The Enneagram is a powerful tool for personal and collective transformation. Stemming from the Greek words ennea (nine) and grammos (a written symbol), the nine-pointed Enneagram symbol represents nine distinct strategies for relating to the self, others and the world.
Type Seven Overview
We have named this personality type The Enthusiast because Sevens are enthusiastic about almost everything that catches their attention. They approach life with curiosity, optimism, and a sense of adventure, like “kids in a candy store” who look at the world in wide-eyed, rapt anticipation of all the good things they are about to experience. They are bold and vivacious, pursuing what they want in life with a cheerful determination. They have a quality best described by the Yiddish word “chutzpah”—a kind of brash “nerviness.”
Clearly, I am a Seven on the Enneagram. If you want to find out more about your type, Google Enneagram Test, and take the test. I am pretty cheerful and upbeat, and tend to put out of my mind negative events that have happened to me. If I didn’t have this trait, I’d probably be institutionalized, but my attitude is “why hold onto painful memories?”. As I work on the memoir about my father I am forced to recall some painful experiences, but I make myself turn these into jokes, as any Seven would.
Several years ago I was at a workshop about Sevens in Asheville led by Dr. Sandra Smith. We participants marveled at our crazily similar personality traits and then moved on to the therapeutic portion of the day. We paired off and our partner repeated again and again, “Tell me about a disappointing event in your personal life.”
I was able to recall three or four, and then I was stumped. I couldn’t remember any more, and there were still thirteen minutes to fill with my sad disappointments. Sandra was my partner and encouraged me, “Come on, think! Surely you can remember more of these!”
I felt stupid because I couldn’t think of any more negative experiences. “So Sandra,” I begged. “Can’t we stop now? I am at a loss!”
“NO!” she stated. “The flip side of Sevens is that they can be superficial because they hold onto only cheerful memories and refuse to experience deep sadness.”
I acknowledged that it might make me superficial, but I preferred to be superficial and happy than deep and well-balanced. She was disappointed in me, but I must admit that most of the disappointments I have faced have turned into blessings. It’s hard to call those things negative.
I have taken lots of risks in my life, and have come out whole on the other side. When I was a college student studying abroad, my friend Lisa Lemieux and I hitchhiked all over Europe. We had pretty good luck getting rides while practicing our French. There were some long stretches where we had to stand in the rain with our thumbs out, but we encountered mainly friendly people and eventually arrived at our destinations.
We encountered problems only on our trip to Barcelona. We had stood forever, it seemed, in deserted French country towns between rides. It was dark and we were cold and tired. A car approached and stopped for us, however, and we ran to get in. The car was packed with drunk American frat boys, and we hesitated but squeezed in when they told us they were heading to Barcelona, as we were. As we careened down the narrow country roads, Lisa and I were convinced we’d end up in a ditch or worse. The boys laughed and continued drinking cans of beer, throwing empties out the windows, and just drove faster. We arrived in one piece in Barcelona, though, and asked to be dropped off in a large square. It was midnight, but the streets were full of people and we found a decent place to stay with no trouble. Car crash averted!
We approached a border crossing into Andorra, high up in the Pyrenees, and were really confused and flustered. We were a long way from Marseilles. Once through the border crossing, the driver turned down a dirt road to a deserted barn and stopped the truck. He climbed down and walked around to the passenger side. He grabbed Lisa and squeezed her breasts, then reached for me. I had bought a heavy package of blue and white pottery in Spain and swung it to hit him on the side of his head as I jumped down. We dropped all of our stuff and took off running. He started to chase us, but then decided against it. Eventually, we could hear him from our hiding place as he pulled away. Later we learned that polite women didn’t hitchhike in Spain. Only prostitutes did so. He had imagined a fun threesome and was probably confused about why we didn’t play. We did eventually manage to get to Marseilles late that night, and back to Neuchatel the following day.
When I lived in Charlotte I had a psychic reading by Marianne Starnes. She told me that I was being watched over by a guardian angel named Jade. It makes good sense to me, as it explains all my many escapes from close calls. This morning when I pulled on my Lucky Brand jeans I noticed stitching on the zipper tab: “Lucky you!” it says.
I’m a number Seven and I am lucky! Can’t beat that! Thanks, Jade.