Written By Eric Patton
Have you seen the Dilbert video titled: Dilbert’s Mother Realizes Her Son Is Destined to Become an Engineer? If not, go search for it on YouTube. Dilbert is shown as a young kid sitting in the Dr. office. His mom is concerned because he disassembled some electrical components at home and built a ham radio. The Dr. consoled Dilbert’s mom saying don’t worry, he will be an engineer. If you change the ending to be in terms of the enneagram, the Dr. would have said don’t worry, he’s just a 5.
As a 5, I can completely relate. I’ve been told the story (I have no recollection of this) of when I was around 5 or 6, I took our non-working vacuum cleaner apart and put it back together……and it worked! Such is the 5. Always curious. Always researching. Always investigating. Trying to find the best or most efficient way to do something.
As a 5, I find I must research everything. Partly to learn and partly to get the best deal. I must do everything myself as I think I can do anything just as well, if not better, than anyone else. This comes at a price, though, as I find I easily get stuck in an analysis paralysis mode where I can’t stop researching and analyzing and just decide. Even when I do decide, I either second guess myself or I feel terrible because I think I didn’t research completely and, given more time, I’ll find a better deal.
Being in the head category of the enneagram, you will find the 5 lives in their head. You can usually find the 5 in off by themselves, with a book, or searching the internet, lost in thought. The one place you won’t find them is in their heart with their emotions. It’s a real struggle for me to look at the world with my feelings. Seeing a beautiful sunset and enjoying the amazing colors or smelling a rose and having it elicit a feeling of enjoyment from the smell is not something which comes automatically. I’ve got to consciously remind myself to stop and observe those kinds of things on an emotional level and ask myself how it makes me feel or, if nothing else, just stop and watch and enjoy the beauty.
Also, a 5 is usually thinking about things all the time, always. The interesting thing is it is very difficult to verbalize those thoughts. Both when it comes to explaining how something works or, even more so, to discuss feelings and why I am feeling some particular way or why I think something must be done a certain way. It can be very aggravating when someone asks how I’m feeling or why I think something should be done a certain way as I can find it difficult to put my thoughts into words.
The best way to interact with a 5 is to give them time. Don’t pop something on a 5 or do something such as a big purchase on a spur of the moment. That will just shut them down. It is best to give a heads-up and time, days even, and let them process it before asking for an answer or decision.
If you are a 5, your biggest challenge will be getting out of your head and into your heart to be in touch with your feelings. I was challenged a few years ago to do this. I needed to be intentional about it and to stop and observe the pretty flower and look at the colors and the shape of it. God designed this flower for us to enjoy. Salvation is not an intellectual thing. It’s a heart thing. John 3:16 says: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. You cannot think your way into Heaven. Salvation isn’t something which can be understood with our minds. 2 Timothy 3:7 says: Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
You can know everything in the Bible and know nothing about God. Learn to connect with God.