Enneagram: Nine Types of Us

Have you heard others talking about their “Number” or “Type” recently? The Enneagram is the talk of the town and becoming a trendy, yet useful tool for personal growth and conflict resolution.

I first heard of the Enneagram a few years ago when a colleague I worked with was using the personality tool with her clients. She gave me the paper and pencil version of the test to investigate my basic personality type. Turns out, I am a Nine – The Peacemaker.

The Enneagram system is subtle and complex. It is a set of nine distinct personality types, with each number on the Enneagram denoting one type. The Enneagram Institute states that it is common to find a little of yourself in all of the types, although one of them should stand out as being closest to yourself.

Below are keyword descriptors of each type:

Type One – The Reformer
Principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic.

Type Two – The Helper
Generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, and possessive.

Type Three – The Achiever
Adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious

Type Four – The Individualist
Expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.

Type Five – The Investigator
Perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.

Type Six – The Loyalist
Engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.

Type Seven – The Enthusiast
Spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered.

Type Eight – The Challenger
Self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational.

Type Nine – The Peacemaker
Receptive, reassuring, complacent, and resigned.

By understanding your primary Enneagram type, your natural gifts are fully appreciated and your limitations can be understood. People find that by knowing your type, you can find deeper satisfaction in work, in relationships, and more fully comprehend the natural way you and others think, process, and respond. The Enneagram helps people learn to see their specific motivations and habits which can assist in learning to live a balanced life. For example, if your basic desire is to feel needed by others, you might say “yes” to additional work, far more than is healthy. Learning to say “no” would create more balance and satisfaction in life.

I have been skeptical about whether the Enneagram has scientific backing as a personality measure, as it’s been a trendy Instagram fad with numerous online tests. In doing a little investigating, there are researchers who have examined the Enneagram. In summary, the research gives a good indication that the Enneagram is reasonably reliable, however, there are cautions to its validity – meaning – there is no guarantee that you would get the same results on a different occasion. However, there is also evidence that the Enneagram does have a positive impact on self-acceptance, self-development, and understanding of others.

If you are interested in learning more about the Enneagram, please visit www.internationalenneagram.org to learn more about the different types and the overall system itself. The best self-assessment that will guide you toward understanding your own type is on The Enneagram Institute site.

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