If ya'll can only hear what happens prior to the recording button gets hit, I mean it's remarkable, but welcome back to another episode of Awareness to Action Enneagram podcast. My name is Creek, along with me are two wonderful humans. We have Mario and MJ. How y'all doing?María José:
What's up, Creek?Creek:
Great. Today we are talking about transmitting.María José:
And I need to do this. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I need to say this, and it's kind of disclaimer. We're both... I mean, the three of us are navigators. And transmitting, and I'm getting a bit ahead here, because we're going to talk about the pattern of expression, but we might be slightly biased here. And we're going to do our best not to get that leak in our conversation.Creek:
Well, I suppose the most conflictual emotions happen around this. Where you might, I would assume that in some ways, you'd think that the zone of indifference you'd have the most disgust for.Mario:
But you're indifferent to it. So it doesn't bring up that disgust.Creek:
Disgust is a strong word.Mario:
It's a hard word.Creek:
It is a hard word, but you know. So jumping into it a little bit. Mario, why don't you just define for us how you define transmitting.Mario:
So transmitting is the third domain. We've talked about preserving. We've talked about navigating, and transmitting refers to a collection of adaptations that increase the chances that we will get the attention of others and that we can pass something on to them. So we talked about attracting and bonding, but even the bonding is this purpose of transmitting something. We talked before about how all of the instinctual biases in some way stick around in us evolutionarily, because they increase the probability of reproduction.
And with transmitting, it's the most obvious part of that. I mean, it's the one that's most visibly leading to potential reproduction. It's basically a bunch of behaviors that say, Hey, look at me, and take what I've got. So other people call it the sexual subtype, or the one-to-one subtype. We can talk later about why we don't use those terms, and there are good reasons not to, I believe, but transmitting is about how do I take something from inside of me and get it inside of you.Creek:
A quick follow-up question. Personally, how have you all seen transmitting help you and how have you seen it hinder you?María José:
I think that when I'm comfortable enough to show that side of me, that wants to transmit, because it is there. I'm able to be more effective in sharing what I want to share with the world. And that could be small groups or big groups or social media. So that impulse that I sometimes allow myself to show to the world, the main way in which my impact is broader. I can have a much bigger impact.Creek:
Yeah. And I would assume by this time, you'll have your own website up with lots of lovely photos that we had took of you.Mario:
Lots of transmitting going on.Creek:
And videos and whatnot. Do you know what that website might be called?María José:
So it's mjmunita.com.Creek:
Hmm, go check it out. It's beautiful.María José:
Thank you for that, Creek.Creek:
Wonderful. Yeah. Yeah, I always push other people to transmit, so I don't have to know.Mario:
Yeah, there you go.María José:
It's much easier that way.Creek:
Exactly. What about you, Mario?Mario:
So transmitting is tricky. So let's see. I mean, if we talk about the value of transmitting in a broader sense, it's pretty clear getting noticed. And in order to survive, we need to be able to get attention. It's the little chick in the nest that squawks the loudest that gets fed first. Why? Because the mother wants to shut it up so predators don't come and eat them. But so we have these tendencies to want to draw attention to ourselves. But some of us, like us navigators, are conflicted in this area.
For me, now I'm an Eight, which in some environments will make me look a bit more transmitting than other navigators do because of the assertiveness of my strategy. And so I feel pretty comfortable in most ways, particularly and I think María José would second this and may even have talked about it prior, when it's part of the role, transmitting comes very easily. So if I'm on a podcast, if I'm doing a workshop, if I'm doing a talk, people will think I'm a transmitter. Because I am good at it. I'm good at transmitting in those environments. But you stepped me out of those environments and I have no interest in it. I start to...María José:
You start to fall asleep.Mario:
I start to fall asleep. This is true. This is true. We already talked about this before. Yeah. Unless there's another interesting transmitter around to keep me entertained, but my default is not to be the one telling the stories, not to be the one talking and teaching and standing out. It's to kind of sit back and observe. So I can very easily slip into the back of a room unnoticed or even slip into the front of a room unnoticed until I go into transmit mode. And then people would say, no, this guy's got to be a transmitter.María José:
To me, it's interesting how, for us as navigators, it's so hard to talk about transmitting in itself, as if it were something that it's independent of our profile. And I think that within we can only talk about transmitting as navigators and not as a transmitter would or a preserver. Because they're not independent. They're all related.Creek:
It feels almost more of something that is a light switch, maybe more of a dimmer, but maybe it's not completely on and off.Mario:
Who you calling a dimmer?Creek:
But I'm just thinking, like, the amount of places that I do perform, whether that's musically on stage or on a podcast, it's something that I can turn on and off. But even when I do a show by myself on a stage, I will turn on and really get the crowd going. And then as soon as I'm off the stage, it's off. And then I have to figure out how to transition out of that into more navigating on some level to interact with the people that want to talk to me.
Yesterday, me and my housemates were picking up tacos, and I called the taco shop, and they both started laughing, because they're like, why are you using your podcasting voice? Oh, I guess I've just been in that in that mode. Whenever I'm like projecting towards someone, I have a podcast voice apparently. But anyways, yeah.Mario:
Yeah. And I think you know, so this brings up a good point because all of these things, and so something María José said is really important here is these things are not independent. And navigators transmitted like navigators and preservers transmit like preservers. And transmitters transmit like transmitters. And the same with the other three instinctual biases.
