I'm Literally Designed To Hate Exercise

Okay, admittedly the title of this one is a bit intense.

I had a revelation this morning that has rocked my world and that’s the biggest reason for the dramatic tension of the above.

I’m not a huge believer in the world of personality tests. But I love them. The MBTI is a tool that I carefully use, even if it isn’t drastically trustworthy. The more recent fad of the Enneagram is one that I gave an equal distance away from my psyché.

At their worst, these tests can develop a serious dependence on unhealthy habits.

But, at their best, these tests are educational tools that help us understand a bit more about the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ in the way that we subconsciously approach life.

Case in point - let me elucidate a bit about the revelation I experienced this morning.

I was listening to a podcast and the guest mentioned a bit about how the number we score the highest on with our Enneagram can influence our exercise and food habits.

Writing it out… it’s, like, duh? But I had never really considered the connection here.

I’ve always been incredibly hard on myself when it came to sports and exercise. I tried soccer (for literally three months) in fourth grade. That’s it. That’s the sport I played and the experience I had with it.

I’ve dabbled here and there in racquetball and golf - but never seriously.

I’ve always considered myself naturally incapable of the skills required for these activities. So I avoided them like the plague. I always preferred to watch from the wall or sit coldly in the bleachers without much enthusiasm.

The closest I’ve ever been to a football field was dancing as the mascot at my high school. And even that was more akin to my love of theater than anything sport-influenced.

But then I hear this podcast and everything clicks into place.

I’m a 5 wing 4 on the Enneagram. There’s a lot to this, but essentially the 5 is the Investigator. The 5 likes to consider themself an intellectual. They are introverted often and like the act of research and study. They also like to hear themselves talk and vision the future for others. The 4 wing adds in a touch or two of passionate creativity into the mix.

Nothing sporty about that, right?

Wrong. The Investigator seeks out understanding. Understanding is the fulfillment of knowledge. The fulfillment of knowledge is the completion of study.

Sports aren’t about completion. They are about tenacity and practice. One might never achieve fulfillment in their sport of choice or in their pursuit of exercise. There are plenty who exercise for sustaining a weight - not reaching an outlandish goal.

I have no interest in a sport because the odds of my being the best at it are astronomical. Not because of a lack of talent - but because it’s a challenging thing for anyone to do. Since it’s a challenge that is unlikely, my analytical brain decides it isn’t worth pursuing. Thus - I have no interest in pursuing this thing on a subconscious level.

I have an innate proclivity to avoid the mundane monotony of modern exercise that drives others to do precisely that.

So what does this mean for me?

My healthiest exercise routine is one that is connected with a fulfilling ending. I set the goal for myself to walk for precisely thirty minutes - BOOM - I’m motivated to do it. If I set myself to train for a 5K, then I couldn’t care less. It feels unfeasible. My brain believes I could never hope to be #1 in that race.

I’m aware that this may be the incorrect way to look at things subjectively. I’m wont to agree, in fact. If you asked me before this revelation, I would have told you that I am the furthest thing from a competitive person. But now I’ve learned that this isn’t actually true. I am competitive - but it isn’t that which motivates me. It deters me from the thing instead.

What does your approach to life say to your exercise routine? Your gaming routine? Our subconscious is more connected than we may realize to the way that we approach the rest of life. But awareness is key.

This whole blog, by the way, is totally something a Enneagram 5 would think as they process this information. Hook, line, and sinker, I guess?


March 11th, 2022