. I don’t think I quite connect with the bit about not knowing myself, or not wanting to know myself, I find there’s a lot of enquiry for me, and yet yes I also get to a block of like, I don’t want to go to that bit. I think part of my potential feels like it’s around joy, it’s how I take the fun of being a 7, but to really experience it as joy rather than just stimulation, because it feels like there’s a lot of fun to be had as a 7, but to truly allow that fun rather than looking for the next fun.
Nina: I know exactly what you mean about the introversion extroversion. For example my Monday to Friday diary is always absolutely full, and if it isn’t absolutely full I’ll wonder why, and if I’ve got anything booked in on Saturday and Sunday it really upsets me, that’s my real personal time when no-one is allowed in, and I just want to be... that’s the 5, I’m going into my 5, and you know holidays, just want to be with a book on my own, reading quietly or listening to music or something on my own. So, definitely there’s the public bit, which everyone’s allowed a part of and then there’s the very private bit, which is really just for me.
Iain: So I feel it’s coming out now, maybe the phrases I used weren’t the most helpful phrases, but you all have - I know Chris will come back in a minute - but you guys have a quiet side which is a kind of a recharge side, is that right, would you say a reflective side? And it’s helping to balance all this activity, going, going, going, doing, doing, doing.
Daniel: And sometimes, that transition can be quite rapid, and it’s taken me a little while to realise the world can’t always read that. It’s like yeah, yeah, loving the attention, loving the attention, hey leave me alone, leave me alone, and that people get jarred by. For me that’s quite quick movement. I don’t know how rapidly you feel it (turning to Nina).
Nina: Oh yeah, instantly, I don’t like talking on the phone at weekends, just really don’t want to pick up the phone.
Daniel: Oh my God yes, and everyone says, “Why don’t you answer the phone?” I’m having ‘me time’.
Nina: Yes, exactly, so there’s this very, very selfish side that you just absolutely have to regroup, Chris is looking... any of this resonates? No? (turning to Chris)
Chris: Yeah, yes, I know what you mean...
Iain: You say you know what they mean, but does it resonate?
Chris: Yeah, yeah I definitely like those quiet times, those times when it actually feels nice to be on your own and recharge. I know what you mean about the phone, quite often I don’t bother with it, picking it up whatever, but, yes those reflective times and meditative times are very, very useful. I find an energy balance in them, so I know what you mean.
Nina: And I think it’s not even reflective or meditative for me, I think it’s just going to have to be on my own and yet there is a real dread about it, before going into the weekend, the thought that I’ve got a blank diary is very, very, scary, because what if I get bored? So there’s that whole sort of I am dreading this, and yet the moment that it happens I just think how wonderful that I have this time to myself, but it’s definitely not easy to...
Iain: It takes courage to allow this time because I think you’re right, in our modern life you have to really put in your diary a line through the day otherwise it does get filled up.
Nina: Yes, and there is a fear that I’m going to be on my own, and lonely and unhappy and I don’t want that to happen.
Iain: So somewhere you still have a programme in there that says - and Daniel’s nodding as well - that if you’re on your own it could be that you’re lonely and not happy.
Daniel: And I think that’s the barrenness that you’re referring to in your question.
Iain: You guys seem pretty well-balanced I have to say.
Daniel: Oh, thanks...
Chris: Just the power of the 7. (laughs)
Iain: I think we should explain a little bit about the other influences... you mentioned the 5. Now as I understand it, the major influences on a type 7 would be the adjoining types which is 6, which is a more fear-based personality, and the 8 which is more domineering shall we say, a bossy personality. So are you aware of those influences, you’ve mentioned the reflective side (turning to Nina and Daniel), you’re more on the 8 side are you would you say? (turning to Chris)
Chris: Yes, I’m strong 8, the number of times I’ve taken Enneagram tests, or read the real themes and dominant traits of 7 and 8s, it’s very, very close for me. It almost feels like 51% 7 and 49% 8, so I resonate a lot with the 8, the sort of dominance and the drive, and the pushing forward and not hanging about, not messing about, I feel that very much in my way of being and energy structure, so I have to be sort of aware of that. I don’t feel the 6 so much, in fact the 6 sometimes drives me mental; it’s just the whole energy around that... sometimes I think Jesus, come on let’s get going, but hopefully I’m aware of that, you know, that 8 is a strong trait.
Iain: One of the things I’ve found so valuable, when I first found out about the Enneagram, and I found my type which is 6 which is why I drive you crazy (turning to Chris) is not so much learning about myself, that’s been very valuable, but also learning about other people because it’s so helpful in relationships with other people and, I’ve said this before on these programmes, if I have a problem with a person, I try and work out what type I think they are, and I might get it wrong, but that doesn’t matter, because it can still help in my relationship with them because I’m thinking, well I’m now putting my head in their head, or my heart in their heart, and finding out why are they the way they are? I think that’s a fantastic thing for me in the Enneagram. I don’t know whether you’ve found value as well, in understanding other people’s types?
