Type 7 is the enthusiastic, adventure-seeker of the Enneagram with a habit of attention that tilts to the bright side. While friends and family might describe Type 7s as happy-go-lucky and relentlessly positive, they don’t often see the anxiety that’s running just below the surface. But the dark cloud of anxiety is there, and if Type 7s seem to have an almost supernatural amount of energy, it is because this drive to be on-the-go is a subconscious strategy to keep them out of anxiety’s reach. After all, it’s hard to hit a moving target.
As a Type 7 myself, I know this psychology well. Before I learned about the Enneagram I was confused about why I felt so restless and seemed to want to go out and do more things than the rest of my friends. I would never have described myself as anxious, but I was definitely high energy. As my relationship with my own anxiety has evolved so have the things that I link to my happiness.
Let’s explore what makes Type 7s happy.
1: A Full Schedule
Type 7s love to have a full schedule highlighted by fun activities and a lot of their mental energy is spent planning a positive future. We have a sense that happiness is right around the corner and scheduling and planning this brighter day gives us a sense of calm. While others might take medication to manage their anxiety, a Type 7 pulls out their day planner and begins filling the empty spots.
From classes to meetups, from lectures to shows, Type 7s love to have lots of things to look forward to. The dirty secret? We might not do all the things in our schedule. We just like imagining we can...Type 7s are also famous for not showing up to events or changing plans at the last minute. For us, a lot of the pleasure is in the mental exercise of planning and imagining. The event itself isn’t always that important.
If happiness is right around the corner, but we don’t have it yet, our Type 7 mind logically believes that happiness is probably linked to something we’ve never done before. This is what fuels our drive for new experiences, and this is what gives us an almost insatiable curiosity for the unknown.
New vacation spots, new classes, new trends - it all counts. It doesn’t need to be big, it just needs to be constantly changing. As a Type 7 locked down in Greece, I take my dog for long walks to new locations every single day. The variety keeps my mood high and means I wake up every morning excited for the day. I enjoy planning our routes, and I imagine each walk will probably be the best walk of my life. And even if the walk inadvertently takes us to a filthy part of town, it turns into colorful adventure, so the outcome doesn’t really matter. It is the possibility that makes me feel alive.
But while Type 7s love variety, we only want it to a certain point. If you look at my food delivery history, I order the same four dishes over and over. Why? Because I know I will like them, and I don’t want to risk a bad meal. My love of variety is predicated on imagining a better future, so it’s a delicate balance. Type 7s want some variety but not too much. What we seek is happiness and that includes some reliably good things we’ll put on repeat.
3: The Illusion of Freedom
Personal freedom is a foundational value of Type 7s. We seek ever-elusive happiness and believe we need freedom to pursue it. From self-employment to long-distance relationships, we appreciate the freedom to call our own shots and design our life our way. But don’t imagine this means we can’t commit. The dirty secret is we don’t need actual freedom, we just need the illusion of it.
If you look at my resume/CV, it reads like I have been self-employed most of my life. This is technically true as I worked as a financial consultant and contract CFO for most of my career. But if you look at my actual work history, you will see I worked for many clients for years at a time. I worked the same hours as the full-time employees, I went to the same office, I had the same reporting structure. I was effectively an employee, except in my mind, I was a consultant who could leave at any time.
This illusion of freedom actually made me more loyal. Since I knew I was a free-agent, I spent zero time thinking about leaving. I focused on how to work better with the team, the company’s goals, and so forth. I’ve learned I don’t need actual freedom. I just need the illusion of it. If you give Type 7s freedom, you will often find they are tremendously loyal.
4: The Present Moment
As you can see, the first three happiness requirements are all part of the Type 7 strategy to avoid negative feelings. And all three requirements have a trap door - the schedule we don’t follow, the variety we don’t actually need, and the freedom we don’t exercise.
But as Type 7s evolve, they begin to understand that happiness isn’t in the future. It is in the present moment. And the more Type 7s learn to become still, to feel their full range of emotion and to become deeply present, the happier they actually become.
For Type 7s, the relationship with time is a challenging one. Our minds are constantly racing into the future, imagining positive outcomes. But with time, focus, and experience, Type 7s can learn to stay deeply present. And this is when we not only find true happiness but can share our unique gifts with the world. If you want to accelerate your ability to come into the present moment, get out of your head and into your body.
The Gifts of the Type 7
Type 7s offer the world the gift of gratitude and the ability to uplift others. It comes easily and naturally to us, and we’re able to offer it most generously when we’re very present. With a mind that’s hardwired to see the positive, this focus is especially helpful when times feel dark and full of despair.
It’s likely the Type 7s in your life have raised your spirits during your darker moments. From organizing parties to sharing uplifting social media posts, the enthusiasts of the Enneagram have a knack for uplifting others and guiding us towards the positive.
A Type 7 can scan a situation that seems like a complete disaster and narrow in on something else. Their attention focuses on the tiny sliver of hope in a sea of despair and that becomes huge in their mind. They can see every facet of that tiny glimmer, and they’ll talk about it with everyone. Soon you see the glimmer too. And then we’re all paddling forward and feeling better.
And the key for Type 7s to offer this to the world lies in their ability to stay connected to the present moment, and while we’ve listed four things Type 7s need to be happy, the truth is there is really only one thing they need: to be here now.