Barack Obama Is an Enneagram Nine – What That Means

Barack Obama is an Enneagram Nine with a strong Eight wing.

I’ve been wondering what the Enneagram numbers are of our two candidates and what they means about our choices in the election. Although you’re not supposed to pin a number on another person, when someone is as much in the public eye as a presidential nominee, it’s pretty clear to Enneagram experts what number they are. So I asked around in the Enneagram community and found out that they’re a consensus on Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama’s numbers. On Monday, I posted about Mitt Romney, an Enneagram Three.

Barack Obama is an Enneagram Nine, with a strong Eight wing. Other famous political Nines include Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, and Dwight Eisenhower.

I asked Suzanne Stabile*, my personal Enneagram guru, to write up something about Nines, and here’s what she sent in:

Enneagram Nines are called “mediators.” They are men and women who intuitively try to maintain a sense of peace and balance. They avoid conflict and believe that having a single or personal agenda threatens harmony, often unnecessarily. They frequently merge with the other in order to maintain peace. They are self-effacing, tolerant, even-tempered and likeable. And their gift is their problem in that they see two sides to everything.

Nines are the primal person. They connect with everything and yet they stay disconnected from everything at the same time. These are people who are not stuck in their own way of thinking so they have the capacity for holding varied opinions and for finding value in most points of view.

In Enneagram teaching, students learn that the number on either side of theirs is called a “wing.” For some, that wing plays a big role in the way they think, the choices they make and the way they lives their lives. Nines that have a One wing live more in their heads and are imaginative but they have a tendency to withdraw under stress. Nines with an Eight wing are more grounded, more assertive and more practical. They tend to be more sociable than Nines who are strongly influenced by One energy.  That influence of the Eight is important because Eights are the most aggressive number on the Enneagram.

For the Nine, other people’s ideas and agendas are very loud and convincing, so Nines often “go along to get along,” saving their energy for the things that matter the most. Sometimes Nines just keep their thoughts to themselves and let others do the talking, even when they disagree.  Healthy Nines are collaborators. However, they are not prone to peer pressure and they accurately see themselves as people who can do what they want or need to do.

Nines often rise to leadership positions because they are reliable, trustworthy, responsible and concerned for the whole.  They are not without ambition but they are fairly detached from ego fixations. Nines appear to be unaggressive and willing to let by-gones be by-gones, while in reality they are at times, quietly unforgiving and stubborn. Unhealthy Nines are passive-aggressive in dealing with their anger and they control through stubbornness.  Those who are more mature and more highly evolved recognize and deal with the causes of their anger and address it appropriately.

Nines think things through for a long time before making decisions. In leadership they may let some things “ride” that are important to a few but not of concern for the greater whole.  When situations demand what Enneagram wisdom calls “right action,Nines are prepared to accept responsibility for making difficult decisions and living with the consequences of those decisions.  They can tolerate the lack of peace and harmony, moving forward without hesitation for things of ultimate importance.

These mediators are found in literally every profession.  They do a good job of getting along with others.  Nines are slow to assert themselves.  They are optimistic in all situations and they are kind.  Nines are aware that peace is not synonymous with the absence of conflict and more than any other number on the Enneagram they seem to get that all things are connected.

*If you’re interested in learning more about the Enneagram, I strongly urge you to download Suzanne’s “Know Your Number” workshop, or any of her other teachings.

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  • Travis Mamone

    That would definitely explain a few things.

  • bob c

    in the interest of categorizing people I have never met:

    this President is an extreme introvert
    this President is a 3rd culture person
    this President is a (semi) recovering smoker
    this President is a bully on the basketball court, with a wicked jump shot

  • Larry

    I’ve gotta say this has cemented my dislike of the Enneagram. It’s a horoscope minus the zodiac flavor.

  • espanade

    There is no way the Prez is a 9. He is not a mediator, but an instigator. He is not easy-going, but feins it. I may agree that he seems to be lazy–given his own confessions about that. There is no way he seeks peace and conflict. He seeks dominance at any cost. “Go along to get along”? Come on.

    • notapastor

      Project much, espanade?

  • Eric

    I just had a conversation with a friend this weekend coming to the same conclusion – Obama’s a nine, definitely. That, or he’s too influenced by his high views on Lincoln (perhaps the most famous nine of them all).

    This explains why Obama wants to read five letters from Americans every day – he wants to get their agendas in his head, which is what guides him to then figure out his policies through the rest of the day. It also explains how he plays the ‘long game’ letting minor battles go while focusing on his bigger vision. I think it also shows how he often lets himself get defined by other people instead of taking charge and clearing things up right away.

  • Agnikan

    Herman Cain is a Nein Nein Nein.

  • Ted Seeber

    More paganism.

    • toddh

      Mere paganism.

    • Moulder

      Just like blood sacrifices…

  • Andy Sahl

    I’m a little nieve about the Enneagram, but I am aware that there is a test one takes to determine their number. You didn’t reference how you know the candidate’s numbers. Are you just determining based on observation?

  • jnice

    his favorite word according to cnn is “grace” (word)

  • Scott Gay

    I would be more interested in Theoblogy ideas about Neera Tandem’s recent opinions about Barack Obama.

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  • David Fauvre

    I agree with your typing. However, the concept of stress and growth, proposed by naranjo was retracted by him in 1996. Many enneagram people don’t know this. We all equally go to the high and low sides of the types along the lines.

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  • San Taklaz

    its a little frustrating to try to learn about typing and be subjected to ppl trying to figuratively give Obama fellatio.

    Ive seen a couple analyses of Obama now, and all of them have the doe-eyed, animal looking into headlights, giddy school girl theme.

    I can understand wishful wistful ppl being caught up in his rhetoric, but this is supposed to be about truth and learning.

    There are many many examples that have been ignored of strictly non-9 behavior. Almost his entire agenda has been extremely divisive. Most of the issues he tackles and spends his time on are controversial. Not in the sense that its an important topic, but in the sense that its a policy that roughly 1/2 support, 1/2 oppose and are very passionate about their positions. A 9 would focus on how we are the same and build bridges, not dive at the heart of issues that will never see consensus, and inflict his viewpoint on the whole.

    There is no way this man is a 9. He took it upon himself to run for president. If you listen to his words he DOES sound like a uniter, because he presupposes that anyone who disagrees with him is acting in bad faith and not even on the ‘team’. He’s all about uniting the ‘team’. if you get cut from his team he doesnt give a rats ass about you. So his team members look at him and think ‘wow he just wants us all to be peaceful’ meanwhile he wants conservatives to get audited by the IRS. that aint something a 9 would do.

    if we can agree he is a sociopath and disregards the humanity of his political opponents, and places them squarely in the ‘out group’, then we can agree his remaining psyche is a 9. When it comes to democrats who play by his rules, he walks and talks like a 9duck. Anyone else sees a vastly different person. Play by his rules or you are in the ‘out group’ he doesnt even think he should bother building consensus with.

    What is undeniable is that he opted to run for power, has an extremist agenda (as relating to public opinion polls on the actual issues), and wants to inflict that agenda on an unwilling host. Clearly not 9. I could see you argue 8 because of the power grab, or even 1, cuz he is idealistic about his philosophy, but a 9 is absurd.

    All the rhetoric about uniting is fully conditional on you obeying him. His idea of compromise is simply for you to give in to him, and he wants that labeled unity. And his ‘in group’ isnt even as broad as all democrats. obama smeared bill clinton with racism. dont mess with obama. obey him. thats 8 btw.

    personally i think 3 fits him the best. he is the most prolific and skilled PR guy this world has ever known. his oratory skills make hitler blush with envy.