Enneagram Type 9 has an innate understanding of others’ perspectives, and their intuition informs this understanding. Stepping into others’ viewpoints forms the basis for Type 9 creativity.
But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. – Martin Luther King Jr.
Situated at the very top of the Enneagram diagram, this position symbolizes the 9’s ability to understand the perspectives of all other types. Whenever in doubt, their mind turns to imagining the many possible forces influencing a person—their likes and dislikes, what is going on in their personal and professional lives, and any current events that may factor. This behavior resembles the Type 6 questioner, along the 9’s path of disintegration and serves as the spark for ideation and inspiration. As doubts subside, the 9 can turn to action and start to proactively create an environment that is harmonious for the objects of their attention. Being proactive in this way can resemble behaviors of the Type 3 achiever along the 9’s path of integration.
In problem solving, the Type 9 dynamic ensures that all stakeholder perspectives are considered. In fact, the 9 is so adept at this role that they can often stand in for absent stakeholders, which requires a great deal of creativity. Chapter 5 of my book Teamwork 9.0—Successful Workgroup Problem Solving Using the Enneagram shows the 9 moving back and forth on their Creativity Seesaw between Type 6 and Type 3 behaviors in their creative process. The underlying motivation for the 9’s creative drive is represented by the seesaw’s fulcrum, the height of which dictates the depth of swing between Type 6 and Type 3 dynamics. The Type 9 is in the Enneagram’s Gut or Intuitive Center, the underlying issue for which is anger. For the 9, they suppress anger which motivates them to eliminate discord in the environment.
Enneagram Type 9 Motivation: Eliminating Discord
When the 9 awakes in the morning, they are already envisioning the needs of the people in their life and anticipating how to ameliorate any conflicts that may arise as those needs are fulfilled. This continuous focus on possible future conflict resembles the Type 6 behavior of scanning the future for possible risks and danger. For the 9, this imaginative process arises from their intuition as they seek to understand the cause and nature of any possible discord.
Enneagram Type 9 Inspiration: Understanding the Cause and Nature of Discord
Enneagram Type 9 Action: Actively Creating Harmonious Environments
As they grow confident in their understanding of others’ needs and a plan to mitigate conflict emerges, they proactively seek to realize that plan. They can take on a self-righteous determination in this pursuit, behavior which can resemble the determined Type 3 in pursuit of success. And, as the 9 realizes their vision, they create a harmonious environment for all, ideally with needs met and conflict avoided.
Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way. – Edward de Bono
Physician and author of Six Thinking Hats, Edward do Bono highlights the importance of proactively putting yourself into different thinking states in order to better understand the perspectives of all stakeholders. What he describes is a dynamic that comes naturally and instinctively to Type 9 as they navigate their relationships each and every day.
Do the Enneagram Type 9s in your life express their creativity through the viewpoints of others? What motivates them to action? How do they respond when discord arises?
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