It's not these... that's why we don't use the term stack. It's not that there are these three independent things and we reach into one box and one situation and reach into another. But it's this complex interplay of the three things and how it shows itself or expresses itself in each one of us.Creek:
Would you say that transmitting oftentimes... Okay, I'll just say for me, when I haven't done transmitting in a while, and I pushed myself to do it afterwards, I feel very alive. Is that something as close to the transmitting or something towards the zone of inner conflict?María José:
I don't know. I resonate with it. I don't know how preservers feel about it. And I would guess that for transmitters, it's more than water they swim in, so they don't feel the lack of it as much, but I don't know. In my case, I feel like with the podcasts, I told Mario, look, I feel this need to do a podcast.
And maybe I wouldn't do it if it was just me talking. That is a lot more uncomfortable, but these conversations, I enjoy it, and I enjoy sharing it and it does make me feel alive. It feels like spring, like more energy and alive and that things are flourishing.Mario:
I always think of the transmitting domain as a cluster of behaviors focused on bringing something into the world. So it's the seed of a lot of creativity. It is the seed of our sexual impulses. It's the seed of hedonism, of pleasure, of expression. And all of those things bring with them adrenaline rushes. So they have these biochemical phenomena occurring. And there is this, to your point, this feeling of stimulation after a performance. You see an athlete after the performance, they feel this. And then what happens is the adrenaline crashes. The adrenaline level crashes, and we start to feel exhausted.
I know that for me after giving a workshop, I feel this sense of exhilaration afterwards, and then I'm exhausted. Okay. Athletes will say the same thing. And I know, this is a PG podcast here, but it's the same thing as sex. I mean, it leads to this feeling of stimulation, and then I want to take a nap. So it's just, you know, that's the way it works.Creek:
We're all adults. Would you say creativity has a direct correlation with the transmitting domain or is creativity found in all three?Mario:
I think people of all three domains, all three instinctual biases can be creative, and they can be creative in different ways. But there is something about the transmitting domain that leads to this impulse, again, to put something out into the world. And that's what creativity really is. We tend to think of creativity as some aesthetic sense or something.
And there are a lot of people who have a great aesthetic sense and are interested in aesthetics, but are not necessarily creative. Okay, if by creative, we mean creating something. So I think that there's a big relationship between creativity and the transmitting domain, but not only transmitters are creative people.Creek:
So this leads us to a good transition point of why, Mario, you chose to name it transmitting instead of sexual or one-to-one.Mario:
It's funny, because at this point, I forget even how long ago, it was, I started calling them these things. And one of these days, I'm gonna go back and see exactly when I made this.María José:
But it was definetely before I met you, because it was already there.Mario:
Yeah, exactly. So yeah, so it's got to be 15 years, at least, if not more. And I was wrestling with the terminology for a number of reasons. And the most immediate reason is, as somebody who works in organizations, as I was starting to recognize the power of the subtypes and the instinctual biases in the work that I was doing, I thought, my God, I kind of have a problem with calling this thing sexual.
I mean, you know, it's just not corporate friendly language, it'll get you in trouble with HR really quickly. And so there were other people around at the time who were referring to it as one-to-one.María José:
And you will not get hired. If you're talking about sexual, it just sends a message that you're talking about something different.Mario:
Yeah, yes. And it's even worse today than it was back then. It's just you're getting into a red zone there. So there was that. And so I started experimenting with the term one-to-one, which some people were doing. I think even in Helen Palmer's books, that's what she used early on. But I started noticing something. And it was that a lot of people who I was encountering who were referring to themselves as one-to-one seemed like preservers, or what I was thinking of as self-preservation subtypes at the time.
And I was wondering what that was all about. Why are so many of these people making this mistake? And what I started to realize is that people were confusing one-to-one with the relationship aspect we talked about, when we talked about the preserving domain. This need to have this significant other close to us and feel this sense of safety and security in them. That was very different from what I was seeing in people of what I thought of as the sexual subtype at the time. Much more intense. Much more vivacious, much more volatile in the relationships.
So I started asking myself, okay, what's really going on here? What other behaviors am I seeing? And this was a time when I was asking myself, alright, why do I keep seeing these correlated behaviors that are not explained by the names of these three instincts? Okay.
For example, we talked about with self-preservation, it wasn't just the self that was being preserved, but it was this tendency for preserving. With this, what I started to realize is that it seemed to be a cluster of behaviors that was all about increasing the effectiveness of my ability to transmit to other people. Get noticed so that I could demonstrate my reproductive fitness. Get noticed so I could pass my ideas to you. Get noticed so I could sell you something. So these non-conscious behaviors.
The other thing is, and I read something, I think it was in the Enneagram Monthly, where somebody made this claim that nobody can be a sexual subtype before puberty, because they don't have sexual impulses at the time. So there's only two subtypes to prepubescent people, which was just absurd. I mean, and I start realizing, okay, this isn't just about sex. And this isn't just about one-to-one relationships. It's about something more. And the term I came up with, it seemed to capture it the best was that it's about transmitting. I think that this term, it also helps us understand why there are so many misunderstandings of this.María José:
I really liked the concept of transmitting that you're mentioning, Mario. And I think that it's a lot more precise and accurate. And people resonate with more. And it's a lot easier to identify people well when you define it in those terms. Now, it is interesting how there are some misconceptions around it.
And one of them, it's like when you mentioned, I want to get noticed so that I can do this. And get noticed so that I could do that. And a lot of people from the outside interpret that wanting to get noticed as something deliberate, as something that people are trying to do. And it's just instinctual.
