Famous HAPPY INTROVERT: Napoleon Dynamite


Napoleon Dynamite

Napoleon Dynamite by Elizabeth Wagele

It’s been 7 ½ years since the movie Napoleon Dynamite came out in 2004 and six years since I devoted the appendix of THE HAPPY INTROVERT to the Enneagram types of the movie’s characters. Now the writer and director of the movie, with help, have turned it into a Sunday night animated TV series. The original actors take the parts of the characters’ voices. Napoleon and his brother Kip still live in Idaho—with their grandmother. I haven’t seen the TV show, but from what I’ve read about it, it doesn’t capture the subtle qualities the movie does. It goes for definite jokes instead of the slow, nerdy humor more typical of introverts. The movie’s charm depends on being understated. It doesn’t sound like this series replicates that.

When I first watched the movie on DVD, I almost turned it off after twenty minutes because I was bored. But I came back and watched it again. And again. I started to love Napoleon and his veiled sweetness. He advises his friend in a quiet way, “Just listen to your heart – that’s what I do.” I believe he’s a Peace Seeker type in the Enneagram.

I love Napoleon because he isn’t swayed by what his high school crowd values. He knows who he is and he’s comfortable with himself. His life isn’t about being popular, but about doing his own thing. He’s strong, loyal, virtuous, and doesn’t beat himself up about being grumpy. In fact, for a Peace Seeker to allow himself to be grumpy is an achievement. Most Peace Seekers try to be pleasant most of the time, even when they don’t feel that way.

Napoleon plays a video over and over for many weeks in order to learn how to dance–only because he wants to. He has no reason to tell anyone about it. When he falls in love, he catches his girlfriend a delicious fish—it’s not the usual way to express love, but it’s his way. It comes from his heart.

Napoleon’s style of being in the world is understated. He’s true to himself and his friends. I like hearing him ask kids at school in a monotone voice, “You having a killer time?”

If you want to find out more about introversion or the Enneagram personalities of Napoleon Dynamite, his friend Pedro, his brother Kip, his girlfriend Deb, his uncle Rico, and the kids in his high school you can find out in:

The Happy Introvert, a Wild and Crazy Guide to Your True Self. By Elizabeth Wagele, published by Ulysses Press, Berkeley CA

More famous types can be found on this blog, on my Psychology Today blog, and on my web site.

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Famous People’s Types


Oprah, An Achiever

Week after week the most popular page on Wagele.com is the Famous Types page. I list about 140 famous people, living and dead, and a few movie, TV, and literature characters along with what I have guessed to be their Enneagram and/or MBTI(TM) types.

In “The Career Within You” Ingrid Stabb and I suggest six to eight famous people for each type to help newcomers to the Enneagram get a clearer idea of each personality. Renee Baron and I included a list of famous couples for each Enneagram type in “Are You My Type, Am I Yours?” We didn’t list any in “The Enneagram Made Easy.” There are several famous introverts in my “Happy Introvert,” including a chapter on the movie character, Napoleon Dynamite.

A person’s type is best determined by the person himself/herself. But with famous people, we don’t get the chance to ask them their type. As a newcomer to both systems, the game of trying to guess acquaintances’ and famous people’s types was part of my learning experience, however, and I assume others do this too. It’s important to keep guesses of people you know to yourself, not only because you might be wrong, but also because searching for our own type is an important part of the experience.

The lookalikes that stir up the most controversy on my Famous Types page and among Enneagram teachers are the 8-Asserters vs. the Counterphobic 6-Questioners. 3-Achievers are also sometimes mixed up with 8-Asserters. I’ve received aggressive letters about these kinds of things. It’s not worth being rude about, though—the Enneagram is about getting to know ourselves and to be able to accept others. It’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong about someone who isn’t there to defend his decision. Another interesting thing about the Enneagram is when someone thinks she is a certain type and other people disagree. Possibly she knows herself better than they do or she isn’t ready to accept that she’s the type she really is. We 5-Observers often learn (by studying the Enneagram) that we’re pretty obsessed to want to know everything. When we “get” this, we can often let go about whether we’re right or not. We realize, hopefully, we don’t want to be invasive because we don’t like being invaded ourselves. We still love information, but we’re training ourselves not to think and say “I know!” all the time.

If you disagree with my guesses on my Famous Types page, let me know by sending me a message in a “comment” to this blog or on Facebook. I’ll take your opinion and any additions you suggest seriously.

The Happy Introvert: Napoleon Dynamite


“Just listen to your heart – that’s what I do.”

I used the title character of the movie, Napoleon Dynamite (2004), as an example of an introvert in the appendix of “The Happy Introvert.” He knows who he is and he’s comfortable with himself. Napoleon marches to his own drummer rather than following the collective. His life isn’t about being beautiful or popular, but about doing his own thing. He’s sweet, strong, loyal, virtuous, and grumpy (not all introverts are grumpy, however). And he becomes a hero.

Napoleon has the ability to focus on a video for weeks and weeks in order to learn how to dance. Wow, does he ever learn how to dance! And he does it for only one reason: he wants to. There’s no need to tell anyone else about it. Having learned this skill happens to lead to a heroic act later in the film. When he falls in love, he catches his girlfriend a delicious fish—it’s not the usual way to express love, but it’s his way and it’s touching because it comes from his heart.

Napoleon’s style of being in the world is understated. He’s true to himself and his friends and he’s inspiring. I like hearing him ask kids at school in a monotone voice, “You having a killer time?”

If you want to learn more about the personalities of Napoleon, his friend Pedro, his brother Kip, his girlfriend Deb, his uncle Rico, and the kids in his high school you can find out in:

The Happy Introvert, a Wild and Crazy Guide to Your True Self. By Elizabeth Wagele, published by Ulysses Press, Berkeley CA

http://www.wagele.com/introvert.html

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