Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Thinker

I've referred elsewhere in this blog to the fact that I am a procrastinator by nature. Rather than leave it at that, let me use the opportunity of this post to explain that a little bit more.

Have you ever heard of or experienced the Enneagram? The Enneagram of Personality, or just Enneagram (from the Greek words ennea [nine] and gramma [something written or drawn]) is a model of human personality which is principally used as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. The Enneagram is not commonly taught or researched in Psychology but is widely promoted within business management and spiritual contexts. Of many such models I have encountered, for me the Enneagram has much merit. I won't use this post to describe the concept or it's background in any more detail (indeed, I could not adequately do that in a few paragraphs), but I strongly recommend you look it up on the Internet where you will find many resources and even tests to help you determine which of the nine personality types best fits you.

Long before I ever did a test myself, others who had studied the Enneagram told me with great conviction that I am a Number 5. But what is that, exactly? Well, a No.5 on the Enneagram is summed up as a Thinker, an Observer, an Investigator, a Sage. It may come as no surprise that based on this description, the animal associated with No.5s is the owl. At first I was a little dismissive and sceptical - and although I did not fully dismiss these labels I did wonder how could people with knowledge of the Enneagram really sum me up so quickly. After delving into a bit myself, I have to say they were spot on.

No.5s are private and solitary by nature. Studious and scholarly, they develop expertise in any area that is of interest to them, often in more than one field. They think things through before offering their perceptions and insights regarding systems, people or how the world works. That's pretty much me to a tee. You'll never catch me, whether at work or at play, waxing on about something I feel I don't know much about. You will find me, though, listening intently to those who know something. That said, people who waffle on because they like the sound of their own voices tend to annoy me just a tad!

The greatest strengths of 5s are clear objectivity, instinct and penetrating insight unfettered by emotions. Underneath what appears as shyness and reserve, they are kindhearted and giving people, very loyal to and supportive of those they trust. On the flip side, they also possess a certain avarice. They can greedily hoard themselves, their time or things. They have a tendency to withdraw into their ivory tower of ideas (is it any wonder I named my blog as I did!!). Others may see them as arrogant and unfeeling. Being dispassionate and ‘cool as a cucumber’ is good in an emergency but hard on relationships.

I could go on but I'll leave it at that. My main purpose was to introduce the concept of the Enneagram using my own personality type - The Thinker - as an example. Despite the private nature of No.5s, I hope I've shown through my blogging that we can redeem ourselves too (as indeed can all the personality types) by sharing a bit about myself. Indeed, social media in general has helped me a lot in that regard, enabling me to overcome some of my inate shyness. So the next time you see me being a bit withdrawn or aloof, just know that I'm in observation mode, and more importantly, thinking about what I'm taking in - which may appear sometime in a blog post. You have been warned!!

I'll leave you with the names of some 'famous 5s':

Isaac Asimov, Samuel Beckett, The Buddha, Agatha Christie, Daniel Day-Lewis, Albert Einstein, T.S. Eliot, Greta Garbo, Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, George Lucas, Sam Neill, Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Jean-Paul Sartre, Scrooge, Sister Wendy, Jules Verne, Max Von Sydow.

Make what you will of that list!!


  1. Thanks for sharing about the Enneagram, I may even do a test to see which type I am.


  2. Had never heard of the Enneagram but having read your post, I can say I am definitely a number 5 - and a procrastinator

  3. I've done a few of these in my working years but never heard of this one.
    Gowan ya tinker ya :D


  4. Hi John
    Happy to be here
    I learned about a good word today
    I need to do some exercise.
    Well written one,
    Thanks for sharing
    Keep Blogging
    Good Wishes
    Keep inform
    I am
    Phil @ Philipscom
    An ambassador to A to Z Challenge @ Tina's Life is Good
    And My Bio-blog