Drawing by Elizabeth Wagele
Source: Drawing by Elizabeth Wagele

There once was a frog who lived in a well. One day he took a chance and climbed onto the bucket that appeared every so often. Up he rode into the light. Shortly after this, 8 other frogs, who were very different, took a ride on their buckets too. Eventually they met each other in the light, compared notes, and profited.

The 1-Perfectionist frog found disorderliness and a lack of good manners in the Land Above. He reminded the inhabitants of their duty to improve themselves and was shocked and disappointed when they ran away from him. After he learned more about them and about himself, he was more able to accept folks as they were.

When the 2-Helper frog arrived in the Land Above, she thought these folks would certainly profit from her advice. But they didn’t value her relationship know-how nearly as much as she did. When she looked at the other frogs, she saw many ways of being in the world. Trying these ways out helped her reduce her dependence on taking care of others.

The 3-Achiever frog looked at the inhabitants above and found they weren’t blinded by the quest for success as he was. Most were less needy for attention. He noticed they took time to take others’ and their own feelings and thoughts into account. He began making friends with his inner self.

The 4-Romantic well was deeper than the other wells. This led to the 4 frog thinking she was very special. When she emerged in the Land Above, it took her a long time to admit she was stuck in old habits. She began to see things from other points of view, not just her own.

The thoughtful 5-Observer frog’s well was full of waterproof books. His habit of looking for the Truth continued when he reached the Land Above. Observing the other 8 kinds of folks, he noticed they didn’t live as much in their heads. When he studied them he found out what he was missing.

The 6-Questioner didn’t want to get in the bucket at first, and once in the Land Above he felt unprotected, but some kind folks saw his insecurity and helped him feel safe. He allied himself with one group at first, then realized he could profit from getting to know them all. No longer was safety his only concern.

The 7-Adventurer frog was the first to climb into the bucket looking for excitement. He met everybody in the Land Above and didn’t calm down until he had gotten tired from racing around. He lost some of his need for excitement and discovered other ways of living could also be meaningful.

In his well, all the 8-Asserter wanted was to have total control. In the Land Above, however, there were both leaders and followers. What if he didn’t stay stuck in a leadership role, but branched out into other behaviors too? What if being strong wasn’t the only important thing?

The 9-Peace Seeker frog enjoyed riding in the bucket, which rocked to and fro. Once above, he enjoyed roaming the land and meeting different folks. It intrigued him that the others were finding out who they were and what made them tick. He uncovered many of his forgotten feelings and thoughts and became a more decisive frog.

• See Wagele’s book, including The Enneagram for Teens, The Enneagram of Death, and The Enneagram of Parenting.

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