It's non-conscious many, many times. And it's just what people feel like doing. It's not that they're trying to get attention. What they're trying is to pass on something. And in order to do that, they get attention. But it's hard to see that from the outside.Creek:
So it's not inherently narcissistic is what you're saying.Mario:
Yes. And that's a really important point. Because it can seem narcissistic. It can seem like, Oh, I'm making this all about me, because that's all I can think about. But it's not. And most transmitters, I mean, there are some that are obnoxious, just like there are some navigators and preservers that are obnoxious, but most transmitters, don’t mean to sound silly, but they’re just really lovely people.
And thoughtful and caring, and sweet and kind. And they talk a lot. And they're energetic. I have two sons who are transmitters, and they're both just the sweetest kids you'll ever meet. And they talk a lot. And they're always pursuing things, and they're always taking up disproportionate space in the room. So we can think, oh, what jerks. But no, they just can't help themselves.Creek:
They know what they want to bring to the world. They know what they have to communicate.Mario:
Well, you know, it's funny, because sometimes they don't know. They've just got this thing inside of them that needs to come out. And it's just like when navigators, María José made the point that this isn't being done consciously. And 90% of the time, that's the case with all of us. With navigators, with preservers, there's that 10% of the time, we know exactly what we're doing. I want some dirt.
From the navigating perspective, I know that I'm gossiping. I know that I'm doing my stuff. But other times I wake up in the midst of doing it. And the same thing happens with transmitters. Man, it's just this thing that just feels right. It's got to come out. I need to express myself. I just like it and feel good when I'm doing this.
And so does it mean that I tend to be a little bit more focused on what I'm experiencing than what others are? Yeah. But we can say the same thing about preservers. We can say the same thing about navigators. Okay, we're all self-centered. I'm looking to get my needs met, most of the time. It just looks a little bit different in each of those three groups.Creek:
Alright, so let's transition into the subdomains of transmitting. We have broadcasting and narrowcasting. We have asserting and we have impressing.Mario:
Let's start with broadcasting and narrowcasting, and this is one... It's interesting because I've actually seen some other people when they talk about the instinctual bias put broadcasting into the navigating domain or the social domain, which I don't see. So what we're talking about here is this tendency to just broadcast. When we think of the peacock, like we've talked about in previous episodes, the peacock is spreading its feathers and letting out a loud call indiscriminately, meaning I'm just spreading my feathers for whoever sees them. And I'm letting out my call for anybody who hears it. I'm not aiming it at anybody. I don't have a specific target in mind. So that's broadcasting.
It, just like a radio tower, broadcasts a message. It sends it out broadly. It sends it out indiscriminately, and what ever radio is tuned to that frequency will pick up on it. So there's an element of behaviors in this domain related to broadcasting. And that can be the way they dress. The colorful clothes that they might wear that send a message out. Okay, they're not saying, hey, I want the clerk at the department store to notice me or the random passers by. I'm just gonna send this message out.María José:
Because I like it. I like to wear these things.Mario:
It makes me happy. It makes me feel right with the world. I've got, again, two sons. My 13-year-old just started back at school in eighth grade. And he's been wearing these, you know, the Lance Armstrong, the bracelets, the rubber band bracelets. But he's got 10 of them on his wrist. All different colors, all different sports teams, and this and that, and he just thinks they're cool. And he wears bright colored clothes.
And my other son who's a transmitter does the same sort of thing. Just feels right. So what happens then is that once somebody starts to notice, the attention of the transmitter then starts to go toward narrowcasting. And this is where the one-to-one idea came up. Is that, ah, she's listening. Ah, he's paying attention. Now, I'm going to zoom in on that person. I'm going to narrowcast. I'm going to tailor my message to that individual that seems to be paying attention.
Examples we have of narrowcasting are our Spotify playlists. Spotify feeds us music that it thinks we're going to like, based on the data that it has stolen from random sources. So when it sends us a very specific message, the message I get from Spotify is different than the message each of you get. But if we're listening to a radio station, we're all getting the same thing. So that's the difference between broadcasting and narrowcasting. Send the message out and then narrow in on that one.María José:
And it could be the car that I have, jewelry, tattoos. I mean it doesn't mean that only transmitters could have a tattoo, but it's these impulse to kind of decorate myself or to have things that draw attention because I just like them.Mario:
It's ornamentation. Darwin wrote a book about sexual selection that's not given huge amount of credit, but that he was right about a lot of things. It's this idea that there's always going to be one member of the species that's more prone to ornamentation and color. The male peacock is much more colorful than the peahen. Most birds are that way, where male is more colorful.
Why? Because it stands out. It shows reproductive fitness, etc. And in humans, we see the same thing. In general, women tend to be more ornamented. When we see men, and we get any population of men together, you're gonna see there are some that are more ornamented than others are.Creek:
How would you contrast? Because not everyone who wears a colorful shirt is a transmitter. Right? So what is the... Are we looking for motivation? Are we looking for a pattern over time? How would you contrast that?Mario:
So it's a pattern over time. And we could say... You can never look at one data point. I mean, every once in a while I'm feeling a bit special. Go ahead, María José.María José:
And you’ll change from a black t-shirt to gray t-shirt, right?Mario:
That's right. Yeah, so, but we all have these moments where we want to sparkle a little bit. And so that's a completely natural thing. And then, so we can't look at one data point because if you catch me on...Creek:
Your snazzy Saturday.Mario:
Yeah, on snazzy Saturday, thank you. You're gonna say, Oh, look at that guy with his gray t-shirt, what a transmitter. But so we have to look over time. And motivation is part of it. The challenge with looking at motivation is that most people just BS themselves about what their motivations are.
