In previous posts, I discussed unconventional approaches to character development, including Chinese face reading and numerology. Well, I’ve got another one for you: the enneagram. This system, which goes back at least as far as classical Greek philosophy, outlines nine basic personality types and their complex interrelationships. The name comes from the Greek words ennea (nine) and gramma (something written or drawn).
Very briefly, here are the enneagram’s nine personality types, with a few key descriptors for each:
- One, “The Reformer”: rational, idealistic
- Two, “The Helper”: caring, interpersonal
- Three, “The Achiever”: success-oriented, pragmatic
- Four, “The Individualist”: sensitive, withdrawn
- Five, “The Investigator”: intense, cerebral
- Six, “The Loyalist”: committed, security-oriented
- Seven, “The Enthusiast”: busy, fun-loving
- Eight, “The Challenger”: powerful, dominating
- Nine, “The Peacemaker”: easygoing, self-effacing
I first heard about the enneagram on a radio show, though I couldn’t pinpoint my type. I took an online assessment, read the type descriptions, and determined that I was the poster child for the Nine personality (“The Peacemaker”). I receive daily “EnneaThoughts”; these inspirational e-mails offer guidance for manifesting my strengths and overcoming my weaknesses. Here are some samples:
- One of the greatest sources of strength for Nines is their profound patience: a deep “letting be” of other people that allows others to develop their own way. How can you express this rare quality today?
- What would it be like to let go of your complacency and embrace your higher qualities of excitement and creativity today?
- Remember that Nines can try not to stand out too much—putting themselves in the background so as not to upset themselves or others. Watch for this tendency today.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to slip into the background, settle into my routine, and squelch my creativity (at least until the next EnneaThought hits my inbox).