Creativity for Enneagram Type 8 emerges from their intuition. Somehow, they just know what to do. Because the process is unconscious, even the most creative Type 8s will often bemoan that they are not creative. They are so unconscious of their creativity that they may not even realize when they are actually being creative!
Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things. – Ray Bradbury
Enneagram Type 8s enjoy the freedom to act on their instincts. The 8s are strongly associated with action. And when in action, they not only tend to work on their own interests, but also the interests of others. These tendencies can resemble the behaviors of the Type 2 helper along the 8’s path of integration. However, when prevented from acting, the 8 becomes quiet and observing, looking for weaknesses in whatever is standing in their way. In this state, the 8 receives inspiration for how to overcome the obstacle, and this behavior resembles that of Type 5 along the 8’s path of disintegration.
Enneagram Type 8 prompts problem-solving teams to action. The Creativity Seesaw I describe in Chapter 5 of my book Teamwork 9.0—Successful Workgroup Problem Solving Using the Enneagram shows the 8 moving back and forth between Type 5 and Type 2 dynamics in their creative process. The fulcrum holding up the seesaw represents their intrinsic motivation. The 8 is in the Gut or Intuitive Center of the Enneagram, the underlying issue for which is anger. Anger is the go-to tool for the 8 to achieve their motivation’s end, securing control of their environment.
Enneagram Type 8 Motivation: Secure Control of Environment
Whenever Type 8 is prevented from securing control and their intuition doesn’t immediately present a course of action, the 8 becomes a quiet observer as they size up the threat and look for weaknesses, behavior which resembles the Type 5 observer. Being in the Intuitive Center, the answer will likely emerge without much deliberate thought. Inspiration is often unconscious for the 8 which is why many 8s don’t attribute this ideation to their own creativity. They will likely have better access to this dynamic when they are not in action and especially if they are under threat.
Enneagram Type 8 Inspiration: Scanning for Opportunities while Restrained from Acting
Enneagram Type 8 Action: Acting to Help Themselves and Others
Once an idea, like a strategy for re-assuming control, surfaces they jump back to action. Often the 8s will engage in righteous fights, meant to bring justice and fairness to themselves and to others. As they achieve their objectives, they can be seen as fighting for the benefit of others, and thereby resembling the dynamic of Type 2. The 8s proceed until again they encounter an obstacle that prevents forward motion, and thusly they swing back and forth on their Creativity Seesaw.
To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it. – Kurt Vonnegut
The creative process moves back and forth between inspiration and action. The Type 8 clearly has access to both dynamics. The 8 can stay in action because their intuition is feeding them answers continuously and unconsciously. This is so natural for the 8 that they often don’t even realize how creative they are.
The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. –Walt Disney
When do the Enneagram Type 8s in your life jump to action? How are their actions helping others? How do they respond when prevented from moving forward?
For more details on each Enneagram type’s creative style, see the following series of blogs:
Enneagram Type 8 Creativity – Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things. – Ray Bradbury