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SP Operator

Seekers of action, sensation, excitement and independence.
These types may likely account for approximately 30% of the general population.

Typically encompass Enneagram types 2, 3, & 7
  • Tend to be fun-loving, optimistic, realistic, and focused on the here and now
  • Pride themselves on being bold and spontaneous
  • Make playful mates, creative parents, and dynamic leaders
  • Excitable, trust their impulses, want to make a splash, seek stimulation, prize freedom, and seek mastery of action skills

Sources: Keirsey.com, Jack Falt

Of the four temperaments, the SP is probably the one that stands out the most. This is probably because people of this kind posess a strong desire to shine and be outstanding, which is aided by a natural ability to excel in any kind of performance-related activity. This does not only pertain to the performing arts such as music, theater, and dance, but also the athletic, military, political, technical, and industrial arts, as well as the “art of the deal” in business.

Due to the 'S' initial, which SPs share with SJs, they are most at home in the real world of tangibles that can be grasped, and of real-life events that can be experienced in the here and now. They have exceptionally keen senses, and usually love working with their hands. SPs are right at home with tools, instruments, and vehicles of all kinds, and their actions are usually aimed at getting them where they want to go, and as quickly as possible. Thus SPs will strike off boldly down roads that others might consider dangerous or difficult, doing whatever it takes, rules or no rules, to accomplish their goals. This devil-may-care attitude also gives the SPs a winning way with people, and they are usually affable and often irresistibly charming with family, friends, and co-workers.

A core need for SPs is the ability to act on impulse. That doesn’t necessarily mean being immature and irresponsible, but rather, there is that impulse of energy to do something right now. They just know what has to be done and the now is the time to do it! This can be a playful and fun-loving kind of behavior, but it also means being able to solve very practical problems, such as how to fix a car, put a dress together, or solve a complex engineering problem.

It is believed that a majority of school dropouts are SPs, while a vast minority of teachers are SPs. When they want to, however, they can have the discipline to do the amount of studying needed to achieve their goal and when academic success is the goal, they invariably reach the top of the class.

When SPs are in an overly restrictive environment, they can become bored, restless and/or stressed. This is also evident in school. When SP children have to sit for long periods of time listening to the teacher or having to do repetitive work, they may turn to mischief to liven things up. Many get mis-diagnosed as being hyperactive. Lots of variety and hands-on activities can often calm these students down and are much more effective ways for them to learn. At home, parents are advised to get them into lots of activities such as sports, or just getting them out and playing in a rough and tumble manner.

Adult SPs need lots of variety as well. They tend to avoid committee work but will take on a short term project such as fund raising. When the job is over, they move on to something else. When they do get on a committee that is running very smoothly, they have even been known to create a few problems just to liven things up.

Another core need of SPs is to have impact. They want recognition for how well they perform, which can be very graceful and impressive. This could be manifested in how well they hit a ball, repair a toilet, act in a play, or write a song. They do things because it is fun to do. SPs will practice hitting baseball flies for hours. They do not think of it as a drill. It's just fun to do. Other temperaments might also want to be great ball players, but will do the practice because they know it has to be done.

When SPs are too confined and controlled, they follow the motto: “Don't get mad, get even.” This is particularly noticeable in the teen years. Most teens can be rebellious to a certain extent, but SP teenagers can become quite vindictive when thwarted from their freedom. They still need firm guidelines, but confrontation is not always the best way to handle them.

As lovers and spouses, SPs prefer a freedom-centric lifestyle. There is often a mutual attraction between the SP and the SJ temperaments. SPs want the traditional, organizational part that SJs bring to the relationship. However, as frequently happens with all of the temperaments, they try to change their spouses to be like them. If they do succeed, they may find that their spouses no longer interest them. The answer is for them to love what they have and appreciate their differences. SPs have so many gifts everyone can enjoy.

SPs want to be where the action is; they seek out adventure and show a constant hunger for pleasure and stimulation. They believe that variety is the spice of life, and that doing things that aren’t stimulating or exciting is a waste of time. SPs are often impulsive, adaptable, competitive, and believe the next throw of the dice will be the lucky one. They can also be generous to a fault, always ready to share with their friends from the bounty of life. Above all, SPs need to be free to do what they wish, when they wish. They resist being tied or bound or confined or obligated; they would rather not wait.

There are many SPs, perhaps 30 to 35 percent of the population, which is good, because they create much of the beauty, grace, fun, and excitement the rest of us enjoy in life.

Initial Success-Failure: The SP Faults - by David Keirsey via: http://brainsandcareers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=42

How can so many wildly "successful" SPs have so many train wrecks?

The answer is that skills to attain professional success are not the same as skills needed for personal success. Obviously attaining professional success helps in attaining personal success, but by no means guarantees it. Not every professionally successful person has the associated personal skills. In the current vernacular, not all people have a certain kind of emotional intelligence. Many do, but some don't, and it's not a black and white situation. And, when I mean personal skills I do not include the art of manipulating people.

