What is Enneagram of personality ?

Originating from the Greek word [Ennéa = Nine] and Gram that represents a diagram, Enneagram of Personality means nine categorizations of interrelated personalities represented in a diagram.  

Enneagram is a tool to assess one’s personality type based upon core fears and core desires. The flow of the enneagram ensures nine basic personality types that are interrelated and their unique ways of relating to the world. Why you think, feel, behave in particular ways that are based upon innate fears and desires.

The insight of this tool recognizes 9 very different yet inherently valid views of reality by learning the reasons behind the ways in which you and people around process emotions or feel, think and behave.

The types

  • The reformer
  • The helper
  • The achiever
  • The individualist
  • The investigator
  • The loyalist
  • The enthusiast
  • The challenger
  • The peacemaker

The enneagram theory strongly believes that humans have innate dominant personality types, something that they are born with. It advocates for the changing nature of human behaviour and how the change is heavily influenced by its environment and experiences. Hence, it is natural for a person’s personality to keep changing even with the slightest change in its surroundings. However, the dominant personality type remains the most significant personality throughout the person’s life.

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For instance, if a person’s test results show no. 5 (the loyalist) as the dominant personality but the person has also high scores in other categories like no. 8 (the challenger), it simply means that the innate personality type of the person is The loyalist with traits of The challenger.

As a matter of fact, the entire population will relate to other types along with its dominant personality types and this revelation does not hamper the accuracy of the test. All in all, a person carries a little of all the personality types in him but the one that is unchangeable and with highest score is the personality type he is born with.

The enneagram was essentially designed and developed to obtain the goal of human development and integrate it in new age psychology.

As the structure and purpose of the tool is human psyche oriented it majorly focuses on an individual’s way of thinking, feeling and behaving in relation to its core fears and desires.

For instance, if a person is a no. 4 (the individualist) then their defining traits would be perceptive, imaginative and passionate with negative traits like melancholic, dramatic and narcissistic. Now, for an individual to exhibit such traits, the driving agent here would be its fears and desires. The general desire for this personality type is to demonstrate their uniqueness by using their talents and the cause for such a desire is fear. This personality type generally fears having no identity.

Understanding Enneagram

  • As the enneagram is structured into numbers people make the mistake of extracting a hierarchy from it. Even if the personality types are numbered from 1 to 9, there is no such hierarchy that states a superior or ultimate personality type. This categorisation focuses on the personality types found and experienced universally.
  • Example:-

No. 9 (the peacemaker) is neither greater/superior  nor lesser/inferior to no. 1 (the reformer). They are very different from each other but since the tool functions on the factor of relatability as  one person may relate to more than one personality type, both the types can relate to each other yet will have fundamental differences

  • The enneagram can be channelised into 3 points. These are functional points or centres which are as instinctive (behavioural), feeling and thinking. Each point harbours 3 types of personality which are tied to a main emotion while processing any situation.Instinctive centre contains numbers 8, 9 and 1 (the challenger, the peacemaker and the reformer). Feeling centre contains numbers 2, 3 and 4 (the helper, the achiever and the individualists). Thinking centre contains numbers 5, 6 and 7 (the investigator, the loyalist and the enthusiast). For instance, emotions like rage and anger are tied with Instinctive centre, emotion embarrassment is tied with Feeling centre and fear is tied with the Thinking centre.
  • Enneagram is a human development tool as well. Along with assessing personality types, it also helps in giving an insight on the triggers and improvement areas of our personality. Even if the dominant personality type is unchangeable, to counter the negative traits which the personality comes with, one can introspectively change into better by focusing on what needs to be changed or developed.
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