Flavors of Inner Monologues

@midjourneybot: /imagine: flavors of inner monologues

In 2015, Pixar released a movie set entirely inside the head of a little girl titled, “Inside Out”. The movie is cute and funny, despite the fact that the little girl is overcoming the sadness of moving to a new school in a new town.

Joy is appropriately played by Amy Poehler and Anger is played by Lewis Black (also well cast). There are also characters who represent Fear, Disgust, and Sadness. They all wrestle for control over this little girl’s life and getting Joy “back in charge” is the pursuit of the movie. This one is fun to watch with your kids.

We all share some deep fundamental forces from our subconscious that can be categorized, just like the movie. These fundamental forces make it easier to predict how people respond under various circumstances. In the “Gardening our Thoughts” metaphor, these forces are like the big trees in our yard that we can’t move. These big forces dictate who we are.

Psychologists and behavioral scientists have developed frameworks and models to test and describe these big subconscious forces. Some examples include the Caliper Profile, 16 Personality Factor, SHL Occupational Personality, HEXACO Personality Inventory, NEO Personality Inventory, Eysenck Personality Inventory, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and the DISC personality test.

The most popular “personality tests” are probably the Myers-Briggs and DISC profile. I identify as an “E-N-F-P” and “DI” on those. These profiles are somewhat useful at predicting my behavior, but the most useful personality profiler that I know is called the Enneagram. More than 50 of my friends, family, and coworkers have allowed me to measure their enneagrams so I can find subtle patterns in all our behaviors. 🤓

The Enneagram

My favorite book to understand the Enneagram is called, “The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery” by Ian Morgan Cron.

I also like the “Road Back to You” podcast:

The other book I like is “Understanding the Enneagram: The Practical Guide to Personality Types” by Don Riso.

The Enneagram is slightly controversial because no one knows where it came from. Some claim it was invented by a Christian mystic in the 4th century, in Alexandria, Egypt. We know that in the early 1900’s, a Chilean psychologist brought it to the United States and drew the nine-sided symbol we have today. It was later popularized in the 1970’s by Don Riso and Richard Rohr.

The Enneagram divides the personalities within us into 9 separate types. Each type is given a number, but the numbers are arbitrary. What matters to each type is its motivation. Three of the types are motivated by anger, three are motivated by fear, and three are motivated by shame.

For example, in the “anger triad” there is The Challenger (Type 8), The Peacemaker (Type 9) and The Perfectionist (Type 1). Challengers are motivated by anger and they show it by directing it outwards towards other people. They are impulsive and aggressive. Peacemakers are motivated by avoiding anger all together, so they rarely experience it. Peacemakers will even fall asleep in the middle of a heated argument like they have narcolepsy. Perfectionists direct their anger inward, onto themselves. Perfectionists have the meanest inner monologues of any type.

You know how animals have a fight, flight, or freeze response when confronted by enemies? Well challengers fight, peacemakers flee, and perfectionists freeze due to paralysis by analysis. It’s difficult to pick the best way forward when every option has something wrong with it.

We all have all of these voices inside us, but for whatever reason each person relies on some of these motivations more than others. For example, here’s my full Enneagram: 7-8-5-2-6-3-4-1-9. That means that most of the time I am motivated by The Enthusiast (Type 7). The Challenger (Type 8) is my second strongest influence and you can see that I’m not much of a Perfectionist (Type 1) or a Peacemaker(Type 9). Those are the last motivations that come to my mind. 👊

The best way to learn about each of these “voices” in our heads is to hear the inner monologues from each type. The following examples are from Cron’s book, “The Road Back to You”. See if you can figure out which Enneagram is most like the voice in your own head.


Enneagram 8: The Challenger

What it’s like to be an Eight:

  • When I walk into a room I know immediately who has the most power.

  • I have been told that I'm too blunt and aggressive.

  • Doing things halfway is not my spiritual gift.

  • It's hard for me to trust people.

  • Justice is worth fighting for.

  • I can sniff out other people's weaknesses the first time I meet them.

  • I make decisions fast and from the gut.

  • Don't mess with the people I love.

  • I have no problem confronting a bully.

  • Under my tough exterior is a tender, loving heart.

All my Eight-friends are more muscular than average people. They are impulsive and completely intolerant of bullying, despite the fact that bullying is their go-to move in any conflict.

The harder their exterior shell is to others, the softer they are on the inside to those they love. On their outside, Eights wear steel-plated armor studded with spikes, but on the inside, they are made out of warm cookie chip cookies. 🥰

Famous eights include Mark Cuban, Pink, Serena Williams, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Chelsea Handler, and Pablo Picasso.

