robin-williams-enfp-personalityJoel and I have been discussing the tragedy of Robin William’s suicide, especially as it relates to his type as an ENFP personality – or, Exploration/Authenticity in the Genius System.

He was an amazing performer, but by all accounts when he wasn’t performing he was shy and had difficulty connecting with others.

A big question I keep seeing (or, rather, assertion I keep reading) is that people who are truly funny always balance it with a ‘dark side’, can’t connect with others authentically (that’s what the humor is for – to manufacture a feeling of relationship), and will almost always have lows as low as the highest high.

I’m not an expert on mental health, depression or suicide. An explanation of why Williams may have taken his life is being attempted by a lot of people right now, and I’ll leave it to others far more qualified than I to take on that task.

That said, I have observed often that the more time and effort we spend on truly developing and exercising our co-pilot process the heartier we are at dealing with some truly horrific things that life can throw at us.

I recently ran into the video below.

The comedian, Russell Brand, another ENFP personality (Exploration/Authenticity), has clearly spent a lot of time developing his Authenticity co-pilot process.

He’s a fantastic performer, very charismatic, and if given the right platform will often resemble Robin Williams in his energy and effusiveness.

He refers to himself as insane, but don’t let him fool you.

Instead of having difficulty connecting without the tool of performance, Brand appears far more responsive to people around him.

For example, in the situation in the video below there is no safe container for performance, so he instinctively understands it’s on him to create it.

In fact, as the people around him get more and more insecure, he gets more and more authentic and rests into himself.

There’s a connective element to his interaction, true concern in his voice toward the interviewers, which is quite disconcerting to them as they are fully in ‘performance’ mode.

It’s not easy to develop oneself when in the public eye, and it can be comforting to fall back on synthetic relationships when you’re really, really good at creating them.

For people of all types some of the hardest work is letting oneself recognize the difference between true development, and the illusion of growth based on accolades we may get for having talents others admire.

The litmus test is this: the former fills us to the brim with self-love, the latter always leaves us starving for more.

Read more about the Authenticity process here.


p.s. I’ve rarely seen such an amazing example of development in an performer. The closest is Jon Stewart, who is most likely an ENTP – Exploration/Accuracy.

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  • Samira Khan
    • Samira Khan
    • September 27, 2023 at 12:05 pm

    I’ve read this twice now because it’s been recommended in the emails I’ve received, and I was hoping that this would have been updated through the lens of Robin Williams’ diagnosis and his brain lesions, both of which were revealed posthumously.

    With regard to Russel Brand, regardless of what has now come to light or what has already been an open secret, I always found that his style of verbal theatrics was a method of dominating and controlling the conversation to manipulate his interactions with others, even if it was entertaining or if he was getting at something real. In most casual situations, particularly with women, it was about dominance or control and not about having a sincere connection or conversation about concepts. However, I do believe that in the interview mentioned in this post (which can be found on YouTube), he shows a level of sincerity and authenticity, especially when he tries to go deeper into the meaning of the comedy show he was promoting and have a real conversation with the interviewees. He also, in the few episodes I’ve seen, showed this sincerity with guests on his podcast regardless of their gender.

    For analysis and educational purposes, after stating the broad idea of “there wasn’t a safe container for performance”, it would have been helpful if the author of this post described what they mean by safe container by either defining what they think it means or by giving an example of how or what part of the interview was not a safe container for performance. What is a container or a safe container? How was the interview not a safe container? I’m an ENFP so I can understand concepts, but as a reader an example would be useful to demonstrate which part of the interview or how the interview is not considered a safe container.

    I would really like to learn more about developing Authenticity, and I am curious about the how, so it would be insightful to have this post updated with other examples of underdeveloped Authenticity that have not been influenced by physiological abnormalities, particularly brain defects. It would also be helpful to have examples of developed Authenticity that do not have the manipulative and controlling parts of an ENFP.

    Personally, I think George Carlin, was an example of developed Authenticity. He believed his personal values (family and romantic love) were the only truly lasting values, and he understood that his performance wasn’t necessarily for a higher purpose but the part of his child-class-clown self that would be like, “watch this”.

    I usually engage with the content by Personality Hacker for educational and analytical purposes (I’ve bought the course on ENFP), and so I would love to see this blog post updated with examples of developed authentic and inauthentic ENFPs and concrete examples when describing concepts and situations, for the purpose of understanding how to develop my own Authenticity better.

    Also, I enjoy engaging with this type of content ?

  • Damion
    • Damion
    • July 15, 2023 at 7:35 am

    I sometimes notice that whenever someone around me is too shy, or scared, or juay feeling negatively about doing something that they want to do, I Instinctively become the total opposite of their emotions and feel i can and I will do whatever I feel like I. Those moments, which are usually helping my friend. But on the flip side, if my friend is the one who is not shy about anything or whatever. Then I again become the opposite..

  • Raquel
    • Raquel
    • May 11, 2020 at 8:05 am

    Ok so here’s what my spidey sense tells me. As a feeler and a film director whose drug is to find authentic performances, I think Russell Brands self esteem is a100% dependant on the support and potentially numbers of his audience. His bravadery on calling out people’s truth is only ever as strong as the people who cheer him on. Take all that away and I reckon he would be a very confused and possibly angry man. I dont think he’s a good example of a healthy ENFP at all any more than Robin Williams. They just have/had different enneagrams.

  • BB
    • BB
    • April 21, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    I found this comment extremely useful as I’m just learning about myself as an ENFP. I also agree with how a women doing this could be perceived, I’m a 30 year old actor and improviser.

    Yes I think the lovely Russell is definitely in turbo mode here… It’s amazing to see how much his behaviour has changed from all the inner work he has done over the years.

  • Soraya
    • Soraya
    • February 2, 2019 at 11:04 pm


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