Okay, I admit it. I know I’m not supposed to assign a type to someone else, but I can’t help it. People keep asking me, “What type is Barack Obama?”
Every time I see him, I try to guess his type. And it seems like all of the Enneagram folks I know are discussing it. Aren’t you?
Well, here’s the current debate: He’s a type 9 or a type 3.
What I’ve heard from those in the “He’s a 9″ camp is how calm and easy going, unflappable he is in every speech. Sometimes he cannot be pinned down on a specific point because he wants more information, and he seems to be assessing multiple points of view. He’s even been accused of “flip-flopping.” Haven’t we heard that somewhere before?!
From the “He’s a 3″ camp, we can look to his resume as an example: Graduated from Harvard Law School magna cum laude, President of The Harvard Law Review, Columbia undergrad, professor, lawyer, community organizer… And that’s all before he got into politics! Then look at his record of Senate participation and getting legislation passed–it’s pretty impressive. Oh, and don’t forget the perfect, brilliant wife and beautiful children. This man is only 47 years old.
I can see both perspectives and think they’re both pretty persuasive, but my take is that he is a 3. I think he appears like a 9 because that is the image he is projecting. Calm, cool, and collected. But in the debates, when McCain characterized him poorly, you could see his reaction. His face flushed, his jaw tightened. This isn’t someone whose anger is hidden from him. This is someone who is managing his image, and doing a great job of it. So that’s why I believe he’s not a 9.
But here’s what really convinces me he is a 3, the story about how he got together with his wife Michelle. He relentlessly pursued her for their first date, even though it was frowned upon by the law firm where they both worked. And do you know how he finally achieved that first date? Charm. He turned on that sweet, innocent, little boy quality that a 3 does so well. After she had turned him down a number of times, he sweetly asked her if he could just buy her some ice cream. Hmmmmm, attempting to melt her heart?
And finally, he radiates hope, the Holy Idea for type 3. His book, The Audacity of Hope, was one of those books…when I read it I was certain that anyone who read it would vote for him. His ability to inspire and create a sense of possibility allows many Americans to hope again. It is palpable.
What do you think? We’d love to hear your perspective as we continue our own Presidential debate.