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.