And we like to think that we're aware of our motivations. But like we said before, we do these things just because they feel right. And the moment we start rationalizing them, explaining them or anything, we kind of start making up stories. So the key thing is looking for a trend line over time.María José:
There's also the additional layer of culture and the stories that you come up with have to do with culture as well. Like in the States, if you are more transmitting and you have a flashy car or clothes, it's fine. Nobody will ask you about it. And you will not probably have a hard time saying that you just like it.
Here in Chile, it's a more navigating culture. And if you're asked about a red car or flashy clothes, you will start explaining yourself, giving excuses of like, why this is not what you usually do, or that it was a special occasion. You will feel more conflicted even if you're transmitting.Mario:
Yeah, and you know, and it's funny. And in addition to that point, these patterns will express themselves, even in different cultures. María José and I one time were doing some work in Doha. And I remember being at the airport, and we're sitting across from this group of women all wearing complete black burkas. I mean, everything except their eyes was covered.
But then you could see on their feet, these bejeweled sandals on some of them. And their iPhones were sparkly and all these things. So here were people even in that kind of culture completely dressed in black head-to-toe, only the eyes showing. Some of them were expressing this transmitting impulse.María José:
The other subdomain is asserting. And here we have things like ambition. And there's these inherent ambition in transmitters, and I think they feel more comfortable with it. They're not ashamed. Why should they but probably other people might be. And they go after what they want more easily than other people than the other two domains. People of the other two domains.
So I've seen groups of transmitters going after a goal or something that they have to do. And they're a lot faster in getting there. They put themselves less obstacles in their way to accomplish what they want. They're just more focused and driven many times. And here we're talking about it in general. It could be that it's a Transmitting, I don't know, Five, and it will feel different to a Transmitting Three. But overall, they're more driven and ambitious than the other two domains. People of the other two instinctual biases.
And together with that, they have lower inhibition, because they don't look at the whole picture most times. They're more focused on their vision, on their goals. They don't pay attention to what other people might say or might think about them. They just go on. That is a big strength to them, because it doesn't stop them. It allows them to move forward. It might become a weakness when there are things that they're not paying attention to. The impact on other people which might have consequences later on. So it has good and bad things but it is a characteristic of transmitters most times.
Finally on asserting, it's this needs satisfaction so they're driven by these desire to satisfy my needs. And they just assert themselves. They move forward. They go after what they want. More so than the other two instinctual biases.Mario:
And María José, as you were talking there, it made me think of my son who's the Transmitting Nine, and how much these things apply to him, even though he's a Nine. And we see that with our our friend and partner Tamar as well. Another Transmitting Nine. A lot of people who meet him think he's a Three, because of this assertiveness, because of this ambition, because of this drive. And yet he's very much a Nine. And once you get to know him, you really start to see that.
My son is the same way. He's got every characteristic of the Nine. And he's also a transmitter. He's relentless. He's assertive. He goes after what he wants, but he does it in a Nine-ish way. So this again points out why these things are so important to understand if you really want to understand the Enneagram. And if you really want to be able to understand how to type people, because we see so many mistypings. And they're almost always because people don't understand the instinctual biases.Creek:
Along those lines of like, for instance, a Transmitting Nine or a Transmitting Five, that seems to have some of that dissonance in it. What does that tend to look like? Is it possible for a Nine to be transmitting, but have a real hard time moving, getting going on things?Mario:
Yes. So again, humans are complex. And humans are self-contradictory, even within the instinctual domain. We talked about these inherent contradictions and dissonances within the domains, but there's all sorts of things that cause us, cause complexity in us and cause things, nothing to express purely. María José mentioned the cultural elements, something we see. It can impede. It can even be something at the family level, where a transmitter grows up, say, in a preserving family, and there's this pressure, stop transmitting so much. So they feel conflicted even though they have this impulse.
And then when you get the strategies involved, again, some of them are very reinforcing. So the Transmitting Eight, the Transmitting Seven, the Transmitting Three, for example, are very much transmitting. Really easy to say, like we talked about with Preserving One and the Preserving Six, probably in the preserving episode. So this internal stress, conflict and friction can develop that shapes the way that both of these things express themselves. So sometimes it's almost like it puts an anchor on either the strategy or the instinctual bias in some way.
And so with a Transmitting Nine, for example, at times, they will fall into this sloth. This psycho spiritual sloth that we always think about with Nines, this resistance to movement, but then other times, they're a ball of energy. They just go and go and go.María José:
And if the consequence of moving forward is potential conflict, they might move in a different way. Just by the side, doing what I want without telling anybody or so that I don't create the conflict. But I continue to move forward.Mario:
You know, and again, I don't know if we've talked about this yet on this podcast, but one could make the argument that we're talking about a model of three personality styles with nine variations rather than a model of nine with three variations. I mean, it's kind of a chicken in the egg sort of question. But you can look at it either way.
And so we can look at the transmitters as coming in nine variations. And some of those are like super transmitters and others are conflicted transmitters. So each of us as navigators, we go about navigating in different ways. So, same thing will happen in the transmitting domain.Creek:
Before we hit the final subdomain, just want one quick question. So like the subtitle underneath transmitting is attracting and bonding. Can we speak a little bit to the bonding part? Because I think that can be misconstrued rather easily.Mario:
Yeah. Yeah. And you're right. There are times when I question whether that's exactly the right word. But there is this element of, I want to connect to you deeply. I want to get lost in you. Or in this experience. I want to feel union in some way. Think of the poetry of Rumi. This desire to be one with the beloved.