Daniel: I do a lot. I’m in business with three others. We’ve got a 4, an 8 and a 6, and I think it’s really helpful seeing the energy as we work together. The 6 is quite risk-averse, and quite conservative, and it’s easy to dismiss that, until you sort of really allow the understanding of the fear basis, whereas the 8 is kind of quite action-based, “Can we keep moving, can we keep moving…” and then the 4 is sort of more emotion-based. So I think it’s a really powerful framework for observing people and certainly my super-ego is quite caught up in right and wrong.
Iain: So what’s the super-ego?
Daniel: It’s sort of that inner critic and I think 7s have quite a strong inner critic.
Iain: OK, so, let’s get this clear, when you say inner critic what you mean is, that it’s an internal voice criticising yourself...
Daniel: It’s a constant judging that this is wrong and this is right, that that answer is wrong, that Nina’s answer is better than my answer, so that constant dialogue.
Chris: That’s going more towards the [type] 1 isn’t it, the dysfunction 1?
Nina: That’s the [type] 1 yes. I was just going to say, I would feel that when I’m stressed, but not otherwise.
Iain: But, let’s just stay on that, for people who don’t know what the super-ego is, that’s maybe very helpful there, I actually do know, I’m just asking the question just to bring it out.
Daniel: My super-ego’s saying, “Oh now I’ve said the wrong thing because Nina doesn’t think it’s the super-ego!”
Iain: So we all have this internal critic we picked up from our parents, basically when we were very young, and...
Daniel: Yes, and from society, society’s rules, our parent’s rules.
Iain: And we’ve learned to criticise ourselves which isn’t actually very helpful.
Daniel: No, it was really helpful when we were very little, we needed that, “It’s wrong to jump in the road, it’s wrong to play with matches”, but in adulthood we have a more innate sense of what’s appropriate. But yeah, certainly I’ve still got this constant voice evaluating.
Iain: I wonder if Chris has. Have you still got the super-ego or have you passed all that?
Chris: Oh, well beyond it (laughs). No, I can resonate with that a lot, that critic, that inner critic... that there’s a better way to do it, should I do it this way, blah, blah, blah. I can resonate with that a lot. I have to sort of, as much as possible, aim to just let that be and move beyond that, but it’s definitely there...
Iain: So you’ve put it to one side, you let it keep chattering away but don’t give it any kind of attention or notice is that right?
Chris: I wouldn’t say I let it keep chatting away, I just sort of aim to just acknowledge it, and then just let it go. I don’t particularly want to hold on to any of those good, or bad traits for that matter, but I can, it definitely resonates, that one, and sometimes it’s very annoying, you know, it really is, under stress situations it can really amplify the stress. So, sometimes it’s just easier to let that go and observe it and perhaps acknowledge it easier than others.
Iain: OK. I’m looking at the clock there and we have about three or four minutes left.
Chris: Champagne then! (laughs)
Iain: So, that’s a good trait isn’t it for a type 7, they like their champagne... they like their high living.
Nina: A bit of generalisation here maybe, I don’t really drink very much and I personally don’t like champagne but I don’t....
Iain: You like other fine things though do you?
Nina: Erm, I love eating...
Daniel: Because the sin of the 7 is gluttony, and yesterday’s chocolate really attested to that, and I think that’s part of this constant feeding of desires, you know, new experiences, food...
Iain: It’s one of the dangers of being a type 7 you get...
Chris: Indigestion! (laughs)
Iain: You can get too much food, too much alcohol, too much sex, too much of everything really. But it seems that you guys are all pretty much on your journey to at least recognise that, and move beyond too much excess anyway... and enjoy what excess you have.. OK, I’m just going to do a little plug for some of the books that I’ve found very helpful on the Enneagram. If you haven’t heard of the Enneagram before and want to know more about it, ‘The Enneagram Made Easy’ [by Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele] is a very basic one, but I still get a lot from this, I find that there’s some cartoons in there, some basic questions, and as a starting point it’s great. And there are two books by Sandra Maitri, which are very good, they’re more advanced, if you like, ‘The Enneagram of Passions and Virtues’ and ‘The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram’, both of these are very good. And quite an advanced one is, ‘Facets of Unity’ by A H. Almas. There are many different types of books on the Enneagram, but I would really urge you, if you re interested, to start a journey somewhere and get one of these books. So, I’m going to thank you all for coming in, on Conscious TV, and being very forthright, and being very much your type which is brilliant. That’s what I was trying to get out of you, be yourself and you’ve all done that in your own unique way, thank you. And thanks everyone for watching Conscious TV. We’ve made now, three programmes of the Enneagram series on different types, and we shall complete the set and do the other six, and we hope to see you again soon. Good-bye.
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