Category Archives: Compliant Stance

Look, a Bird!

Procrastination

Everyone procrastinates at one time or another, but not everyone is a habitual procrastinator. Procrastination is a characteristic often associated with 6s. It is also quite often linked with perfectionism, as if perfectionism is a direct and quantifiable cause of procrastination. This is one of those things I’ve always wondered about because 6s have never seemed like perfectionists to me.

6s can be full of anxiety, however; so maybe anxiety leads to procrastination. But according to the research, the anxiety people feel when a deadline is staring them in the face and they aren’t sure they can meet it is the result of having procrastinated.

According to analysis of about a hundred studies involving tens of thousands of participants, anxiety produces a negligible amount of procrastination at best—and even that tiny amount disappears completely after you take into account other personality characteristics, especially impulsiveness.
–Piers Steel, Ph.D., author of The Procrastination Equation

Impulsive?

It turns out that perfectionists actually tend to procrastinate less than other people do, which makes sense when you think about it. According to Piers Steel, it’s impulsiveness that is “the nickel-iron core” of procrastination:

[I]mpulsiveness creates procrastination because it makes small but immediate temptations, like playing Minesweeper or updating your social network status, especially attractive. The reward might be small but the delay is virtually nonexistent. On the flip side, large but distant rewards, like graduating or saving for retirement, aren’t valued much at all. Despite their importance, these long-term goals don’t motivate us until the march of time itself eventually transforms them into short-term consequences. Only in those final hours do we frantically try to catch up on what we really should have addressed long before. The more impulsive you are, the closer to deadlines you need to be before you’ll feel fully motivated.

Or Distractible?

That makes sense, but I wonder if distractibility—which means to turn away from the original focus of attention or interest—might not be a more apt term for this than impulsiveness—which means to act suddenly on impulse without reflection.

Just as everyone procrastinates from time to time, anyone can become distracted. But maybe some Enneagram types are naturally easier to distract than others.

1s, 2s, and 6s, the Compliant types, are prone to getting caught up in, and distracted by, whatever is going on in the immediate moment, at which point they lose sight of the bigger picture. It seems like they have a more difficult time keeping focused.

9s are notorious for their low distractibility threshold. One 9 in an Enneagram video confessed that even if she had to be somewhere at a particular time and was already late, she might still find herself at home picking dead leaves off of her plants. Random elements in the environment reach out and grab 9s’ attention. “Look, a bird!”

4s and 5s are not naturally focused on or attuned to the demands of the external world. When they put things off, is it because they are procrastinating or because they simply don’t care? Maybe it’s the same thing. Steel says:

Two big contributing factors to procrastination are straightforward: low self-confidence and the aversiveness of tasks. If we doubt our ability to complete a chore and find it as exciting as watching concrete set, we are more likely to put it off. It is no wonder that taxes, which are both difficult and boring, are famous for making procrastinators out of almost all of us.

So 4s might be inclined to procrastinate about boring tasks and 5s about tasks they feel less confident about doing successfully.

7s are sometimes described as impulsive and other times as distracted, as if the terms mean the same thing, which they don’t. I think impulsive better defines them than distracted, but they are likely to procrastinate when it comes to doing things they see as painful or unpleasant.

8s are usually very focused and don’t appear to be procrastinators, but they are no strangers to it. For one thing, they tend to avoid doing things that aren’t a part of their current agenda. For another, they don’t see a problem in putting things off till the last minute, or not doing them at all, figuring they can deal with the consequences.

3s may be the least likely of all the types to procrastinate. Their drive to succeed means they need to do whatever they attempt well. Procrastinating would be too dangerous a game to play.

Go ahead, procrastinate

How much do you procrastinate? Here’s a link to a procrastination survey you can complete. It might be an interesting distraction.

Advertisements

Keywords: The Madeleines of Journal Writing

Before starting this post, I went into the closet in my office in search of three plastic sandwich bags full of folded slips of different colored paper with words typed on them. I’ve used those bags (and words) in my own creative writing exercises as well as in writing workshops. I found one bag full of lime green nouns, one bag full of fuchsia verbs, and one bag full of teal adjectives. I opened the teal bag without recalling what kind of words were inside and pulled out new. New is good—and so apt for the beginning of a post!