And so there's that part of it. It's not always that intense. Sometimes it's, you know what, you look good and I want to connect for the night or something. Or you know what, you're interesting, and I'm really going to enjoy this five minute conversation with you, but then I'm going to disconnect and move on. So there's this need to feel some sort of suction in a way, some sort of connection, even if it's fleeting,María José:
Even if it's five minutes. I'll just be with you. And I will not be paying attention to what's going on around me. I'm just with you. Which is different to the other instinctual biases.Mario:
Yeah, when you're talking to a navigator, you have this feeling that they're always scanning the room, even when they're engaged in a conversation with you. When you're talking to a preserver, you have this sense that they're looking for food over your shoulder or something. Nah, it's a cheap... That's a cheap jab.María José:
It is. I think they might be a bit more guarded in how much they want to let other people suck them in.Mario:
Yes, there's a part that's being held back with the preserver when you're interacting with them. But to María José's point, with a transmitter, when you have their attention, it's just you. You're the only person that exists in the world. And it can go quickly. Bill Clinton was famous for that when he was president, probably still, that he would make people feel like they are the only person in the world for two minutes.Creek:
Sorry, who's Bill Clinton?Mario:
Oh, good grief. Get a history book, Creek. Hillary's husband.Creek:
Oh, right. Okay, cool. All right. So our final subdomain is impressing.Mario:
So this is the part that, you know, I was thinking the Steve Jobs quote, "I want to make a dent in the world." And that's an impression, right? A dent that we make in the likeness of our face, or whatever it is, that's an impression. And so I want the world to know that I was here. And this displays itself in many ways. Writing a book, recording a song, and again, not only transmitters do that, but this is something that's overwhelming.Creek:
I'm going to try to make a movie reference here. I'm not even sure I've seen the movie. I just know the scene from Gladiator of "Are you not entertained?" Does that encapsulate what we're going for?Mario:
You know, I think in that scene he was mocking?María José:
Yeah, I think that there's something about transmitters that they might not even care if you're entertained or not. This is just what I feel like doing.Mario:
Now, I think that the recognition, and the applause, and the praise, and the admiration will generate more of it. Will nurture that experience. But you're right. It is this idea of just, you know, Even if it's carving my name and a tree, or just anything that leaves some piece of me behind in some way. This idea of legacy is really important. Legacy is a big part of this.
And legacy can take many forms, and not only transmitters are concerned about legacy, but again, it's just disproportionate for them, disproportionate in interest. So a lot of names on buildings from transmitters, a lot of philanthropic donations that lead to the establishment of institutes in their name or their honor. All these sorts of things are examples of transmitting.María José:
You're talking about legacy and how anybody could be thinking about their legacy and placing kind of importance around it. Now with the instinctual biases in general, this is not only about thinking about these as good things or bad things. This is about how do I place value so that it determines how I prioritize what I do.
And I might think that leaving a legacy is important, but if I need to choose between that and something else, it will probably not be the most important thing. So when I make decisions that comes into play, and I might not prioritize it. So that's how I think about it. Rationally, intellectually, I think it's important. If I have to do something that goes beyond what I want to do, I might not do it. But for transmitters, this is more life or death thing. I need to leave a legacy.Creek:
The person that comes to mind and correct me if I'm wrong, but the person that comes to mind is someone like Elon Musk. Would that be an example of a transmitter? Or is that just the position he's in?Mario:
He strikes me as a transmitter, and it's in addition to this desire to have these big ambitions. I mean, putting somebody on Mars. These kind of big ambitions come easier to transmitters. I'm not suggesting again that only transmitters have big ambition, but they tend to come easier.
But the thing that stands out to me about Musk is his tweeting. This incessant tweeting of I had a thought. And here's a guy who's running two monster companies and trying to run a third. So you would think he's got something better to do than tweet out pot jokes, right? But he just has to... it's just gotta come out.
Richard Branson is a great example too. I was recently watched Richard Branson's MasterClass on the MasterClass series, and he's just a guy that's like, I've just got all these ideas. There's all these things we could do. He's a Transmitting Seven. Musk is probably a Transmitting Five, I think.
But there's this, man, I could start this business or we could start that business or I could start this thing or I could go have lunch with Desmond Tutu, or I could do this or I could do that. There's just all these things that could come out.Creek:
And contrasting them with with someone like Bill Gates, who does not strike me as a transmitter.Mario:
No, he strikes me probably, probably as a Preserving Five, as I think about it. I remember seeing there was an inter... Letterman's Netflix show, he goes to Bill Gates' home, which is one of the biggest, most technologically advanced houses in the world. And Bill Gates is making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And it doesn't seem...Creek:
By a robot, but still.Mario:
But it doesn't seem like he's doing it for show or for effect. Warren Buffett is another example of a Preserving Five versus an Elon Musk's Transmitting Five.María José:
And when you think about the things they spend their money on, and Bill Gates is spending a lot of his money on vaccines and health. And Elon Musk on getting to Mars.Mario:
On child support. He's got like 12 kids. I mean, Elon Musk. But yeah, and getting to Mars. You're absolutely right.
Let me just make two more comments on this before we move on, but under this subdomain of impressing, we talk about charm, for example. And this is, again, some transmitters are kind of narcissistic and obnoxious, just like people of the other two instinctual bias, but many of them are very charming people. They know how to make other people feel good. They know how to make other people feel paid attention to, which is what charm is all about. I am at least temporarily stepping outside of myself and doing things that will be appealing to you, making you feel good.
And also again, there's this tendency to have an impact. Impact is a little bit different from impressing, even if it's not lasting like an impression is. An impact is something that's felt. So you can kind of feel people come into the room and they like to be felt coming into the room or interacting with the group and so forth.María José:
Made me think of the... making an entrance.Mario:
Yeah, you talking about in Modern Family, the show? Yeah, so the show Modern Family, the wife, Gloria, played by Sofia Vergara, very clearly a transmitting character. I mean, you want to see transmitting, watch that show and watch that character. And there was this great episode where they're going to this restaurant. They're gonna meet the whole family there. They're all showing up separately. And she purposely wants to show up late because she wants to make an impact. Let's make an entrance.
