The Enneagram is a map for self-discovery and personal growth. The diagram describes the 9 personality types based upon their unique ways of relating to the world.
The Enneagram accurately and clearly describes why you think, feel and behave in particular ways based upon your core fears and core desires.
The wisdom of the Enneagram is that it recognizes nine very different yet inherently valid views of reality. By learning the “why” behind the way you and others think, feel and behave, you gain more understanding, compassion, mercy and hopefully the ability to forgive.
The power of the Enneagram is in its comprehensiveness to harness and transform self-defeating behaviors into life-enhancing personal empowerment.
The gift of the Enneagram is that through self-discovery, you can create and sustain meaningful and lasting relationships with others, God and yourself.
To find your main type, find the type that has your Core Fear, Core Desire and Core Weakness.
Ones have an emphasis on personal integrity and self control. Their attention goes toward seeing and correcting what is wrong, and doing the right thing. They are known
for their honesty, dependability and common sense. Ones are responsible, so much so that they may resent other people who do not take life as seriously as they do. They have high standards and tend to see the world in black and white, right and wrong. It’s easy for them to be critical, of themselves as well as others. They work hard at being right all the time. They are idealistic and will exert great effort to improve the world around them, which often puts them in the role of social reformer. Their crucial elements of growth are to learn to accept their imperfections and tolerate other people’s points of view.
Strengths: Honest, responsible, improvement-oriented
Problems: Resentful, non-adaptable, overly critical
Speaking style: Precise and detail-oriented, with a tendency to sermonize or preach
Lower emotional habit: Resentment, which comes from getting angry, but holding it in
Higher emotion: Serenity, which comes with letting go of anger about the way things are and accepting imperfection
Archetypal challenge: To change what can be changed, to accept what cannot be changed and to develop the wisdom to know the difference
Focues on relationship, Twos excel at making connections and empathizing with the needs and feelings of other people. Usually good at supporting others and helping bring out their potential, Twos find turning their attention toward themselves and their own needs much more difficult. They want to be accepted and liked by others, and will adapt or change to earn this approval. Emotionally sensitive, Twos need to be very careful what they absorb from the people around them. Setting personal boundaries can be challenging, although they may have emotional outbursts to relieve the pressure. While being a special person or earning the approval of others has its advantages, it doesn’t substitute for being loved for oneself.
Strengths: Caring, popular, communicator
Problems: Privileged, naive, dependent
Speaking style: Being nice and sympathetic, giving advice, sometimes militant for a cause
Lower emotional habit: Pride about being special, important or indispensable in relationship, poor self esteem when approval is not forthcoming
Higher emotion: Humility, which is being able to know and hold on to the experience of self-worth with neither self-inflation or excessive judgment
Archetypal challenge: To find oneself in relationship, balancing dependency and autonomy
Threes channel their emotional energy into getting things done. They take the initiative and work hard to accomplish their goals. Highly adaptable, they excel at “feeling out” and meeting the expectations of others when that will lead them to success. Threes like to stay active and on the go, so they find it hard to stop or slow down. Their focus on keeping up their image and achieving results can get in the way of personal needs and health. In American business, a particularly strong Three culture, performers get a lot of positive reinforcement for being productive and efficient. A danger for Threes is concentrating on external praise or material rewards while losing contact with who they are inside. It’s difficult for them to step out of their roles, feel their feelings and decide for themselves what is important.
Strengths: Successful, energetic, high achiever
Problems: Overworked, impatient, competitive
Speaking style: Enthusiastic, motivating themselves and others for success
Lower emotional habit: Vanity, based on keeping up a good image and always being successful
Higher emotion: Truthfulness – the willingness to go beyond appearances and develop personal authenticity
Archetypal challenge: To let go of image and social persona and find one’s inner essence
Fours often experience a sense of longing or melancholy. Something is missing for them, which can lead to feelings of envy. They seek meaning and depth in their relationships, their work or their quest for personal creativity. Many Fours are artists who excel at expressing universal human emotions in dance, music and poetry. While they are good at creating an image, it’s most important for them to be authentic. Often passionate, sometimes overly emotional, their attention moves back and forth from empathizing with others to their own inner experience. Individualists at heart, Fours need time alone. To heal and grow, they must balance sadness with the capacity for happiness and satisfaction, even if the relationship or the experience seems flawed or incomplete.
