“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood and I—
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.” -
- Robert Frost
This is perhaps one of my favorite poetic excerpts of all time, and it would be an accurate description of my life. Indeed, there are also times when I wish I lived a more conventional life- staying in one place and growing roots instead of moving and exploring the roads of the world.
Now that we have been living and also surviving in a pandemic for the last year, I have discovered many new things about myself, and even though it wasn’t entirely a thing of my own volition, I have changed quite a bit from the person I was pre-pandemic because I have adjusted my priorities in life through the process of self-discovery.
All of us have had our lives disrupted, affected or altered by the new norms of social-distancing and the ever-present threat of illness. Basic things we took for granted, such as going to the movies, getting a haircut or enjoying a brunch with friends, are now difficult, if not impossible to navigate safely. The extensive and oppressive rules of safely quarantining take us away from most of society at large and thus have presented us plenty of opportunities to think, evaluate and assess our lives alone. So, stumbling upon some surprising feelings during self-discovery is also inevitable.
Reaping the Benefits of Self Discovery: Be Willing to Accept Change!
An interesting way to assess if there has been any significant personal change in us recently is to do a new personality test. Even if you’ve done many kinds before, during this particular time and space in the year 2021- so much has changed around us that the new energy, thoughts and emotions swirling inside us might reveal something surprising, pleasing and even inspiring.
I have given a very brief description courtesy of the Enneagram Institute of the nine types to pique your interest here sufficiently. The real study takes quite a bit of time and dedication, so be prepared to take on a little project that could have big results!
This sort of thing could have a positive impact on your life, and it could change your life dramatically if you find out your passions lie elsewhere now than where they once were, even a few months ago! Yes, change is good! You can even find a professional who has a degree and experience in guiding people through the Enneagram analysis process in depth and can provide personalized input to give to you.
Do any or many of these strike a chord with you? Could you have been one before and see yourself wanting to transition into a new role? A self-discovery journey via an Enneagram study might be a good start. Take your time with it and delve into some research online.
1 THE REFORMER
The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled and Perfectionistic
These personality types are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders and advocates for change: always striving to improve things but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards but are critical and perfectionistic. They have problems with resentment and impatience.
2 THE HELPER
The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing and Possessive
Helpers, as the name implies, are empathetic, sincere and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous and self-sacrificing. They are also sentimental, flattering and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others but can slip into doing things for others in order to feel needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs. At their best: unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others.
3 THE ACHIEVER
The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven and Image-Conscious
The achiever is self-assured, attractive and charming. Ambitious, competent and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At their best: self-accepting, authentic, everything they seem to be—role models who inspire others.
4 THE INDIVIDUALIST
The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed and Temperamental
As original thinkers they are self-aware, sensitive and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence and self-pity. At their best: inspired and highly creative, they are able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.
5 THE INVESTIGATOR
The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive and Isolated
This persona is alert, insightful and curious. They can concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism and isolation. At their best: visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time and able to see the world in an entirely new way.
6 THE LOYALIST
The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious and Suspicious
The committed, security-oriented type, they are reliable, hard-working, responsible and trustworthy. Excellent troubleshooters, they foresee problems and foster cooperation but also become defensive, evasive and anxious—running on stress while complaining about it. They are cautious and indecisive, but reactive, defiant and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion. At their best: internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing themselves and others.
7 THE ENTHUSIAST
The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractable and Scattered
These people are extroverted, optimistic, versatile and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous and satisfied.
8 THE CHALLENGER
The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful and Confrontational
They are self-confident, strong and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable. At their best: self- mastering, they use their strength to improve others’ lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous and inspiring.
9 THE PEACEMAKER
The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable and Complacent
Nines are accepting, trusting and stable. They are creative, optimistic and supportive, but also too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but they can also tend to be complacent, simplifying problems and minimizing anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. At their best: indomitable and all-embracing, they bring people together and heal conflicts.