And so even though they get there like an hour after everybody's supposed to get there, they're still the first ones there. So she's disappointed and they're waiting for other people to show up. And so when the next couple does show up, she's not to be found anywhere. And then a moment later, she comes bursting in to make her impact and does this again another time as well. And that's kind of a poking of fun at this, but it is something that transmitters tend to take pleasure in, even if non-consciously.Creek:
I helped launch a coffee shop with a Transmitting Eight. I'll be sitting at the bar, my back to the door. I know when he's coming in. He opens the door very, very aggressively.Mario:
Don't even have to turn around.Mario:
I'm here, bitches.Creek:
Yeah. Pretty much. Yeah. Great.María José:
I wanted to just mention the value of transmitters. In the work that we do with organizations, it's just so visible how that energy, that drive is required. And it has a lot of things around it. Like sometimes is drawing too much attention on themselves and things like that. But if they were not there, so many things would just not happen.
So I think that it is important to take away that it is something, as all biases are, we really need. And many things would not even... Like if we had a lot of preserving and navigating without the transmitting, those would not even be required, because nothing would be there. So it's very, very important to acknowledge, I think.Mario:
It's the transmitting domain that moves the world forward, that creates change, that creates innovation, that changes things, that improves things.Creek:
So like with the other two instinctual biases, we have the dissonance and the contradiction.María José:
So the dissonance is what makes us suffer. It is this inner conflict we have with things that are part of the same domain, in this case transmitting, but are conflicting. So they're both transmitting, but they are kind of against each other. In the case of transmitting, it's bonding and the need for the new.
Mario said something about how I want to be immersed in this experience. I want to become one with this other person. I want that and I honestly want it as a transmitter. But then I also need that energy that gives me something new, the stimulation that that brings. So I'm with you and then you're my best friend, and I happen to see someone else who's my new best friend.
And it doesn't mean that transmitters, because this is a question that I get all the time, they cannot have long term relationships, and that they cannot be faithful and all that now. But these could be sports, friends, places to live, jobs. It can be all sorts of experiences that they kind of live in a very intense way, but then they also need these new things that gives them stimulation.Mario:
It's funny that the many ways in which this plays itself out. I always think of my Transmitting Nine son who we were doing a family vacation in Spain, and we were in Barcelona and walking along Las Ramblas. And we go into this store that was the, I think it was the official merchandise of Real Madrid, which for some reason was in Barcelona, and the Barcelona store was a couple of doors down. But anyway, so we're in there, and my son's wanting to get this soccer ball, football, María José.María José:
Did you buy it?Mario:
We did buy it, but I knew and it was a fair amount of money, because it was an official ball, that sort of stuff. And I knew he's not going to do anything with it. It's going to sit in a closet somewhere, whatever. But he just had to have it. He fell in love with this soccer ball. And he was playing soccer at the time. And so we go you know, okay, you sure you want this, Lex, blah, blah, blah, and so we buy it. And we are walking out the door. And as we're getting to the door, he looks over his shoulder, and he stops and he says, "Oh, that ball is kind of cool," and starts thinking about I want to return this. We're not even out of the store yet. But he just had to have this ball. It was the best ball ever. And then he wants another one.
And you'll see this in transmitters. It could be like María José said, it's cars. It could be partners. You know, romantic partners. It could be friendships and something we'll see in transmitters is when I'm with you, you're my best friend. How can I live without you? Give me a hug. All of these things. Oh, this is my best friend ever. And then years can go by and you don't hear a peep from them. But the next time you see them, it's like, ah, you're my best friend. I've missed you so much and so forth. But it's legitimate for them. It feels phony, but to somebody like me who's a navigator who likes this sort of consistent interaction. For them, it's legitimate. They really are feeling it.Creek:
Yeah, I've had transmitters come up to me and say like, oh, you're my best friend. In the back of my head, I'm like, I didn't agree to this. Like since when?Mario:
I had that experience a month ago. A guy that I had just met, and we're talking about doing some business together and we're hanging out and spent two days and we're at the bar and our spouses, and he's referring to me as like I just love you and you're just awesome. I just, you know, and I'm like, alright, dude, but come on, man. I haven't heard from him since. I mean, it's like, yeah, well, he's not returning my... No, kidding. But really, I mean, I haven't, you know, but next time I see him, I'll still be his best friend.Creek:
Which kind of takes us to the contradiction, I think. And the contradiction is how this behavior, this dissonance can externally manifest itself and drive other people crazy. And the way we describe it in the transmitter is charm versus attention seeking. Meaning that I turn the spotlight on to you and just tell you how amazing you are and make you feel really great. Or maybe I just praise something you're wearing or a song that you've played or whatever. Really charming. Make people feel really good.
And then all of a sudden, the spotlight somehow gets turned back to them. And if it's oh my gosh, I love that jacket that you're wearing. Oh, that jacket is so amazing. You know, I've got a jacket that blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and we get 10 minutes of my jacket. So it can seem like I've been seduced in so that I could then be transmitted at, which can be frustrating to people, and it can send mixed messages. So this is one of the things that transmitters need to be careful about. They don't recognize that they're doing it. They don't mean anything malicious or narcissistic, just kind of happens.Creek:
What would be an example of an adaptive way that works itself out?Mario:
Yeah. So the adaptive way is to put some limitations on how much I talk about myself. So there's nothing wrong with creating a bond, because one of the things that talking about ourselves does is create a bond to people. It humanizes us. And so if I'm telling a story about myself that's you getting to know me, or if I'm sharing about something that's important to me, or if I'm showing you my new car, whatever it is, it's a way of bonding. In any relationship, there has to be give and take.
