Songs for the Road: Doing Center

There was a great little piece in the Enneagram Monthly some 15 years ago called “Enneagram Voicemail Codes,” by Lahar Goldberg. It was short, succinct, laugh-out-loud funny—and painfully accurate. As Sheldon said when he explained a joke on the TV show The Big Bang Theory: “It’s funny because it’s true.”

Enneagram Voicemail Codes

If you know exactly what you want…press 1
If you want to help, press…2
If you have a great idea that could make us a lot of money…press 3
If you’re feeling abandoned…press 4
If you don’t want to talk to anyone…press 5
If you don’t know what you want…press 6
For a good time…press 7
If you want to tell us what to do and how to do it…press 8
If you feel irritated, but you need to take a nap…press 9

So I thought it would be amusing and maybe even somewhat illuminating to compile, with a little help from my friends, a list of traveling songs for each type.

Because there are three Centers of Intelligence within the Enneagram and three types within each center, I’ve decided to focus first on the three Doing center types and cover the Feeling center types and Thinking center types in subsequent posts.

Road Songs for Doing Center Types

Maybe it’s because I’m a Doing type, but nine points or nine lenses or even nine types all seem entirely too static—thus the name for the blog, Nine Paths. I think the Enneagram describes the different approaches we take to life and the different ways in which we move through it. Type influences the paths we take, as well as how we proceed along them and what we see on the way. So as we travel our respective paths, let’s queue up some type-appropriate road songs. [As a Type 8 with a strong 7 wing, my own impulse is to keep moving, but to enjoy the ride as much as possible.]

The Doing center is sometimes referred to as the Gut center. Here’s something interesting about the “gut” from the field of neurogastroenterology:

“The gut can work independently of any control by the brain in your head—it’s functioning as a second brain.” So says Michael Gershon, professor and chair of pathology and cell biology at Columbia. “It’s another independent center of integrative neural activity.” [Psychology Today 11/01/11]

The Doing center—alternatively referred to as the Body, Instinctual, or Sensing center, in addition to the Gut center—consists of Types 8, 1, and 9. This center is concerned with physical/material stability and wellbeing, self-preservation, vitality, and action and reaction.

  • Type 8s want to do whatever will further their agendas.
  • Type 1s want to do the right thing or do things correctly/perfectly.
  • Type 9s want to do as little as possible. (Or at least that’s how it appears to some of us.)


The primary issue for these three types is resistance (anger without a focal point).

  • External situations, conditions, or people might prevent Type 8s from proceeding with their agendas, so 8s’ resistance is external. They resist impact from the environment.
  • Internal urges, desires, and impulses might prevent Type 1s from doing what is right, so 1s’ resistance is internal. They resist their own inner impulses.
  • The environment and/or their inner urges and impulses might require some kind of a response from Type 9s, so 9s’ resistance is both external and internal: They resist impact from the environment and their inner impulses.

Moving Through the World

Within each of the three centers, one type takes the Aggressive stance (moving against), one type takes the Compliant stance (moving toward or with), and one type takes the Withdrawing stance (moving away). Each stance has a different relationship with time.

  • Type 8s takes the Aggressive stance and focus on the future.
  • Type 1s takes the Compliant stance and focus on the present.
  • Type 9s takes the Withdrawing stance and focus on the past.

Without knowing anything else about them, we can summarize these three types as follows:

  • Type 8s aggressively assert themselves against others and the environment, moving against what gets in the way of their pursuit of their agendas. They tend to hurry through the present and not give much thought to the past. Type 8 is called The Challenger, The Confronter, The Leader, the Asserter (and a few other things that are unprintable).
  • Type 1s are compliant to their idealistic obligations, moving toward what will help them earn righteousness and resisting the inner impulses that might lead them astray. They tend to be concerned with what is right in front of them (subject, as are the other two Compliant types, to what has been called “the tyranny of the immediate moment”). Type 1 is called The Good Person, The Achiever, The Reformer, and The Perfectionist.
  • Type 9s withdraw so others won’t disturb their inner peacefulness, moving away from anything that triggers a sense of distress and discomfort, whether it’s internal or external. They tend to ruminate about what happened in the past, both good and bad. Type 9 is called The Peacemaker, The Preservationist, The Mediator, and the Universalist.

Of course these are very broad strokes and are not intended as more than brief sketches—caricatures, perhaps—of the three types. Nevertheless, the attributes are accurate for the respective types.

The five songs I’ve come up with for each of the Doing types are:

Type 8

Highway to Hell  (AC/DC)
Go Your Own Way  (Fleetwood Mac)
I Can’t Drive 55  (Sammy Hagar)
Take a Walk on the Wild Side  (Lou Reed)
Life Is a Highway  (Rascal Flatts)

Type 1

Watch Your Step  (Elvis Costello & The Attractions)
Tightrope  (Stevie Ray Vaughn)
Heading For the Light  (The Traveling Wilburys)
I Walk the Line  (Johnny Cash)
The Higher You Climb  (Dan Fogelberg)

Type 9

Slow Ride  (Foghat)
Follow  (Richie Havens)
Every Day Is a Winding Road  (Sheryl Crow)
Drifting  (Pearl Jam)
Driving With the Brakes On  (Del Amitri)

I would appreciate it if you would vote for one song for each type by emailing me or commenting on this post. YouTube has videos of most, if not all, of the songs. And if you want to suggest a song not on this list, please tell me the title and artist. After the voting is in for all nine types, I’ll post the list of songs.


6 responses to “Songs for the Road: Doing Center

  1. 8: Go Your Own Way (Fleetwood Mac)
    1: The Higher You Climb (Dan Fogelberg)
    9: Every Day is a Winding Road (Sheryl Crow)

  2. Sorry, didn’t mean to be anonymous. I’ll figure it out someday.

  3. This is very good and I like the reference to the gastroenterology book. I have read it several times.

  4. I posted this one to my timeline on Facebook.

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