I am pretty sure that each Enneagram type buys a car in a particular way, primarily because a dear friend of mine (pseudonym Carl), an enneatype 6, recently described how he bought a new car. Both my son and I could hardly contain our laughter; it was just such a great example of a 6 in action.
Carl has a good dose of both the Enneagram 6 phobia (fear) and counter-phobia (an oppositional quality that is all about going against the fear with strength). However, when I shared Carl’s story with my brother who is also a 6, but who is much more phobic than Carl, he saw himself exactly in Carl’s car purchasing behavior.
Carl’s Story (said in his own voice, more or less)
So I had this 20-year-old car that was on its last legs, with hundreds of thousands of miles on it already. But it still worked, and I loved this car. So I was taking it on the freeway in between clients because I wanted a particular cool drink that I love.
6s are so very sentimental; notice the attachment to an old car that is ready for the junkyard and inherently unsafe. Sentimentality trumps safety! And going several miles – and on the freeway – for a favorite drink? Pretty risky! Again, pleasure, comfort and sentimentality trump risky behavior. From the 6 perspective, risk can be fun, hedging your bets to see how far you can go without something dangerous occurring.
So I’m driving on the freeway and my car just totally stops. I was able to glide it to the side of the road (the shoulder of the road) to safety when I look down the freeway and see a series of huge trucks coming toward me. As they get closer, they are tar-laying trucks about to lay tar down on the shoulder of the freeway, exactly where I am standing with my no-longer-working car. Panicked, I see a police car coming my way and the police officer tells me he can make sure the trucks bypass me and my car as they lay down the tar.
Murphy’s Law – whatever can go wrong will go wrong – is in full action here, except that Carl really should have retired the beloved car years earlier. It was only a question of time. But, low and behold, Carl gets saved, not by himself, but by the authority figure, the police officer that shows up just when Carl most needs him.
I get my car towed to my trusted mechanic who tells me it will cost $1200 to fix, so I call a salvage company who will pick up the car and give me $200 for it. But, my mechanic will give me $300, so I make $100 more!
Once home, I go onto the internet and, using my spreadsheet way of organizing costs and benefits, and I look for cars with the following three criteria in mind: speed (I love to drive fast), mileage (mileage per gallon of gas), and space (I need to carry around several suitcases of luggage for my work). I find five cars in the price range I can afford that meet my criteria, primarily Mazdas and Toyotas. But what I really want is a Lexus, though I could never afford that. I test drive all five cars, none of which I like. They feel very plastic and non-substantial and their acceleration is subpar.
Out of frustration and, just as I am about to commit to one of the cars, I contact Lexus. They offer me an awesome Lexus SUV at a price I can afford. They also say to come over and do a test drive. I fall instantly in love, but isn’t this too good to be true? So I call around to some people I know who know more about cars that I do, and they all tell me to go for the Lexus. I buy my dream car, no longer caring about the mileage because this car talks to me. I tell it to lock the doors and it does. It opens its doors for me when I get close; it knows me!
After all the thinking and internet searching and spreadsheets, Carl follows his heart – ahhh, a Lexus – and not his mind. This is the essence of type 6. The heart wants what the heart wants, and this 6 was smart enough to know it. He did, however, have to get over his “This won’t work; I can never afford a Lexus” way of thinking and move into possibility and more prosperity thinking. And like many 6s, he did have to ask his friends who, in some ways, he trusted more than himself.
Carl is the more than proud owner of a gorgeous Lexus SUV, laughs about giving up the mileage criterion for the sake of luxury, and is enjoying himself immensely, although he is still figuring out how everything works. That’s good, because it will take him a long time to do so and, as a 6, he loves to figure everything out.
How do you buy a new car?
Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of five best-selling Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs for professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications, and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit her website: The Enneagram in Business.com. firstname.lastname@example.org