And so what transmitters need to learn to do is realize how much of conversation they are taking over, how much of it they are dominating, and then bring it in a bit more so that the other person can feel that they're part of the conversation rather than just an audience.María José:
I was thinking about a friend - he's a Transmitting Eight - very much transmitting when you look at, I don't know, cars or things like that. And when we are talking, I think that the time that he spends asking questions, and the kind of the charming phase is long enough that I can feel genuinely that he's interested in me. So it's not short. It's kind of stay there a bit more. So that it feels legitimate, that it feels like authentic. But that could help as well.Mario:
Yeah, it's extend the amount of time before your eyes start to drift for the transmitter. There are some transmitters who are really good at really wanting to hear about people, really wanting to bring something out of them. But there are others who in the moment you start talking, you can see their eyes just start to go elsewhere, just looking for anything else in the world. Or even if you've only said three words, they're waiting for you to shut up so that they can start talking again. So to María José's point, skillful transmitters are those who really know how to make other people feel heard and valued. And not just that they've been seduced into serve as an audience.María José:
I have a friend who she's, I think, a Transmitting Two, and he's a Transmitting Eight probably. And he's always saying to her, ah, you're just seducing people. Like if it were a bad thing, you know, and she's lovely. And people love her, because she's just nice. And she's seductive. She has that.
And I looked at him and I said, aren't you kind of the same way? But I want to, because of the cultural implications of the different words. Being seductive is not a bad thing. It can be a really good thing. You can use it in good ways and bad ways.Creek:
I do want to just note real quick and would love to hear your all thoughts on it, but just because someone is a talker or is not a talker does not make them a transmitter. And for those that are maybe not super extroverted or desired to talk to a bunch of people. Maybe it's not so much that they aren't a transmitter, but more that you just haven't hit the subject that they really love to transmit about.Mario:
Yeah, so there can be part of that. I mean, because the transmitters not going to want to, if it's something that they don't feel like they have anything to contribute to, they're going to be bored with the conversation. I don't have anything to add here, so why even have this conversation? So there can be that element of it. And, yeah, I mean, they may decide that the people around them are not worth transmitting to.
And I don't want to give the impression that transmitters talk all the time, 24 hours a day, because they don't. These things are triggered by environmental cues. And this is thing with all these adaptations, is they're not happening all the time. They're circumstantial. And so it's triggered by a cue. They could be walking around the house all day and not say a word. But then once the conversation gets going and they get engaged, then they're probably going to talk more.
And when they're out in public, and they feel like I need to transmit here, because that's what I do, I have a different set of circumstances to adjust to, they're gonna go into transmit mode. But yeah, nobody does everything all the time. It's an important thing to understand.María José:
And transmitting all the time doesn't mean that I'm talking all the time. So like my daughter, she's 17 now. And she doesn't talk a lot at home or with the family, she would even say, I need to call this person. What do I say? It's just, she feels uncomfortable talking many times, but she cannot go out of the house without earrings, without jewelry, because she needs to be transmitting something. So it's not just talking, but she is transmitting all the time in different ways.Creek:
So transmitting has a particular pattern for expression. We have transmitting, zone of enthusiasm. We have preserving, which is the zone of inner conflict. And we have the zone of indifference, which is navigating.Mario:
This is the area in which I think most people have the most trouble with our description of this and our theory related to this. And I say theory rather than hypothesis. Theory is a scientific term that holds a group of observations together. I'm not posing this as a hypothesis. But because of this idea of social, many transmitters believe number one, that they're social, or number two, that's social is second in their stack.
And they confuse the desire for an audience with the navigating elements of understanding other people. By external descriptions, they're usually thought of as extroverts or social people, for the most part, but that's not what navigating is about. So a lot of transmitters don't see that the actual navigating things, understanding group dynamics, not transactional things, like how do I get this person to buy something, but just sitting back and listening to the non-transactional chit chat of people is of no interest to transmitters. Just don't care. It's the zone of indifference.María José:
What transmitters do is scan the room and get an idea of who is there and who's interesting to them. And then the rest kind of disappears to them, fades away. And they continue to see the people who are interesting. That is different from the navigating scanning of the room to understand the whole picture. But that's a big misunderstanding.Mario:
Yeah. And the other thing is that with the preserving domain, I can't tell you how many times I hear transmitters say oh, I'm terrible at preserving. I have no self-preservation instinct at all. My health is this. I spend all my money. I do that, you know, et cetera, et cetera. And what they're describing is exactly the zone of inner conflict. Because what ends up happening is they talk about it all the time, and think they're terrible at it and they talk about how bad they are.María José:
Because they care about it.Mario:
Exactly right. Okay, so María José and I don't talk about preserving a lot.María José:
How bad we are at it because, at all because we just don't care. But transmitters will talk about it. You'll hear them talking about their diets and their health and their apartments and this and that and the other thing, but always in this, yeah, it's not quite right. I'm not. Yeah, yeah, you know, or they'll take real pleasure in it for a while. And then feel this insecurity. So there's this inner conflict.
