The Enneagram - Type 7 (The Enthusiast)
The Enthusiast is the seventh personality type in the Enneagram. Exuberant, enthusiastic and optimistic, Type 7s are lovers of fun and adventure. They crave new experiences and usually have many projects on the go at once.
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Enthusiasts approach life with a sense of wonder that others might not be able to understand. Wherever they look, they see new opportunities and adventures around every corner. Like a kid in a candy store, the array of exciting choices entices them. Truly extrovert, they jump headlong into new things without fear of how they will do. In fact, Enthusiasts are good at most things they try. Incredibly quick learners, they find mastery of new skills easy and painless. With sharp minds and great mind-body coordination, they excel in both intellectual and physical activities. At school they are both all-round achievers and the life and soul of the party!
Type 7s adore variety. In a work setting, they are an excellent source of innovative and unusual ideas. Their mind jumps quickly from one idea to the next, so they are excellent at brainstorming, but may find sticking with one topic challenging. They enjoy every day at work to the fullest, excited by the opportunities the day will bring, and bring a cheerful and positive attitude to the workplace. Juggling many different projects at once is no problem for them. In fact, they prefer their work to be varied and demanding.
Despite their cheerful and optimistic nature, Enthusiasts have a deep unspoken anxiety that no one would ever know they had. Even Type 7s themselves are rarely aware of where their deep-seated anxiety comes from, or even the existence of it.
The Neurotic Aspects
This anxiety stems from the fear that in this world of endless experiences and opportunities, they will not be able to find the experience or situation that truly satisfies them. Type 7s can tell the difference between enjoyment and true satisfaction, and as much as they love enjoying experiences to the fullest, their deepest desire is for true satisfaction. They find it difficult to stick to any one thing because they are afraid they will miss the key that will lead to their true satisfaction.
They try to deal with this anxiety and fear in two different ways:
1. They try to stay on the go, keeping themselves busy with new experiences and projects. They move from one activity to the next, without time to stop and feel any negative or difficult feelings.
2. Instead of making decisions that will take them closer to their true satisfaction, they choose options that will lead to temporary fun and enjoyment. This is almost an insurance against unhappiness, their reasoning being that it is too hard to find real satisfaction and fun is a more attainable goal.
These strategies for dealing with anxiety and fear can have destructive consequences. Type 7s may become greedy and amoral, prioritizing fun and enjoyment above all else. It can lead to extramarital affairs and deteriorating friendships as they crave variety and struggle to remain loyal.
When Enthusiasts compromise on their true satisfaction and chase other goals, they compromise their well-being. As their anxiety increases, they pursue their chosen goal with more speed and force and their sense of judgment becomes skewed. Their intense mental activity prevents them from being able to enjoy anything at all, and they become frustrated and angry as their anxiety mounts. If they continue denying their true needs and pressing down the wrong road, they may end up making decisions that compromise their family life, job, health or financial situations.
For Enthusiasts to turn their lives around and achieve personal growth, they should aim to get back in touch with their inner guidance. One reason Type 7s fill their lives with activity is to avoid listening to their emotions. It would benefit them to learn to be still. At first, this might be unbearable as they allow themselves to experience their feelings of anxiety and uncertainty about their true contentment, but if they stick with it, they will reap the rewards. It is by listening to these uncomfortable feelings that they will be able to work out what they don’t want, and eventually, what they do want. This is crucial for their self-development.
When Enthusiasts create distance between themselves and their experience, they can use their thought and feeling processes to discern what will make them truly satisfied. Then they can work out if the activities and experiences they choose to engage in will help them get closer to where they really want to go. As they work on their self-development, their judgment will improve and they can begin to build confidence in their decisions. When Type 7s are working towards their true purpose, they radiate even more joy and enthusiasm. They can still fully experience life, but now their actions are driven by confidence and resolve rather than an anxious uncertainty. Their pure pleasure at just existing is inspiring and uplifting to those around them, and others are glad just to be in their presence.
- Iman Mohiki
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