Each of us has an image of what we think we are or what we should be and that image prevents us from seeing ourselves as we actually are. And if we can’t see ourselves as we actually are, how are we supposed to actualize our potential? In order for us to understand ourselves better, we need a great deal of humility. We need to be in a constant state of observation and learning. One of my favourite lines from Jiddu Krishnamurti’s book Freedom from the Known is “If you think you know yourself, you’ve probably stopped learning about yourself.” Use the descriptions below to identify your personality type. Each type has its own unique capacities and limitations. Use the information to become a better version of yourself.
The nine enneagram personality type descriptions are from the book The Nine Personality Types of the Enneagram by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson. The Enneagram is arguably the most open-ended and dynamic of typologies. As you read the descriptions, think about your personality. Which of the following nine roles fits you best most of the time? Or if you were to describe yourself in a few words, which of the following word clusters would come closest?
Type 1. The Reformer: The Rational, Idealistic Type
Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their Best: wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. Can be morally heroic.
Type 2. The Helper: The Caring, Interpersonal Type
Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs. At their Best: unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others.
Type 3. The Achiever: The Success-Oriented, Efficient Type
Threes are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised, but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At their Best: self-accepting, authentic, everything they seem to be-role models who inspire others.
Type 4. The Individualist:The Sensitive, Introspective Type
Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative, and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity. At their Best: inspired and highly creative, they are able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.
Type 5. The Investigator: The Intense, Cerebral Type
Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation. At their Best: visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way.
Type 6. The Loyalist: The Committed, Security-Oriented Type
Sixes are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. Excellent “troubleshooters,” they foresee problems and foster cooperation, but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious-running on stress while complaining about it. They can be cautious and indecisive, but also reactive, defiant and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion. At their Best: internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing themselves and others.
Type 7. The Enthusiast: The Busy, Variety-Seeking Type
Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their Best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.
Type 8. The Challenger: The Powerful, Dominating Type
Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable. At their Best: self-mastering, they use their strength to improve others’ lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring.
Type 9. The Peacemaker: The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type
Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually grounded, supportive, and often creative, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but they can also tend to be complacent and emotionally distant, simplifying problems and ignoring anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. At their Best: indomitable and all-embracing, they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts.
For more information about the Enneagram system, please visit the Enneagram Institute World Headquarters website: http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/intro.asp