What is Enneagram?
In my search for a personality type system that can help me with my personal growth and the disappointment from that perspective with MBTI, today I will take a first basic look at Enneagram.
Enneagram is a personality type system with nine types, focused on the emotional aspects of being human. Each type has it’s own driving forces centered around a particular emotion. Some of the types experience strong emotions while others do their best to avoid emotions.
Heart, Head, and Body
The nine types can be divided into three groups;
Heart, the types that depend on their emotional intelligence, consists of type 2 the giver, type 3 the achiever, and type 4 the individualist.
Head, the types that depend on their intellect, are type 5 the investigator, type 6 the skeptic, and type 7 the enthusiast.
Body, the group that relies on their instinct their gut feeling, type 8 the challenger, type 9 the peacemaker and type 1 the perfectionist.
Each of the types is defined by a core belief about how the world works.
The Wings and The Arrows
In the Enneagram picture above we can see all the nine types around the circle and how they are divided into three groups. But to understand your personality you need to understand all the 9 nine types since they are all connected and/or related in some ways.
For example on each side of a type you have the wings, if you look at type 9 at the top the wings for that type are 8 and 1. The wings are related types that your primary type can transit into in order to develop new facets of your personality.
Each primary type is also connected by two arrows, one incoming and one outgoing, for type 9 the incoming arrow is type 3 and this represents the type you have left behind or repressed in childhood. The outgoing arrow, for type 9 it points to type 6, represent the type a person may grow into.
History of Enneagram
Where it originated is not determined, some say it has its roots in the ancient Babylonian 4,500 years ago, others think it comes from ancient Greece 2,500 years ago.
It has been attributed to the Jewish Kabbalah, Christian mysticism, and Sufism.
We know that the modern Enneagram is the work of author George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, a mystic and spiritual teacher who introduced the model as a spiritual symbol in the 1930s.
We know that Enneagram arrived in America in the 1960s, introduced by Oscar Ichazo, who placed the nine types of personalities on the Enneagram system. Shortly after that Claudio Naranjo combined the Enneagram with the latest developments of modern psychology.
Why use Enneagram
Enneagram is mostly used for personal self-knowledge and personality development. It is a tool for self-mastery, conflict resolution, team dynamics, leadership, and emotional intelligence development.
I must point out that the Enneagram is not built on any scientifically valid research, which doesn’t make it less interesting as a tool for personal growth.
The best way to find your personality type and to use this for personal growth is to learn about all the facets of Enneagram and all the types. If you are interested, there are a lot of web sites and books written on the topic. But of course, there are also a lot of “tests” you can take online, both free and paid, and as a starting point, it can be a good idea to take one of those.
My final thoughts
If you have followed me for a while you have already guessed that I have taken one of those tests. In my next article and video, will use my own test results to look more in detail on all the facets of Enneagram such as the nine personality types, the wings, and the arrows, and give you my opinion about its value as a personal growth tool.
As always I will end with a link to my video if you are interested.