So this is really important and it's something that I just can't get through to people. I mean, this has been vexing me for 15 years, because people just can't see this. It's oh, no, no, I'm terrible at preserving. And my reaction is, I know you are, but you talk about it all the time. And that's what we're talking about here. We're talking about the focuses of attention and how we pay attention to them, not skillfulness.María José:
Another thing about the pattern of expression, it's that transmitters, it's just not possible that you're transmitting actively, spending energy all the time. Sometimes you need to withdraw and regain and recover your energy, and they go back to the nest. So they do pay attention to it. They do want to be alone and rest. And it feels many times like they're preservers to them. So some of them get confused or misidentified with navigators, but others think that they're preserving, because they like to be at home, because they see themselves as introverts as well.
But the thing is, is that when they go out, they're transmitting all the time or a lot. And they just withdraw to the nest, to regain some energy. The navigating domain is the zone of indifference. And it's kind of wrong to them, just gossiping or paying attention to the politics, and having to waste your time in meetings that are not useful. Because I'm not useful. By not useful, they mean where I have to listen to people who just I don't care about. I don't care about what they're doing, because it doesn't affect my job directly. And that's a waste of time, so it's wrong.Mario:
In a future episode, we're going to talk about the practical implications of these patterns of expression. And I cannot tell you, in 25 years of working with executives, how many transmitting leaders I have worked with who rose high up in the organization, because of their dynamic, charismatic character, their assertiveness, their desire to make something happen, their skillfulness, and they get up to high levels where the Game of Thrones stuff starts happening, all this palace intrigue and organizational politics, and they just get lost. They just can't see it coming. They don't understand it. They think why are people talking about this stuff? Who cares about this? Let's just get out there and get stuff done. Because of this indifference in the Navigating domain. I've seen it over and over and over again.
Yeah, it's a nuance, right? I mean, and it's almost like you have to experience it to understand it. It's how much... These instinctual biases are often about how much of a charge we get about something. This affective charge. How much we perk up when the topic comes along. And what happens with transmitters is, even though they think they're not very good at preserving things, and they think that they don't care about it, they start to perk up when the topic arises. But you'll see the scales close over their eyes when you start talking about organizational politics, when you start talking about gossip that doesn't have to do with something immediately important.
I was having dinner with a dear friend of mine recently, who is a transmitter, a Transmitting Eight. And I started talking about something, he says to me, is this gonna be a long story? And he asked that, because he doesn't like people telling long stories, because he likes to tell long stories. And he likes to be the one holding court or if he's not talking, he doesn't really want to hear a long story from somebody else. Unless it's a really, really, really good one. And then I'll listen to it. But otherwise, you know, forget about it.Creek:
As we reached the ending of this episode, I'm reminded of at the top we were talking about our conflict with the transmitting bias. What is a part of the bias, of the transmitting bias, that you think is just really great and really helpful?María José:
I said before how we just need that drive, and I admire it. I also admire and envy a bit their lack of inhibition. I think that it allows them to go out in the world and do what needs to get done without questioning themselves too much. I also think that they add color and flavor to the whole world as well. And we need that. So it's in the right amount. These are all things that we all benefit from and that they bring.Mario:
I think anybody can sit and point out things about other Enneagram types, other instinctual biases, that just don't make sense to them, because it's not our view of the world. And it's when we start to not only think about what are the strengths that they have, that they bring, completely agree with María José, nothing would get done without transmitters. But even more than that, to this compassion, remembering to be compassionate for people with the understanding that they are just as compulsive about what they do as we are about what we do. They're just as trapped, just as fixated in their patterns as we can be as well.
I always think of a guy years ago, I coached to a Transmitting Three, was a very senior executive in a company. He came into the company as part of an acquisition, and so he was trying to fit into this leadership team that already existed. And everybody hated him at first, because the word on him was that Joe's always about Joe. Joe's always thinking, how's this going to affect me? How's this going to shape my career? How's it going to damage my career? How's this going to affect my group, etc. So it was a lot of me stuff. And in time, they got to realize that behind that surface behavior was a thoughtful, kind, caring, supportive person who really wanted to see others succeed as well.
And within a year, people would just say... When those sort of behaviors showed themselves, people would just say, yeah, that's just Joe. That's just how he is, because they could see past it. And the key to understanding any of these things when it comes to other people is recognizing that very little in people comes from malice. It just comes from fixation. It comes from habit. And the more sensitive we can be to that, the more understanding we can be, the more we can see what's behind it, and appreciate those strengths.Creek:
I recently rewatched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which is one of my favorite movies, and...Mario:
Creek, you never cease to surprise me.Creek:
But go ahead.Creek:
Sidenote, my grandpa used to say you always cease to amaze me. But one of the lines at the end of the movie is "Beautiful things never asked for attention." And in the realm of transmitting and art and creativity and beauty, that's what it makes me think of. Is it you don't see a beautiful yellow sunflower and get mad at it for being so bright and brilliant and beautiful. It's the thing that it's doing and enjoy it. And it's bringing some joy into you world.Mario:
You're absolutely right. It's the nature of the thing, right? When we show the picture of the peacock that represents transmitting for us, especially in some cultures, and we ask people, what's your reaction to this picture? They'll say pride. And, you know, that's a peacock. It's not feeling pride. It's got a brain the size of a peanut. Okay, it doesn't have this complex emotion of pride. Just does what peacocks do. Like the rest of us to your point. Yeah.Creek:
Well, hopefully that was some enlightening information about transmitters. We love you transmitters out there. And we will... We'll see you next week.María José:
Thanks for listening to the Awareness to Action Enneagram podcast. If you're interested in more information or talking to Mario, MJ or myself, feel free to reach out to us through the links in the show notes or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All episode transcriptions and further information can be found at awarenesstoaction.com/podcast.