Someone asked me about the book that I briefly mentioned during sermon so I would like to introduce it here. The book is called “The Road Back To You” by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile. It introduces an ancient personality type finder called “Enneagram”. (Ennea means “nine” in greek) Unlike other personality type tests, this does not merely classify people based on their personalities. Instead, it deals with our ultimate “motivation”, which affects our thinking, feeling, and behaviors and provides “healthy” direction.
The Enneagram teaches that there are nine different personality types. But they are driven by three different underlying motivations: Feeling (Type 2,3,4), Fear (Type 5,6,7), and Anger (Type 8, 9,1). Each number has its own “deadly sin” associated with it and the book describes what healthy, average and unhealthy versions of that number looks like.
My number is “9”, which is Peacemaker. You might think this sounds like a good number but what Enneagram teaches is this: What is best about you is also what is worst about you. So what is important is not what the person does, it is “why” he/she does it. My deadly sin is “sloth” so my ultimate motivation is to not get bothered by life. So my type can appear as very chill, relaxed and kind but underneath it, there is a disconnection between ourselves and our “anger”, especially the healthy side of anger which brings drive, passion, and energy. If type 8 (The Challenger) is too much in touch with their anger, which makes them very driven, overbearing and controlling, type 9, on the other hand, are not in touch with their anger. So Healthy Nines are natural “mediator” since they can see validity in multiple views but unhealthy Nines can be indecisive, overly dependent and easily lose the unique self because they avoid conflicts at all cost.
As I was reading the description of my number, I felt “understood”. I understood why I say “anything is fine” when we go to the restaurant and then regret not saying what I really wanted later. I understood why I have so many unfinished projects though I started them with passion. I understood why I get so easily distracted when I’m even a little bit stressed. It was a bit painful to acknowledge the unhealthy expression of my type but it was encouraging at the same time because there was a clear direction I needed to take.
After reading the book, I have decided to make effort to get in touch with the good side of anger. To avoid losing passion, I’ve set clear goals and included daily actionable items in my routines. They help me stay far from “sloth” and pursue recovering what God created me to be and do.
I highly encourage this book if you are interested in becoming more “self-aware” and more understanding of people who are different from you.