Eights are approximately 6.3% of the population. Tap the image below to learn more.

Text this to a person who is definitely an Enneagram 8. 👊

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Enneagram 9: The Peacemaker

What it’s like to be a Nine:

  • I'm not a self-starter.

  • People seem to want me to be more decisive.

  • When I get distracted and go off task I give my attention to whatever is happening right in front of me.

  • I'll do almost anything to avoid conflict.

  • I find routines at work and home comforting, and I feel unsettled when something throws them off.

  • Others see me as more peaceful than I really am.

  • I don't think of myself as being very important.

  • I am often quietly stubborn when people put demands on me.

  • It would feel selfish to spend a whole day doing whatever I want to do.

My wife is a Nine. She and my Nine-friends are some of the most likeable, loveable people you will ever meet. They seem to blend in perfectly with any group because they automatically take on the persona of the entire group.

Nines always try to hide in group photos and they are usually the last to speak up in conference room meetings. Nines rarely use the pronoun “I”. My wife will tell me that “we” need to go to the store even though she never means me.

Famous nines include James Taylor, Princess Grace, Abraham Lincoln, Claude Monet, Queen Elizabeth II, Barak Obama, Walt Disney, Zooey Deschanel, Morgan Freeman, and Alicia Keys.

Nines are approximately 16.2% of the population. Tap the image below to learn more.

Text this to a person who is definitely an Enneagram 9. ✌️

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Enneagram 1: The Perfectionist

What it’s like to be a One:

  • People have told me I can be overly critical and judgmental.

  • I beat myself up when I make mistakes.

  • I don't like it when people ignore or break the rules, like when the person in the fast lane at the grocery store has more items than allowed.

  • It is hard for me to let go of resentment.

  • I think it is my responsibility to leave the world better than I found it.

  • I have a lot of self-discipline.

  • It seems to me that things are either right or wrong.

  • Forgiveness is hard for me.

  • I do my best when working on a project, and I wish others would do the same, so I wouldn't have to redo their work.

I have never met a One who is overweight. Their inner monologues are so harsh, that they have 0% obesity rate no matter what race, gender, or language group they are from. Their brain hardware is just amazing at finding problems. In more than ten interviews with Enneagram Ones, I asked them to consider the following scenario:

“Imagine a room in an old schoolhouse that has large green chalkboards on every wall. Before we arrived, I went into this room and covered every square inch of those chalkboards with random words from the dictionary. Out of the thousands and thousands of words I have scribbled across these boards, I chose to intentionally misspell just one of them at random. Now, what are the odds that, for whatever reason, when you walk into this room you are already staring at the misspelled word?”

THEY ALL SAY 100%.

No matter how ridiculously impossible I make the schoolhouse scenario sound, they tell me a similar story of something crazy like that happening earlier that same day. 💯

Famous ones include Steve Jobs, Venus Williams, Mahatma Gandhi, Natalie Portman, Michelle Obama, Matt Damon, and Nelson Mandela.

Ones are approximately 8.9% of the population. Tap the image below to learn more.

Text this to a person who is definitely an Enneagram 1. ✋

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Enneagram 2: The Helper

What it’s like to be a Two:

  • When it comes to taking care of others, I don't know how or when to say no.

  • I am anxious to overcome misunderstandings in a relationship.

  • I feel drawn to influential or powerful people.

  • People think I'm psychic because I usually know what other people need or want.

  • Even people I don't know well share deep stuff about their lives with me.

  • I'm more comfortable giving than receiving.

  • When people ask me what I need, I have no idea how to answer.

  • Sometimes it is hard for me to watch movies because I find it almost unbearable to see people suffer.

  • I worry a lot about being forgiven when I make mistakes.

My youngest daughter is a Two and it’s wonderful. She shows up with a new coffee or tea the second my glass is only half full. Ironically, Two’s spend so much of their attention on others that they struggle to take care of themselves.

My Two-friends all have larger eyes for their face than the average person and their faces are generally more round and bubbly. They all talk a lot. They will constantly try to stuff you with food, usually that they cooked. Twos have more kinetic energy than all the other types—Twos and Sevens never stop moving.

Famous twos include Jessica Alba, Celine Dion, Jennifer Garner, Margot Robbie, Henry Cavill, Roger Federer, and Stevie Wonder.

Twos are approximately 8.5% of the population. Tap the image below to learn more.

