What Was The Inspiration For 9takes?

TLDR: My wife and I were fighting, and we went to a counselor which led to taking a personality test

Sat Jun 17 2023

Marriage is a forcing function for emotional intelligence. At least, that is how it was for me. My wife and I were fighting a lot and turned to personality tests to help us understand each other.

My wife and I arguing 💑

After we failed multiple times to resolve our conflict using our own devices, we went to counseling. The counselor helped get the conversation going where we could listen to each other. Once we could hear each other, we realized we were jumping to conclusions on autopilot. Over time, we learned that different things we say to each other mean different things. I didn’t like the word “trigger,” but it seemed like a trigger was the best word that described our jumping to conclusions that we were each experiencing.

We slowly discovered our differences. Intellectually, we knew we were different, but we were getting surprised every time the other person wasn’t seeing eye to eye with us. We were slowly learning about the slew of baggage that we each carried.

The trick we learned was how to listen to each other. It’s not about quietly letting the other person talk, but it’s about making the other person feel like you understand them. This is something FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss talks about.

He talks about how, in negotiations, it isn’t about logic but about making the other side feel heard and understood.

We learned that most of your relationship problems can be sorted out if you slow down and listen to each other. This, ironically, is the main thing therapists do. Therapists don’t talk at you; they sit there and listen to you and help you feel understood before they give any input at all.

When you don’t feel understood

People do crazy things when they don’t feel understood. They say, “You are not listening to me.” The other side may, in fact, be listening, but they need to seek to understand. They may be butting in and interrupting. They may be thinking about counter-examples and comebacks. There are many reasons why someone might feel like they need to be listened to, which creates a gap between the two sides.

When an individual feels that they are not being heard, it can lead to a range of emotions. They might feel anger towards the person who is not listening. Their fear may grow if they feel like the other side isn’t listening when discussing topics that evoke fear. Additionally, if a person feels like they are being ignored, this can foster feelings of insecurity where they feel like they are less worthy of being heard.

People needed to be listened to. 👂

After having a series of conversations where my wife and I grew to understand where each other was coming from, she told me to take a personality test. At first, I didn’t want to because I thought it was pseudo-science and didn’t know I would get anything out of it. But since I couldn’t solve our relationship problems alone, I should be open to other solutions and perspectives. I figured I had nothing to lose, so I gave it a shot.

And yeah, I got something out of it. I was mind-blown 🤯. It was telling me things about myself that I felt but had never verbalized. It made me think about myself in the third person from a bird’s eye view. I wanted to know more about myself, my wife, and the other personalities of people in my life. I went down a rabbit hole, reading everything I could about personality. A new language opened up to me, and it felt like I was unlocking ancient hidden secrets.

I would start conversations with other people about personality, but not everyone was open to it. There were those who were opposed to talking about personality, and there were those who were straight-up hostile to it. There would be a back and forth, but I soon realized that nothing productive came trying to explain the journey I had been on. They needed to experience it for themselves when they were ready.

Focus on questions that highlight our similarities and differences 👣

So, to help people on “the journey,” I wanted to ask them a specific question. How are they similar or different from people? If you start thinking about that, you can quickly get into discussions about personality. The responses usually fell into 2 categories:

  • One was that they thought they were too unique and no one was like them.
  • Two was that they thought everyone was more or less like them and that any perceived distances were superficial.

Both responses were partially true. People are both similar and different. The middle perspective is where growth is, but at extreme ends, people feel like they have nothing to learn from personality and personality tests.

  • People are too similar; therefore, there is nothing to learn from a personality test
  • People are too different; there is nothing to learn from a personality test

These perspectives stifle curiosity. Have they never met someone similar to them? Have they ever met someone very different from them? These similarities and differences can be framed as personality traits. Personality attempts to map out the dimensions by which people are similar and different.

Where are people’s similarities and differences being explored? 🤔

My next step was to find where people were already conversing about their similarities and differences. I checked out Reddit and a few Discord servers, but the conversations were shallow. Because I wanted more than the depth of discussion, I decided to build a place to explore people’s similarities and differences. I knew I wanted to integrate personality and felt the Enneagram would be the best choice for fostering a good conversation. The Enneagram gets at people’s core fears and motivations and deals with underlying emotions, all of which are essential aspects to consider when trying to understand another person. There are 9 main personality types in the Enneagram, so I decided on a name, 9 takes. “9” because of the 9 personality types, and “Takes” because there are different takes on the questions asked.

Additionally, I felt like the Enneagram had deep roots in philosophy and psychology that were worth exploring.

So that was the inspiration for 9takes. If you want to see what I am building, sign up and join 9takes below ⬇️. Of course, you are free to decline, but there is much more to explore. 🚀

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