I recently came across a thoughtful piece by Joe Kissell on Instant Messaging for Introverts.

A common misconception about the word “introvert” is that it means someone who’s shy, withdrawn, afraid of crowds, or lacking in social skills.

If you’re an introvert, like myself, I think you’ll find it interesting and helpful. I certainly did.

If you’re not an introvert then I’d still recommend it. It gives some valuable insight that may improve your understanding of, and communication with, the introverts in your life.

I took the quick Kiersey Temperament Sorter test at that Joe links to. I’m always a little skeptical of these kinds of tests that depend on answers to difficult to answer questions. Anyway, it labeled me an “Artisan, Composer“, for what it’s worth. The description seemed a good fit, mostly.

That’s an ISFP Myers-Briggs type. My wife thinks I’m probably an ISTP. Being my wife, and a psychotherapist, she might be right.

I find the Enneagram more interesting as a personal personality type indicator, partly because it acknowledges a range of personality development, from health to unhealthy. As well as gifts and aptitudes, we all have some unhelpful thought patterns, areas we’d like to improve, issues we struggle with. Most personality measures gloss over these.

“If my devils are to leave me, I am afraid my angels will take flight as well.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke

The Enneagramm certainly has its critics, but I recognize my self in the description of my type. My fears and my desires, my angels and my devils.

My type may, at best …

Level 1: Become visionaries, broadly comprehending the world while penetrating it profoundly. Open-minded, take things in whole, in their true context. Make pioneering discoveries and find entirely new ways of doing and perceiving things.

or, at worst …

Level 9: Seeking oblivion, they may commit suicide or have a psychotic break with reality. Deranged, explosively self-destructive, with schizophrenic overtones. Generally corresponds to the Schizoid Avoidant and Schizotypal personality disorders.

I’m not close to either of those extremes. But I recognize both of them.

“By enhancing one’s self awareness with the help of the Enneagram, one can exercise more choice about one’s functioning rather than engaging in patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior in an automatic, habitual, unconscious way”

Go find your self!

Postscript: I paused a day or so before posting the above, wondering if it was wise. Wondering, especially, if it was likely to be misunderstood. Now, after a couple more days, I think it’s worth adding a little postscript.

I approach my self and my life (mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual) with the same curiosity and interest with which I approach my work. The engineer part of me wants to know how it works. How I work. How the pieces of my life fit together.

… to let no day pass without discussing goodness and all the other subjects about which you hear me talking and examining both myself and others, [this] is really the very best thing that a man (or women) can do, and that life without this sort of examination is not worth living …”