The Enneagram of Personality is a psychological typology system developed by George Gurfjieff in the early 20th century. According to this system, there are nine distinct personality types which each of us falls into.
Each personality type has a different orientation to life, including sets of talents, strengths, weaknesses, stressors and values.
The enneagram system provides tremendous value both in what it teaches us about our own psychology and in the insight, we may gain into the psychology of others. Perhaps the greatest lesson we might learn from of any typological system is just how different we are from one another at the very roots of our psyches. For one person, the most “real” element of experience is the emotional or subjective experience, while for another person it is the concrete world and measurable achievements. Some people actually thrive when they are put under intense pressure, while others are profoundly traumatized by it.
There are many tests online which you may take to discover which type you are. However, the best way to determine your type is to learn as much as you can about each type and see which one best fits your values and behavior patterns.
Type One: The Ideologue
You prioritize perfection, purity and certainty. You deeply value a sense of being right. You are highly organized, careful, idealistic, contemplative, observant and scrupulous. You believe that there is a correct way to do things, and that there is only one correct way. It is very important for you to feel that you are morally righteous, organized, observant and on a constant path of self-improvement. You find a lot of satisfaction in “perfecting” things, even if it is just the simple satisfaction of balancing a checkbook, cleaning the house, or a work of art that seems like every piece is just in its perfect place. Often Ones are religious leaders and men of deep faith, with a tendency toward zealotry and orthodoxy. You hold yourself to the highest standards of nobility, honor, generosity, unity and reason.
Type Two: The Caregiver
You have a deep need for love, approval and overt affection. You crave the feeling of being of service to other people, especially in taking care of their personal or emotional needs. You are always there when someone needs a shoulder to cry on, an extra pair of helping hands, or a happy playmate. In fact, you can be whatever or whoever is most needed at the moment — you have an instinct for what others like, what they will respond to, what they need and how they can be best served. As you look around any room, you may find yourself naturally and even unconsciously melding into the personalities around you so that you can be more pleasing to them. Twos are often in the position of being a “right-hand man” to people of influence, for instance a personal assistant or secretary, because they are so proficient at reading and anticipating the needs of others. You feel deeply fulfilled when someone is counting on you, or when you have successfully aided someone in some way. You also enjoy recognition, gratitude and affection for these labors, for while you may be genuinely motivated by a spirit of selfless service to others, deep down you are actually seeking love and validation.
Type Three: The Performer
Threes are hard-working, calculating, competitive, high achievers and action-oriented. Threes immerse themselves intensely in their work and identify completely with the products that they create and the roles that they play. You like to appear to others as image of perfection, success and accomplishment, and mold your sense of identity according to what is expected of someone in your position. You do this in all areas of your life, seeking to project an image of perfection in your job, as a parent, as a spouse, as a friend, etc. You figure out what it is that you are supposed to say, and you say it, whether you truly mean it or not. This behavior like has its roots in your childhood; in one way or another you may have been taught that you will be loved for your accomplishments, successes and general flawlessness, as opposed to for who you are as a human being or what you truly feel. You thrive in competitive environments where you can climb a ladder to achieve success. You will work tirelessly for days on end, and are extremely adept at putting aside all emotions and external considerations to get the job done.
Type Four: The Romantic
Fours are mysterious, withdrawn, poetic, romantic, creative, inspired, sensitive and given to extreme mood swings. We can recognize the Fourth type in the stereotype of the “tortured artist”, one with great emotional and artistic sensitivity, and one who is highly temperamental and sometimes dramatic. Fours are in a constant conquest for a deep and all-consuming love which they feel will redeem them, complete them or bring wholeness where they feel broken or empty. Often Fours experience abandonment early in life from a parental figure through death, divorce, neglect or abuse and this early experience of pain/rejection has a profound effect on the formation of the personality.
Type Five: The Sage
In a word, the Five is contemplative. You are reclusive, introverted and quiet by nature, and you enjoy watching others, while avoiding being watched yourself. You are capable of deep and penetrating insight, and laser-like focused concentration, and you build your life around these skills, carefully crafting a kind of secluded fortress that keeps out all that would distract you. Fives can make great philosophers, scientists, artists, writers and scholars; you excel at activities which require detached study and rational understanding, and are happy to live an isolated life of a hermit if it deepens and enhances your work. Fives tend to seek out philosophical, religious and psychological systems for understanding humanity and the world at large. You like to understand the essentials; you are not interested in anecdotes or tidbits, but instead want an understanding of the whole, and how all the parts fit together.
Type Six: The Worker
Sixes are organized, strategic, persevering, humble, loyal and devoted. You are intensely observant and watchful, and you have a knack for being able to spot the weak spots, potential downfalls or flaws in an organization or enterprise. You are great at coming up with solutions, and you will work day and night to ensure the security and stability of whatever you are working on — be it professional, romantic, in the household, or anywhere else. Your mind often drifts to the worst-case scenario wherever you are, and this may lead you to develop elaborate theories about hidden motivations, latent diseases, potential collapses, failures or disasters, and this mental habit is likely to bring a lot of needless worry and anxiety into your life. At the same time, however, it is this inborn tendency which makes you an absolute master at organizing, planning and streamlining, because you can anticipate problems and defects even before they have had time to show up.
Type Seven: The Enthusiast
As a Seven, you are motivated by a need for freedom, new experience, and sensual appetites. You enjoy the best of the best when it comes to food, art, wine and company. You may tend toward thrill-seeking, and be the sort of person who leaps at the chance to go white water rafting or sky-diving at a moment’s notice. Even if you are not the outdoors type, you probably have many different areas of interest or skill, and you absolutely hate the prospect of boredom. You are always looking for the maximum excitement at all times and this can lead to over-indulgence in food, alcohol or drugs, as well as promiscuous sexual behavior, but it can also mean a long, full life of learning, expansion and adventure. Sevens often retain an “eternal youth” as you are highly open-minded and curious.
Type Eight: The Boss
As an Eight, you are protective, assertive and a natural leader. You like to work for yourself by your own rules and make your decisions based on your “gut instincts”, which are quite powerful and usually trustworthy for you. The “Boss” types tend to speak bluntly and even aggressively, and you are masterful at applying pressure— psychological, emotional or physical— so that things get done and things get done your way. You love to be in positions of power and are quite good at directing, guiding and even forcing conditions to bend to your will.
Type Nine: The Buddy
Nines are supportive, easy-going, friendly and indecisive. You have a deep need to feel peaceful, accepted and a sense of ease in your life. You avoid confrontation, conflict, self-assertion and decision-making. You do not like to have to take one point of view over another, mostly because you really don’t like alienating other people, but also because you are a basically agreeable person. You would rather refrain from taking any side and flow with the opinions and decisions of whoever you are with, or the larger group of your community, society or family. You are definitely a people person, and enjoy working in groups or teams, socializing at big events and parties, and spending lots of time with your friends and family.