I’ve been playing around with individual words and phrases for decades. My Stance Keyword Comparison Checklist was an outgrowth of a long-term fascination with arranging and grouping words that seem to evoke a concept or a mood or an attitude or a way of being. Sometimes it’s easier to gauge your reaction to a list of keywords than it is to read through narrative descriptions. A single word can send you off on a journey, much like the madeleine that sent Marcel Proust off in Remembrance of Things Past.

When I was a substance abuse counselor, I used a two-page handout called “How Do You Feel Today?” It consisted of 140 words that described feeling states, each one illustrated by what was essentially an emoticon (although I’m pretty sure the handout pre-dated emoticons). It wasn’t in color, but it looked a little like this example (without the misspelling). Continue reading

Ennea-Journaling the Compliant Stance

Thank goodness for the Compliant types! They may have a tough row to hoe trying to cajole the Aggressive and the Withdrawing types into getting with the program—which must be a lot like herding cats—but at least they’re aware there’s a program everyone needs to get with. If the rest of us would just cooperate a little more, it would take a lot of the pressure off them, and they’d be able to loosen the reins on their hypervigilance.

It’s hard to face that open space.

— Neil Young

Is this your stance or the stance of someone you know? Compliant types often present a calm, capable, pleasant persona to the rest of the world, while inside they may be filled with anxiety and apprehension. In spite of their inner turmoil, they tend to be loyal and responsible individuals who do what they say they will do—personally and professionally.

Here are some topics to use for journal writing with a focus on the Compliant stance. If this isn’t your stance, but is the stance of someone close to you, try writing one of the following exercises from that person’s perspective. For flow-writing, set a timer, write a topic sentence at the top of a page, and then begin writing. Keep your pen moving across the page, even if you can’t think of what to write next. Write “blah, blah, blah,” if you have to. Trust that you’ll get back into the flow. Continue reading

Changes in Attitudes … Changes in Latitudes

The word “stance” usually refers to some kind of motionless or standing posture. So it’s an interesting choice of word to describe three different ways of moving. Instead of stances, we’re actually talking about different approaches. But we’re sort of stuck with the vocabulary at this point—at least I am.

The stance we take—moving against (Aggressive), moving away from (Withdrawing), or moving toward (Compliant)—is basic to who we are and underlies our automatic responses and reactions to the world around us and to the other people in our lives. Although it’s true we access the other two stances occasionally, the stance our type takes is our “go to” stance—the approach we fall back on, especially under pressure or in unfamiliar or uncomfortable situations.

 Moving Against
Fighting
The Aggressive types (3, 7, and 8) generally take a direct approach,
moving against what gets in the way of what they want.

Moving Away From
Keeping to Oneself
The Withdrawing types (4, 5, and 9) turn inward to find fulfillment,
moving away from what disturbs them.

Moving Toward
Giving in to Others
The Compliant types (1, 2, and 6) tend to seek a point of reference outside themselves, moving toward what will help them earn what they need. Continue reading

The Nature/Nurture Continuum

The debate about how we become who we are used to be framed in either/or terms: nature versus nurture. To take the side of nature was to argue that our personalities and behaviors are entirely the result of our genetic inheritance, already fixed in place when we’re born. To take the side of nurture was to argue that nothing of our personalities and behaviors is present at birth; we are totally at the effect of our environment, our relationships, and the myriad of influences we experience growing up.

Both extremes always seemed fairly hopeless to me, each in a different way. Fortunately, there are no longer many people arguing exclusively for either side. It’s pretty commonly accepted that who we are is a result of both nature and nurture.

They’re the opposite ends of a continuum, sort of like the male and female brain I wrote about in my previous post. I don’t know that a formula exists to say this percentage of me (or you) is a result of nature and this percentage is a result of nurture. We all come into the world with some attributes, characteristics, and preferences in place. Depending on what they are and how strong they are, they may even override some aspects of nurture. On the other hand, for someone who’s forced to deal with extremely difficult circumstances (physical, mental, or emotional) as they’re growing up, nurture could have a more powerful effect than it might on someone raised under more favorable conditions.  Continue reading