Strengths: Compassionate, idealistic, emotional depth
Problems: Moody, withdrawn, uncooperative
Speaking style: Sometimes warm and full of feeling, sometimes flat and dry, they tend to be subjective and try to be aesthetically correct. Often a tone of sadness or dissatisfaction
Lower emotional habit: Envy or melancholy arising from the experience of disappointment or deficiency
Higher emotion: Equanimity, which means keeping the heart open and welcoming all feelings, yet staying in balance
Archetypal challenge: Living with an open heart while integrating joy and suffering
Fives focus on intellectual understanding and accumulating knowledge. They are often scholars or technical experts because of their keen perception and analytical ability. Fives value privacy and personal autonomy, and other people may be experienced as intrusive. The ability to detach from other people and from emotional pressure provides personal freedom, but also may create loneliness. Many people of this type are intellectually brilliant or knowledgeable, while feelings and relationships present an enormous challenge. For others, family and friends are important, but they still require much time alone to pursue their own interests. Fives need to balance their tendency to withdraw or withhold from people by reaching out to others, even if that means discomfort or conflict.
Strengths: Scholarly, perceptive, self-reliant
Problems: Isolated, overly intellectual, stingy
Speaking style: Rational and content-oriented, most comfortable in their area of expertise. Not big on “small talk”
Lower emotional habit: Avarice or hoarding, which means holding on to information or other resources based on the fear of shortages, either in oneself or the environment
Higher emotion: Non-attachment, which is letting go in order to be available for replenishment
Archetypal challenge: Participating in life with feelings, and integrating the inner and outer worlds
Sixes use their perception and intellect to understand the world and figure out whether other people are friendly or hostile. They focus on guarding the safety of the group, project or family. Sixes are good at anticipating problems and coming up with solutions. Knowing the rules and making agreements with other people is important, yet at the same time they tend to doubt themselves and question others. They can oscillate between skepticism and certainty, rebel or true believer. Some Sixes are cautious – they hesitate, worry and procrastinate. Other Sixes prefer to stay in the strength mode – they rush into action and seek to brace themselves physically or ideologically as a way of overcoming their fear. As Sixes learn to trust themselves as well as other people, they become more flexible and develop the courage to act, even in the presence of doubt or ambivalence.
Strengths: Loyal, courageous, attentive to people and problems, often strategic thinkers
Problems: Suspicious, pessimistic, doubtful
Speaking style: Setting limits on themselves and others, having serious questions, and playing devil’s advocate. By contrast, sometimes they are ideologically zealous
Lower emotional habit: Suspicion or distrust, which can lead to either fearfulness and holding back or an aggressive and pushy attitude
Higher emotion: Courage, which is not bravado but rather means feeling the fear and moving forward anyway
Archetypal challenge: To sustain faith in other people and the life force, and to overcome the mind/body split
Sevens are forward thinkers and movers. They usually bring an optimistic and positive attitude to all of their activities, which reflect an interest in many different subjects. Not wanting to be limited to doing one thing, they prefer to keep their options and possibilities open. Although they can be excellent communicators, Sevens are less concerned with image and other people’s approval than other types. They put a priority on having fun, whether that’s found in travel and adventure or more intellectual pursuits. Since they are enthusiastic consumers of new ideas, new technology and pleasurable experiences, too much of a good thing can be a problem for them. Because their attention shifts so quickly, it’s challenging for Sevens to focus in depth and to stay the course in work and relationships. Slowing down, being in the moment, and learning to tolerate their own and other people’s suffering can bring needed balance.
Strengths: Adventurous, fun-loving, quick-thinking
Problems: Self-absorbed, dispersed, uncommitted
Speaking style: Personal storytelling, which can be either highly entertaining or simply self-absorbed. They also focus on the positive, and tend to ignore or quickly reframe the negative.
