People have strange misconceptions about what being an Enneagram 5 is like -- even other 5s do. We are the type most likely to lead from logic which makes sense because we're centered in the Head Triad. Everything is thought through, even our feelings.
We don't, if you reference the Enneagram diagram, have a direct link to either the Body Triad which leaves us a bit disconnected. There is a quote I've always loved -- yes, love, a genuine feeling -- from Sherlock Holmes or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whichever you like.
"I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix."
As a teen, I resonated with that, feeling like this fictional absolute madman had captured with words how I'd always thought. Only now as I write this do I also remember that Sherlock Holmes was a creative himself -- whether he was disguising himself and playacting so well that even his dear Watson couldn't tell it was him or playing his violin chaotic or competently.
I don’t mean to say that creating will unlock your inner Sherlock Holmes, but it will do a world of good in helping you be more of who you really are. Creativity is an aspect and gift to humans that I believe nurtures and feeds us in ways we don’t fully understand. While unlocking your creativity may sound difficult, there are actually many simple, low risk ways to explore your creative side. It's really just a matter of doing it -- which can be one of the challenges of the overthinking, over-researching 5. But to ease into, here are 4 low risk ways to begin.
Go ahead and buy the diary with a lock and key if you want, or grab something as simple and accessible as a composition notebook. While journaling about yourself doesn’t immediately seem creative or interesting, you are in fact taking thoughts and feelings from the nebulous ether and penning them down in black, tangible letters. There is now something that exists that didn’t before you made it, before you expressed it.
And it is an aspect of you.
While this form of expression simply cannot be done incorrectly, it has the added benefit of allowing 5s to process our own thoughts in a safe, nonjudgemental way. Unless you have negative self talk which journaling will reveal. Then having learned that you subject yourself to negative self talk, you can take that knowledge and change that aspect about yourself to your betterment and growth. This could then lead you to realize that you may also need to adjust how to speak to other humans which will then improve your relationships.
Journaling can actually make you a more competent human. But it doesn’t have to. It doesn’t have to have a purpose. It can just be, and that can be enough.
You don’t have to go on dancing tv shows or even out of your bedroom if you don’t want to. But dancing is a form of expression and movement that 5s generally don’t indulge in. I know for me, I dislike sweat and the feeling of aching muscles or of being reminded that I exist and am confined within a body — that may be my 4 wing at work. However, something about bass and rhythm and shimmying is just fun. It is impossible to not enjoy shimmying.
I dare you to do it.
But sometimes before bed, I pop my earphones in and bopping around my bedroom — door locked — to a K-pop playlist.
If you have a partner or family members, it could potentially become a group activity and a moment to bond, to be silly and simply move. As a collective people, we are far too sedentary and I feel it’s even worse for most 5s. Our hobbies and our work usually involve sitting, reading, or staring at computer screen.
Move your body, and don't be concerned with how you like. Just be in the moment with the music.
While I’ve said journal already, by this I mean storytelling in the form of novels, short stories, or essays. It’s doubtless you’ve acquired knowledge and opinions on a wide number of subjects. You’ve overthought and incidentally researched ancient marriage customs and how money used to be measured in actual gold and mining and how to pickpocket — just for fun. You’ve also likely made it a point to study other humans and yourself in how you think and function and why we do what we do. It would likely be easy enough for you to come up with a story plot or a topic to write at length about.
Or you could write essays and blog posts on current events or your opinions on current pop culture trends that simply baffle you -- and possible salutations or alternatives to this "hot girl summer" perhaps.
You might find that you like telling stories, maybe in your own blog, books, or freelance writing.
Again, nothing you create has to be shared, but I do challenge you — appealing to your growth to 8 as the ambitious Challenger — to put more of yourself out there. To be a little braver than you think you are.
I’m not a professional painter in the least, but my more traditionalist friend tells me I have an eye for abstract and color. I primarily do digital art these days as it’s simple, not messy, and convenient. But I have spent time randomly drawing lines on paper or smearing my journal pages with used tea bags. And there is something oddly satisfying about using strange things to paint with, something childish and free.
You don't have to be Rembrandt or Van Gogh, but you could probably paint a flower or play with colors or practice line art. Nothing you create needs to be compared or evaluated beyond this question -- do you like it? It's not meant for the arctic critics, not eligible for comparison.
Do you like it? If yes, put it on your refrigerator and make another.
If no, explore another hobby.
Reading for fun and pleasure and knowledge seeking is something that 5s do. We gather and hoard and sort through all of storage centers, but we also create. There are many 5s who find outlets and expression that could be considered emotional. Explore, collect new hobbies, and see what you life. Even if it is for no one else, 5s must make something, to offer their own creations room to live, to be examined and learned from. But 5s also live in the Fear Triad, and we always get that silly message that we must know more. That we do not have enough -- skill, knowledge, whatever. Or we will run out -- of ideas, energy, whatever. Or that we are not enough — something is lacking, we operate from deficit.
But we must do the things, whatever they may be, without fear or judgement. The things we are afraid of are really never true anyway. The funny thing is that a 5 already knows that -- they've likely read it somewhere, listened to a podcast, or watched a video on the subject.
When 5s express and explore their feelings, thoughts, and emotions through some kind of creativity, it can take us on a richer exploration of our experience as human. It tests our knowledge in a different way than simply reciting or extrapolation on the topics that fascinate us.
The words and facts and information that we've collected can be laid out to others in a different way, and those moments when we have felt connection to others can be shared. Even if we never share out creative efforts -- though I believe we should if for nothing else but the knowledge of the thing -- we should make something. But consider also, while we seek so much understanding to prepare us to enter the world and be a participant, that our creating might ease our way into those spaces and might even be welcome.
It's speculated that Jane Austen was a 5 as well as C. S. Lewis, Stephen King, Agatha Christie. For singer, author, poet, and artist Morgan Harper Nichols, she confirmed this with an interview episode for the Typology Podcast. These people with stories and experience very much like our own, with struggles very much like us, created something beautiful and dared to share it with other people. Just think, that one day, someone might find enjoyment or learn something new from you, long after you’ve left here. Imagine gifting someone in that way.
When we as 5s refuse to listen to our old Fear story and actually begin to create and explore how we want to show up in this world, I believe that is when we find that we always had — and always were — more than enough. If you're interested in learning more about the Enneagram so you can better understand yourself, then click this affiliate link and start with this book.