I tweet like the 5 I am. You know when I’m on Twitter because there is a constant stream of information flowing your way. I always want to know more, and there is always more to know. The information flies at me fast, and I skim, read,, comment, and pass along as much of it as I can. Understanding that I am a 5 on the Enneagram has helped me understand why and how I use social media the way I do, and also I can more effectively work for justice.
It helps to know how you are wired. Knowing I am not a 1 helps me to not feel guilty for not physically being on the front lines organizing some kind of march or meeting or training. I am not a 9. I am not going to be an effective bridge-builder or peacemaker. Knowing who I am and who I am not is freeing, because I am not trying to become someone that I can never be.
My strength is in knowing things, and it turns out that knowing what is true and is not true is super important to the well-being of our society!
Amplifying the news that is true and important is needed. The airport protests didn’t happen just because people organized them. They happened both because they were organized and because people spread the news about the ban and spread the news about the protests. They happened because people were informed and engaged.
But not everyone is aware. Not everyone wants to get involved, and that has been something I’ve been learning lately. There are limits to what you can do, even when you are doing what you do best.
I thought that if I disseminated good information, if people knew true things, then they would care. I thought lack of empathy meant lack of knowledge, and if I could just spread the information, then everyone would jump on board. ‘Oh this is terrible, I just had no idea. Of course I agree with you and must get involved’.
But that actually is not the case. I mean, look – there are still people out there who have never heard of Hamilton. And there are people who have heard of it who have no desire to see what the fuss is all about. No matter how good you are at running down the lane you are in, there will always be people who say, ‘nah’. It can be painful to realize that your best self is not for everyone. If we are so smart and awesome, why isn’t everyone lining up to soak up our wisdom? As a 5, it is especially irritating, because I know things and I know you are wrong!!! Read a book!
But trying to fight in a ring that people have stepped out of is ridiculous and futile and a waste of energy. Coming to that understanding is helping me to not get distracted by the people who want me to stop being me. Knowing who I am, and knowing that they are probably just wired differently, gives me more confidence about knowing what I am good at and pursuing it. If they are not wired in a way that makes them receptive to me, then it’s not my job to try and change them. It will take someone of a different personality type, working in a different way than me, to get through to them.
Which is why I continuously find myself coming back to personality types, and think it’s so important for people to know what they are (says the 5). When we know who we are, and why, we know where we have the best chance of succeeding. We know where not to waste our time. When we all know our lanes and have the freedom to run in them as best as we can, we can make a huge difference.