With their pleasant, easy-going exteriors, Nine-wing-Ones are frequently underestimated. Some conventional Enneagram writers describe them as lazy and indifferent; however, many are quite industrious and effective. At its highest intensity, this personality melds penetrating insight into what makes people and societies tick with soaring dreams as to what they may become.
Traditional Enneagram descriptions emphasize the “deadly sin” of sloth for Nines of either wing. At various times, you may experience Nine-wing-Ones as anything from accommodating to stubborn, industrious to indolent, judgmental to accepting. It all depends on the match between their external and internal realities, and you, of course, cannot know how those match up unless they tell you, and they may well not tell you.
When I give my own sorting test to Nine-wing-Ones, they resonate with six to eight of the conventional, single-number Enneagram types—but never with type Eight. Thus you may know them by their apparent contradictions. Whether you see it in them or not, they sense within themselves many of the characteristics of the majority of Enneagram points. Others explain this fact away by saying that Nine-wing-Ones are out of touch with themselves, but it seems to me that they are simply well-integrated.
For example, although Nine-wing-Ones generally use detached perspective Five and may seem to be “out of body”, they do get good rapport and typically make others feel comfortable. This leads me to conclude that most of them must not be shut out of perspective Seven since Seven’s ability to enter the other’s mental or energetic space is necessary for rapport.
Visual tip-offs to the Nine-wing-One: They often use slow hand gestures. They may nod their heads a lot. They are not necessarily agreeing with you; they are encouraging you to continue and saying, “I hear you.” They sometimes have a slouchy posture and lean against the back of the chair or, if standing, against a wall. They will also match others’ posture and gestures when they are in rapport, which is often.
Probable examples of personality type Nine-wing-One are Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, Walt Disney, Queen Elizabeth II, Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart, Garrison Keillor, Princess Grace of Monaco, Rose Kennedy, George Lucas, and the Dalai Lama.
Being less influenced than most by perspective Eight’s need for interpersonal validation, Nine-wing-Ones generally don’t take things personally. This, along with their reliance on perspective Five, allows them to see all sides of an issue. Having perspective Four in their makeup, they feel separate from others. Having a perspective-One component, they feel a strong sense of purpose, even if they can’t quite articulate it.
Finally, Nine-wing-Ones’ concerns and aspirations will be found at the intersection of reality and their ideals. If there is a good enough match, they will be content and relatively inactive. If there is not a match, then their choice of goals is apparent: they must either withdraw from that particular environment or change it. If Nine-wing-Ones have adopted a view of themselves as intellectuals, then they will set out to educate an uninformed world. If they view themselves as spiritual, then they will model holiness for a materialistic society. If they have had instilled in them a sense of their obligation to lead, then they will study, plan, and act toward that end. They unpretentiously allow themselves to be used and used up on behalf of their goals.