Text this to a person who is definitely an Enneagram 2. 🫶

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Enneagram 3: The Achiever

What it’s like to be a Three:

  • It's important for me to come across as a winner.

  • I love walking in a room and knowing I'm making a great first impression on the crowd.

  • I could persuade Bill Gates to buy a Mac.

  • I know how to airbrush failure so it looks like success.

  • I'd rather lead than follow any day.

  • I am competitive to a fault.

  • I keep a close watch on how people are responding to me in the moment.

  • It's hard for me to name or access my feelings.

  • Sometimes I feel like a phony.

  • I like other people to know about my accomplishments.

My Three-friends are better looking than average people, including the men. Threes are usually dressed well on every occasion, even hanging out at home. Threes make checklists constantly and punch out things on those lists more than any other type. Threes are all good at mimicking voices and can usually sing well even if they’ve never tried. If Threes were a Marvel Superhero they would be Mystique—they can imitate everyone but struggle to know who they really are inside. Many Hollywood actors are Enneagram Threes.

Famous threes include Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Beyonce Knowles, Tom Cruise, Muhammed Ali, Kacey Musgraves, and Reese Witherspoon.

Threes are approximately 10.5% of the population. Tap the image below to learn more.

Text this to a person who is definitely an Enneagram 3. 💪

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Enneagram 4: The Individualist

What it’s like to be a Four:

  • I like things that are unconventional, dramatic, and refined. I'm definitely not a fan of the ordinary.

  • I never really felt like I belonged.

  • I have so many feelings in a day it's hard to know which ones to pay attention to first.

  • Melancholy is comfortable for me, so it's annoying when people try to cheer me up.

  • I'm not like everyone else . . . phew.

  • I'm self-conscious. It's hard for me to find my place in a room full of people.

  • I'm either an artist or highly creative. I come up with one amazing, creative idea after another. It's executing them that's hard.

  • I pull people in, but then I get nervous and push them away.

My Four-friends are more talented at writing and design than the average person. Their songs and poems are introspective and the interiors of their houses strongly project the interiors of their minds.

Famous fours include Billie Eilish, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Prince, Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Sylvia Plath, Prince Charles, Donald Glover, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Kurt Cobain.

Fours are approximately 15% of the population. Tap the image below to learn more.

Text this to a person who is definitely an Enneagram 4. ✍️

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Enneagram 5: The Investigator

What it’s like to be a Five:

  • I don't always say things out loud, but in my head I am pretty sarcastic and cynical.

  • I'm okay if people ask me a few specific questions about myself, but I don't like it when people want too much information

  • I need time alone.

  • I think thoughts are more reliable than feelings.

  • I need a couple of days to process an experience or know how I feel about something.

  • Often I find that I would rather observe than participate.

  • I can't understand why people get together to "just hang out."

  • I often felt invisible as a child. Sometimes as an adult I choose to be invisible.

  • In groups, being uninformed makes me very uncomfortable.

  • Material possessions don't make me happy.

My Five-friends are very quiet and usually indifferent to their clothing and appearance. They are often really smart because they read to avoid their deep fear of being uninformed or unprepared in life. Fives always seem more disconnected from groups than the other types, despite the fact that most groups seem to really enjoy them. Most nerds have a lot of 5 in them, like me.

Famous fives include Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Agatha Christie, Stephen King, Mark Zuckerberg, Emily Dickinson, Tim Burton, Stephen Hawking, Christopher Nolan, Jordan Peterson, Aristotle, Bobby Fisher, and Bill Belichick.

Fives are approximately 4.8% of the population. Tap the image below to learn more.

Text this to a person who is definitely an Enneagram 5. 🖖

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Enneagram 6: The Loyal Skeptic

What it’s like to be a Six:

  • I'm always imagining and planning for the worst.

  • People say I am loyal, understanding, funny and compassionate.

  • I act quickly in a crisis, but when things settle down I fall apart.

  • When my partner and I are doing really well in our relationship I find myself wondering what will happen to spoil it.

  • Being sure I've made the right decision is almost impossible.

  • I don't like to find myself in unpredictable situations.

  • I'm most comfortable when I'm around people who are pretty much like me.

  • I have to know people for a long time before I can really trust them.

  • I am skeptical of things that are new and unknown.

Sixes remind me of Samwise Gamgee from “The Lord of the Rings”. They hate being there, they don’t think anything is going to end well, but they are the last people to leave a crisis. Their tremendous fear of abandonment makes them the most loyal friends.

