Curious and Inventive. Enneagram #5

Curious and Inventive. Enneagram #5

A Visionary pioneer who was ahead of her time and able to see the world in an entirely new way, Georgia O’Keeffe is a perfect example of the Enneagram Five.

Alert, insightful, curious and inventive best describes a Five. At their worse: they become detached, high-strung and intense and have problems with eccentricity and isolation. 

Fives want to find out why things are the way they are

Sometimes called the “Investigator, Fives want to understand how the world works, whether it is the cosmos, the microscopic world, or the inner world of their imaginations. They are always searching and asking questions. They do not readily accept others opinions and doctrines.

Exploring what is already familiar and well-established does not interest a Five

A Five draws their attention to the unusual, the overlooked, the bizarre, and the “unthinkable.” Investigating “unknown territory”—knowing something that others do not know or creating something that no one has ever experienced—allows Fives to have a niche for themselves that no one else occupies. It may be the world of mathematics, or the world of rock and roll, or classical music, or car mechanics, or horror and science fiction, or a world entirely created in their imagination. They focus intensely on mastering something that has captured their interest.

The areas that Fives explore do not depend on social validation

If others agree with their ideas too readily, Fives tend to fear that their ideas might be too conventional. History is full of famous Fives who overturned accepted ways of understanding or doing things (Darwin, Einstein, Nietzsche). 

The intense focus of Fives can thus lead to remarkable discoveries and innovations

However, when the personality is more fixated, it can also create self-defeating problems. This is because their focus of attention serves to distract them from their most pressing practical problems. Fives tend not to deal with these issues. Rather, they find something else to do that will make them feel more competent. For example, as a marine biologist, a Five could learn everything there is to know about a type of shellfish, but if her fear is that she is never going to be able to run her own household adequately, she will not have solved her underlying anxiety.

The challenge to Fives is to understand that they can pursue whatever sparks their imaginations and maintain relationships, take proper care of themselves, and do all the things that are the hallmarks of a healthy life.

How to Solve the Problem

Instead of waiting until you think you’re ready, just start. Start now or you never will. If it’s writing, sit down at your computer, set a time for fifteen minutes, and don’t let yourself stop typing for those fifteen minutes. If you need accountability, email someone who has done a similar project and ask for guidance. You can refine and edit later.

Don’t spend your life planning your dreams instead of living them.

Famous Fives: Albert Einstein, Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O’Keeffe, Salvador Dali, Annie Liebovitz, Emily Dickinson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Agatha Christie, Stephen King, Jane Goodall, David Byrne, Peter Gabriel, Alfred Hitchcock, Marlene Dietrich, Stanley Kubrick, Tim Burton, Jodie Foster, “The Far Side” Gary Larson.

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