What Was The Inspiration For 9takes?

TLDR: My wife and I were fighting, and we went to a counselor which led to personality tests (Enneagram)

Sat Jun 17 2023

My wife and I arguing 💑

Marriage is a forcing function for developing emotional intelligence.

At least it was for me.

When I got married, my wife and I were in marital bliss! But that quickly wore off as reality set in that we were each married to flawed people who saw the world very differently. We seemed to be fighting more than what we thought was normal. And our attempts to resolve the conflict kept failing.

Eventually, we turned to counseling and personality tests to help us understand each other.

What we learned through counseling and personality tests

After my wife and I failed multiple times to resolve our conflict, we went to counseling.

At the time, many topics of conversation would quickly lead to yelling and/or tears. The counselor we went to helped us get the conversation going to a place where we could both listen to each other (deep dive into listening later). We realized we were jumping to conclusions and operating on autopilot in many conversations. We were being “triggered” (this was a new concept for me). We also realized that the things we say to each other can mean completely different things.

We were being triggered and rushing to conclusions.

Over time, we zeroed in on our differences by taking personality tests. Intellectually, we knew we were different, but we would get surprised every time the other person didn’t see things our way. The personality tests started to give us language around our thoughts and feelings. We started with the MBTI and then moved on to the Enneagram because it went deeper, uncovering our emotional baggage (MBTI and Enneagram comparison).

As we started diving deep into all these personality layers, listening became the most important skill that we were developing.

What it means to “listen”

The trick we learned through counseling was how to listen to each other.

It’s not about quietly letting the other person talk. It is about making the other person feel like you understand them. Sometimes, people say you must show empathy or “mirror” the other person. But you are trying to make the other person feel like you get them.

This is echoed by an FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss. He talks about how negotiations aren’t about logic but making the other side feel completely understood.

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

What happens when you don’t feel understood

It is not a small thing seeking to be understood. People do unexpected things when they don’t feel understood.

  • They may stop talking to you.
  • They may feel depressed.
  • They may think you are dumb.
  • They may start a personal vendetta against you to make you understand.

When someone comes to you trying to express something and they feel as though you don’t understand them, its as if you are saying that their reality doesn’t make sense. They need to change and think, feel and do things that do make sense.

There are a range of emotions that can pop up when someone feels like they aren’t being understood.

  • They might feel anger towards the person who is not understanding.
  • They might feel anxious that they aren’t making sense.
  • They may feel like like an outcast and that they don’t belong.

Be on the look out for a topic changing too fast. Be on the lookout for someone suddenly becoming quiet. Be on the lookout for someone saying “you are not listening to me.” You may be listening but the other person does not feel understood.

⬆️ My wife and I reacted in all the ways listed above. We felt all of the above emotions. It wasn’t good.

You, me, and others need to be listened to 👂

After having a series of conversations where my wife and I felt like we were understanding each other, she told me to take a personality test.

At first, I didn’t want to because I thought personality tests were pseudo-science. I didn’t think I would get anything out of it. However, since I couldn’t solve our relationship problems, I figured that 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 see myself from a bird’s eye view. It gave me a framework for understanding why I was the way I was. And I agreed with the framework. I wanted to know more about myself, my wife, and all the other people in my life. I went down a rabbit hole, reading everything I could about personality. A new language opened up to me. It felt like I had a secret.

I would start conversations with other people about personality, but only some were open to it.

Some people didn’t want to talk about personality, thinking it was pseudo-science like I had thought, and some people were straight-up hostile to it. I soon realized the back and forth was not helpful. I had been on a journey, but the other side needed to go on their own. 👣

It was better to ask specific questions.

Questions are the key; they highlight our similarities and differences

Don’t tell someone to go on a journey. Ask them questions that lead them on a journey.

I only started making progress when I started asking them questions.

How are they similar or different from the other people in their lives? What celebrity are they similar to? If you start thinking about that, you can quickly get into discussions about personality. The responses usually fell into two broad categories:

  • “I am too unique, and no one is like me”
  • “I am like everyone else, everyone is the same”

Both responses were partially true. People are both similar and different. But it is a spectrum. There is a spectrum of similarities and differences between people. Realizing that spectrum is the unlock and it is where growth happens. At the extreme end, people feel like they have nothing to learn from exploring their personality.

  • “People are too similar ➡️ there is nothing to learn from personality”
  • “People are too different ➡️there is nothing to learn from personality”

These perspectives stifle curiosity. Have the person ever met someone similar to them? Have they ever met someone different from them? These similarities and differences are personality traits. That is all it is. Personality attempts to map out the dimensions by which people are similar and different.

Finding a place to explore people’s similarities and differences

My next step was to find the place where people’s similarities and differences were being explored.

I checked out Reddit and Discord and scoured every internet community I could find. But the conversations were shallow and fragmented.

I felt like I had to build the thing I wanted.

I wanted to explore personality, specifically the Enneagram. I wanted to create a space where people could share their fears and motivations. I wanted to help people understand each other. I wanted to help other people who were fighting, like my wife and I. I wanted to create a place where people could openly share their opinions or takes.

The Enneagram has nine core personality types, which inspired me to use the name 9 takes, 9takes. For every question that is asked, you can get at least 9 takes.

So that was the inspiration for 9takes.


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