My Six-friends are really practical and prefer concrete examples. They all seem to hate change and love history more than the average person. Whenever I’m driving through the country and see a bunch of people in a field dressed up like soldiers reenacting the Revolutionary War I think, “there’s a field full of Sixes.”

Famous sixes include Mark Twain, Ben Affleck, Joe Biden, Prince Harry, Jennifer Aniston, Michael Moore, Julia Roberts, Bruce Springsteen, Ellen Degeneres, David Letterman, Eminem, Tom Hanks, and David Sedaris. Lots of comedians are Enneagram 6-7.

Sixes are approximately 16.1% of the population. Tap the image below to learn more.

Text this to a person who is definitely an Enneagram 6. 🤝

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Enneagram 7: The Enthusiast

What it’s like to be a Seven:

  • I'm always the first person up for a last-minute adventure.

  • I am an optimist to a fault.

  • I don't like committing to calendar appointments.

  • People close to me say I can be argumentative and act superior.

  • Sometimes I get so eager for the future I can hardly wait for it to get here.

  • It's hard for me to finish things. When I get close to the end of a project I start thinking about the next thing, and then I get so excited I sometimes just move on.

  • I usually avoid heavy conversations and confrontations that make me feel sad inside.

  • I'm popular and have lots of friends.

  • Almost everything can be more fun and entertaining with a little effort.

  • I think people worry more than they should.

  • Life is better than people imagine. It's all about how you explain things to yourself.

  • I don't like it when people have expectations of me.

The inner monologue for me and my Seven-friends is almost the opposite of Sixes. Sixes spend a lot of time ruminating about the past, while most thoughts of the Seven are set in the future. What am I going to eat next? What country should I visit next? What book should I read next?

Sevens love risk and excitement. Here’s a list of jobs from personalitycafe.com that are disproportionately performed by Enneagram 7 wing 8, “Wrestlers, high-tech entrepreneurs, lion tamers, drug dealers, con artists, loud and wild rock stars, screaming DJs. Others are more moderate, becoming TV weather forecasters, comedians, clowns, actors, or dancers.”

Sevens are the “Peter Pan” of the Enneagram and feel young to be around, even into their seventies and eighties. A Seven is an incredibly curious jack-of-all-trades, but master-of-none. And finisher-of-none.

Famous sevens include Elton John, John F. Kennedy, Miley Cyrus, Freddie Mercury, Britney Spears, Russell Brand, Robert Downey Jr, Tiffany Haddish, Sacha Baron Cohen, Robin Williams, Jason Momoa, Jim Carrey, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Richard Branson, Lil Nas X, and Oscar Wilde.

Sevens are approximately 13.7% of the population. Tap the image below to learn more.

Text this to a person who is definitely an Enneagram 7. 🤘

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There’s no right or wrong Enneagram Type. The most highly effective teams have the strongest diversification of types because they cover each other's blind spots. If an NBA team had only point guards or only centers, they would lose every single game.

Levels of Healthiness

Within each Enneagram Type, there are multiple “Levels of Healthiness”. I won’t go through all the types, so let’s use Enneagram 7 as an example. Here are the Levels of Healthiness for Sevens from best to worst:

  • Ecstatic gratitude

  • Spontaneous enthusiasm

  • Passionate accomplishment

  • Active materialism

  • Restless superficiality

  • Addictive excess

  • Irresponsible debauchery

  • Manic hysteria

  • Burnt-out debilitation

As you can see, each Enneagram is a double-edged sword. Our special abilities also create our unique weaknesses. For example, sevens are addicts. They are addicted to learning, addicted to adventure, and addicted to life. They wake up every day loving life, but that enthusiasm can lead to drug addiction much faster than the other types. I bet more than half of the people who have been in drug rehab more than three times are Enneagram Sevens.

Each of the types have their own unique vulnerabilities. When someone dies of anorexia, they were most likely an Enneagram One. The amount of anger they direct inward toward their imperfections literally kills them.

I also know of Enneagram Sixes who have died because they were too stubborn to go to the doctor.

Measuring your Enneagram will have a tremendous impact on the way you see yourself, the way you forgive yourself, and the way you manage yourself. There are several tools to measure Enneagrams, but I prefer the RHETI at EnneagramInstitute.com. It will cost you $12 and about an hour of your time.

I also recommend that your spouse and kids measure their Enneagrams too. It has improved the communication in our family tremendously. Today, we parent each kid differently because we all know how different our motivations are. We don’t want our kids to be more like us, or more like their friends, we want them to be more of who they already are.


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