Lower emotional habit: Gluttony, which is not just about food, but rather a kind of intoxication or overconsumption of ideas, fun experiences or substances
Higher emotion: Sobriety, which means both limiting consumption and calming the mind to be present in the moment
Archetypal challenge: To make idealism practical, integrating optimism and positive thinking with the shadow side or problems
Eights tend to take charge of situations and step into the leadership role. Energetic and intense, they can be intimidating to other people at times. Impatient with rules and regulations, they like to do everything their way. Eights place a high priority on fairness or justice. If they feel wronged, they will fight back, since in their experience weakness or vulnerability will precipitate an attack from the outside world. The strength and sometimes aggression generated in this mission can be awesome, but also misapplied. Eights’ challenge is to combine assertion and control with interdependency and cooperation, as well as learning how to curb their often excessive appetites.
Strengths: Enthusiastic, generous, powerful
Problems: Excessive, angry, dominating
Speaking Style: Eights usually speak assertively and exert strong leadership. They tend to be bossy and often get angry when something goes wrong
Lower emotional habit: Anger and excessiveness, with a revengeful attitude toward people
Higher emotion: Innocence, which means to face life with an open heart and without cynicism
Archetypal challenge: To harness the life force in productive ways, integrating self-assertion with vulnerability
Balanced at the top of the Enneagram, Nines are the most basic or undistorted personality type. People of this type come in all shapes and sizes, but they share a common problem with inertia or momentum. Whether they are lazy in the traditional sense or hard workers continually on the move, Nines have a problem with priorities and find it difficult to change directions or shift attention to what is most important. They are self forgetful, meaning they forget their own agenda. Nines excel at seeing all points of view, so while it might be difficult for them to make personal decisions, they can be excellent mediators and peace-makers for others. Nines seek harmony in their environment. They are body-based types, with a strong sense of gut-level knowing, although paradoxically, they can be out of touch with their bodies in other ways.
Strengths: Balanced, accepting, harmonious
Problems: Stubborn, ambivalent, conflict avoidant
Speaking style: Inclusive and welcoming at their best, Nines may have trouble getting to the point. They can be linear and controlled, or quite scattered.
Lower emotional habit: Laziness of attention, or heedlessness, makes it hard for them to face priorities or conflict
Higher emotion: Right action, which is the willingness to do what needs to be done and take care of oneself well in the process
Archetypal challenge: Waking up to priorities in the present moment, integrating harmony with conflict
The Enneagram is a powerful gateway to self-awareness and understanding of others. It describes the structure and dynamics of nine personality types, opening a path to a more integrated and rewarding life.
Stemming from the Greek words ennea (nine) and grammos (a written symbol), the nine-pointed Enneagram symbol represents nine distinct strategies for relating to the self, others and the world. Each Enneagram type has a different pattern of thinking, feeling and acting that arises from a deeper inner motivation or worldview.
As a tool for personal and collective transformation, the Enneagram fosters greater understanding through a universal language that transcends gender, religion, nationality and culture. While we are all unique, we share common experiences.
Determining our personality type through the Enneagram does not put us in a box, but helps us see the box from which we experience the world. With this awareness, we can step outside of our limited perspective. Ideally, personality is an effective way to express ourselves, but challenges arise when our point of view becomes rigid and we get stuck in automatic habits. By discovering these unconscious patterns, we can lead more fulfilling lives, enjoy healthier relationships, and connect to our true essence.
Working with the Enneagram can help us become more successful in our relationships at home and at work. By understanding our own automatic reactions and blind spots, we can be more flexible and skillful with the people in our lives. When we understand what others are thinking and feeling, we become more tolerant and compassionate. It also helps us not to take other people’s negative reactions or hostility so personally.
By identifying the psychological and emotional defenses specific to our type, the Enneagram creates opportunities for profound personal growth and healing. At yet another level, it offers a path for developing an inner life and opening to the presence of Spirit within us.
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Rustan has a big passion and focuses on studying the wisdom of the Enneagram for developing self-acceptance and self-awareness and to understand how the 9 different types of the Enneagram act and interact. He has also been doing training as a healer, in various breathwork practices like Rebirthing, Transformational Breath, Source Breath, and Kundalini yoga. Also, tools to release traumatic experiences have been an interest for some years. Rustan is a New Humanity Divine Life certified teacher and his hobbies are listening to music, reading spiritual books, winter swimming, and bicycling in Nature.