Enneagram, Personal Growth

The Futile Chase – Part II

In the previous post, I explained what “The Futile Chase” is and how that plays out for the first four Enneagram types. Today, I will provide a brief overview of the unique desires and fears of the other five types and how they can keep us confined in our box. As with the other types, it is only when we stop chasing our desires with such desperation that we finally achieve what we’ve wanted all along.

(Please note: A true understanding of the types requires an explanation of their dominant traits and directions of growth and stress, among other things. A more comprehensive explanation of each type’s chase — which is presented in detail in my book Out of the Box — can help prevent mistyping. Nonetheless, I believe the following can be helpful in conveying the idea of The Futile Chase.)

  • The Five’s basic desire is to acquire knowledge and clarity, to understand the world they live in, and to feel confident and secure by staying informed. Their exceptional curiosity and focusing abilities, combined with their excellent analytical skills, indeed allows them to make many observations and discoveries about the world around them. The chase develops as their desire to gain knowledge becomes an end in itself, preventing them from being truly present or developing real relationships. As they become lost in their mental constructs, they lose their gifts of objectivity and begin feeling a lack of groundedness and social connection, leading to paranoia and conspiracy theories. The result is a fearful person whose extreme views leads to isolation, which further prevents true objectivity and informed thinking. Only after they give up the chase and become more present and committed to stepping out of their intellectual world to maintain social connections, do they become truly innovative, objective thinkers who feel secure both in their private, intellectual world, as well as when interacting with the world around them.
  • The Six’s basic desire is to feel secure, to be supported and guided by others, and to fight against their anxieties and fears, and they indeed develop strong support systems, thanks to their exceptional warmth and loyalty and their commitment to their families and workplaces. The chase develops as their desire for security and guidance leads them to constantly seek security and advice from others, thus preventing them from developing their own inner confidence. Additionally, as they take extreme measures to protect themselves from danger (whether related to their health, safety, or the well-being of family members), their preoccupation with potential threats increases their level of anxiety. The result is a person who lacks a strong inner compass and lives with constant fear and self-doubt. Only after they give up the chase and learn to develop their own inner voice, as well as to take reasonable precautions and then let go of their worries, do they finally begin living with a true sense of inner calm, stability, and security.
  • The Seven’s basic desire is to be stimulated by new ideas, people and experiences; to maintain their freedom and happiness; and to avoid pain and deprivation. Sevens are indeed blessed with enthusiasm, optimism, and true joie de vivre, making them busy extroverts who are always involved in one thing or another. The chase develops as their intense desire to avoid unhappiness and boredom causes them to jump from thing to thing and neglect their responsibilities. The result is a scattered, undependable person with numerous uncompleted projects and problems in school, at work, and in relationships. Only after they give up the chase and learn to become more self-disciplined and focused do they actualize their potential and begin living truly joyful, productive lives.
  • The Eight’s basic desire is to protect themselves, to be independent, to resist weakness, and to stay in control of situations. Eights are indeed blessed with energy, confidence, and leadership and organizational skills. The chase develops as their desire to avoid weakness and vulnerability causes them to become suspicious, aggressive and obsessed with protecting themselves from any potential threat. The result is a person who is unnecessarily wary and confrontational, often bringing problems into their life due to their lack of diplomacy. Only after they give up the chase and learn to surrender—letting go of their need to control every aspect of their life and every potential development—do they finally begin to avoid fear-based decisions, to lead with kindness instead of with intimidation, and to live with true inner peace and serenity.
  • The Nine’s basic desire is to create harmony in their environment, to avoid conflict, and to be at peace, and Nines are indeed blessed with an easygoing, complacent nature and a diplomatic, agreeable communication style. The chase develops as their desire to avoid friction and discomfort causes them to ignore problems and become overly accommodating and self-effacing in their relationships. The result is even greater friction and discomfort, as lack of assertiveness and ambition brings the pain of unrealized potential; neglect of responsibilities causes unaddressed problems to keep growing; and unspoken resentment results in passive-aggressiveness in relationships. Only after they give up the chase do they learn to exert themselves enough to achieve goals, to confront small problems before they grow too big, and to have the occasional uncomfortable conversation to avoid living with resentment. Thus, by learning not to escape from discomfort they actually begin living with true inner peace and tranquility.

I hope the brief explanations above help to explain how The Futile Chase prevents us from realizing our desires, and how when we stop chasing after our desires with such intensity and desperation, we can finally emerge from our box and achieve real growth.

I welcome your comments and questions below.

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