One can still maintain professional success, particularly in the arts and entertainment field, with self-destructive behavior (drugs, infidelity, poor diet, bad sleep habits, gambling, financial excess, excessive risk taking behavior) for a long time. For example, once you become skilled professionally in arts & entertainment, it is hard to screw up one's skills with drugs initially, and sometimes it helps short-term (like in modern music). And in fact sometimes the skills of hiding personal problems can help the performance. However, the trappings of success (money, power, fame) make the serious lack of skills in the personal domain become much more obvious, partly because the star can have a screw-you attitude and the word gets out. In other words, typically a rich and arrogant jerk is more of a jerk than a poor jerk because he has a lot of professional capital to spend: there are an endless number of enablers and hangers-on because of the reflective glow of money, power, and fame. Its much easier to be a rich and arrogant jerk for a long time, because most people give the rich and famous a lot of slack. Besides, SPs are experts on putting up a good show of it, when the need arises, because SPs never lose their charm, and when they are desperate, they are especially desperately charming.

So once there is success, the issue becomes can the individual learn the skills of personal relations (good relations -- not con-artist skills). This is another matter. Some do, some don't, and obviously there is a lot in between. Sometimes it takes a life time for those who never are forced to learn. George Jones (country singer), Daryl Strawberry(baseball player), Babe Ruth are and were examples of artful dodgers for several or many decades. Others do hit bottom and recover. Often because of the failure in acquiring personal skills, this eventually can effect the professional status. Professional capital can run out, if the SP is particularly self-destructive and if society in general no longer values the individual. Such as the case of Jim Thorpe; his demise was to be rather ugly.

There are sometimes where the lack of personal skills can still be hidden, because work is the addiction rather than the other standard pit-falls of hedonistic behavior, and it makes the SP even more successful. The problem becomes when the individual hits a professional low point, the wild success is followed by the inevitable lull. With the lull, the high of the attention or satisfaction of acceptance of the art is not there as much. "Its not the same." The high needs to be higher. The SP, trying to become more successful to cover the personal problems can naturally escalate behavior to a super-nova breakdown.

After the Last Hurrah, when the cheers die down

What happens when the "charm" or grace does not work or skills of virtuosity no longer dazzles. No matter the skill, there is always a peak, and the direction from then on is downward. The SP is faced with a major problem. To get the attention needed, he must do something but now his tricks don't seem to work as well or at all. Being human the SP keeps trying different things, believing himself to having just a bad streak of luck. Or he can blame it on other people: his wife, his house, his manager, his dog. Since the SP is not as obligated as the other temperaments to stick it out, a change of venue or a change in people (wives, kids, lovers, colleagues) is the fastest solution. Another favorite route is brain-disabling drugs. Any problem can be ignored if you cannot remember it or don't think about it. Having a mood problem: no problem -- chose you mood -- happy pills, calming pills, exciting pills, consciousness pills, unconsciousnees pills, you name it. One can get through the day and night just cycling the moods (pills) as necessary. The only problem is: the higher the peak, the faster and longer one can fall.

Depending on how high the skills takes a person, and how weak the personal skills are, the descent can be slow or fast. The issue is when and if does the SP hit his bottom, if he does not gain and perfect his personal skills along the way. Since charm, wit, and deception (putting the good spin on) are the stock trade of the SP, they will employ them beyond the time when they fail. Bad luck, maybe next time. Devil take care, things will be better tomorrow. The charm and wit has worked all his/her life time, and besides hasn't that charm *always* worked before, except a few "unlucky" times before. ' Everybody has a streak of bad luck anyway? Right? Besides everybody is forgiving me, I am just human anyway.'

'Ok, I will be good.'

'I made it, I will can just occasionally go off the wagon, just a short slip. Then I will get right back on track.' Sometimes the road can be bumpy for decades. Husband, wives, children, and others can be spin off occasionally.

The Crash.

The ultimate bottom is unique for everybody, but the essence is the same. The SP is forced to see themselves and know it can't go on. The con of the moment does not work anymore (at least the SP knows it). They can't fool others that matter and they can't fool themselves anymore. 'I can't con or forget my way out anymore. I need help: for the rest of my life.'

The SP wins when he fails and gives up needing to "win" again. He knows he can fail forever, any moment, By giving up the con, the lie, the drugs, whatever: the SP will win because their natural charm, wit, and talent will be effective because they are sincere, finally, they mean what they say, they will honor their commitments, they will face up to their promises and take their medicine. They concentrate at taking one day at the time, but not taking the quick fix, the short cut in personal dealings. They learned.

The learning of the personal skills for the SP, when they didn't acquire them early in their life, it is easy once that have given up the tricks they used before.

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