What is the Enneagram?
The Enneagram is a personality system that aims to reveal how emotions drive our lives and how we engage with others in an effort to get what we want and need. The Enneagram defines nine personality types, each with its own set of strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for personal growth.
Your Enneagram type reveals what motivates you on a very deep level, and illuminates the path you must take to achieve a higher level of self-actualization.
The 9 Types of the Enneagram
Each of the nine types of the Enneagram has its own driving force, which is centered around a particular emotion. Some types experience strong emotions, while other types aim to avoid emotions in one form or another. However, whether running from emotions or diving into them, each type describes some aspect of emotional experience.
The nine types of the Enneagram are commonly divided into three groups of three types each: Body Types, Head Types, and Heart Types. Each of these groups is considered to be driven by a particular center of intelligence and a particular core emotion.
Body types are driven by instinct and are tuned into their five senses as a primary means of gathering information. Body types often feel their emotions and reactions in their stomach and have a “gut sense” for things.
For body types, the core emotion is anger. This does not necessarily mean that all body types experience anger frequently. Some people who are body types repress their anger; however, it is still a driving force in their thoughts and actions.
EIGHT | 70% MATCH
Eights see themselves as strong and powerful and seek to stand up for what they believe in. They rarely see themselves as having vulnerabilities and have the belief that they can handle pretty much anything that comes their way. Eights have easy access to their anger, and as a result, are sometimes seen as intimidating to others. However, Eights typically see themselves as fighters, standing up for what is right and protecting the weak.
NINE | 95% MATCH
Nines are defined by a desire to live in peaceful harmony with their environment. They want a sense of balance and calm, and aspire to a kind of homeostasis where nothing disturbs their inner peace. They tend to be easygoing and accepting of what is happening around them, but can become resistant and willfully oblivious when something in the environment threatens to throw them off balance.
ONE | 38% MATCH
Ones are defined by their belief that everything must be in order, and by their feeling that they must always be “right.” They show great commitment and determination to improve conditions that they find need improvement, and they are forward in encouraging others to improve their performance, too.
Head types are driven by intellect and tend to analyze and rationalize their emotions. Head types make choices and evaluations based on their logical analysis and interpretations of things. They are prone to “overthinking” things.
For head types, the core emotion is fear. This does not necessarily mean that all head types knowingly experience a lot of fear; for some, fear is more of an unconscious driving force.
FIVE | 98% MATCH
Fives are driven by a belief that their resources are scarce, and that they don’t have enough of what they need. Unlike other types who go out into the world to get what they need, Fives instead aim to need as little as possible. To achieve this, they withdraw from the world, retreating into their minds to conserve their time, energy and other resources.
SIX | 83% MATCH
Sixes are preoccupied with security, seek safety, and like to be prepared for problems. They have active minds which are constantly scanning for danger and creating contingency plans. They are highly attuned to risk and typically have a clear idea of what they will do in any worst-case scenario. They are good at seeing how things will play out, particularly understanding how things could go wrong.
SEVEN | 81% MATCH
Sevens are defined by their desire to experience everything good and pleasurable that the world has to offer, while avoiding pain, boredom, and limitations. Although Sevens appear enthusiastic and fun-loving, deep down, they have a fear of getting stuck in negative emotions. Thus, they tend to disconnect from their deeper feelings, instead focusing on their imagination and zest for life to keep them moving forward and gathering new, pleasurable experiences.
Heart types are driven by their emotions and their desire to connect with other people. Heart types are driven by a strong sense of empathy and their sense of what people are experiencing, both themselves and others.
For heart types, the core emotion is sadness, which originates from a sense of disconnection with self or others. Some heart types experience sadness more acutely, while others proactively try to connect with people to circumvent their core sadness.
TWO | 81% MATCH
Twos want to be liked and find ways that they can be of service to others so that they can belong. They have a strong need to be affiliated with others, and pursue acceptance by being kind, caring, and helpful. They are highly altruistic and empathetic and often have an intuitive sense of what other people need and want. They sometimes give too much of themselves because they are so eager to be connected with others.
THREE | 37% MATCH
Threes are defined by their desire to achieve. They want to advance in the world and will sacrifice almost anything for success, vigorously pursuing tasks and becoming utterly absorbed in the pursuit of attainment. But they will only choose a task in the first place if it promises rewards and brings prestige. Threes like to stand out. They have a burning need to be admired and see life as a game where winning is emphasized.
FOUR | 94% MATCH
Fours are defined by their belief that they are different from other people, and by their feelings of envy for what others have. Fours have the sense that something is missing from their lives, and they worry that they will never have the happiness that other people experience. At their core, Fours passionately long for the type of deep connection that will make them feel whole and accepted.
Your Type in Depth
Your primary type is Five. In this section, we’ll dive deep into the Five profile to understand how it drives your core emotions, fears, and desires, as well as how it impacts you in relationships and at work.
In a Nutshell
Fives believe their resources are scarce, and that they don’t have enough of what they need. Unlike other types who go out into the world to get more of what they need, Fives take the opposite approach and instead decide to minimize their needs as much as possible. To achieve this they withdraw from the world, retreating into their minds to conserve their time, energy and other resources.
At their core, Fives fear being overwhelmed by the needs of others, and by extension, their own physical and emotional needs. They have a sensitive core which they aim to protect by isolating themselves from people, situations and certain aspects of themselves to avoid having demands placed on them.
Fives perceive their energy as limited. They carefully calculate what they have, what they can do with it and what they need to avoid in order to not feel depleted. This scarcity mindset can drive them toward a relentless search inwards for the truth about life, which further disconnects the Five from his own intuitive wisdom and the gift of relationships. The Five’s strategy of isolation is both a source of relief, and also one of suffering.
- Perceptive and insightful about the way the world works
- Objective analysis of complex problems
- Mastery of specialized knowledge
- Self-sufficient with excellent personal boundaries
- Calm in a crisis
- Being too secretive with information
- Over-compartmentalizing life and relationships
- Feeling awkward in social situations
- Can ignore their own body and physical needs
- Trouble expressing emotions spontaneously
Avarice: hoarding energy, time, knowledge and possessions.
Fives seek to be self-sufficient and do so by downplaying their needs, priding themselves on living a minimalist life. Their economical way of thinking leads them to believe they will never have enough resources to survive life. So, they aim to hoard as many resources as they can. This scarcity mindset escalates the more they isolate themselves. Yet the more tightly Fives hold on to what the have, the more scarcity they create.
“I think, therefore I am.”
Of being helpless, useless or incapable. Of being overwhelmed by the emotional or physical needs of others, and by extension, the needs of themselves.
Fives feel ill-equipped to manage life’s demands and cope by withdrawing into their heads. They avoid situations that might demand too much of them and instead spend time alone, thinking and acquiring knowledge in order to feel competent to navigate the demands of the outer world.
To be wise, perceptive and insightful. To trust that they will always have what they need to be able to respond to every situation. To fully understand and experience life on all levels – emotional, mental and physical. To be deeply connected with everyone and everything around them.
Self-Sufficient. Fives are the ultimate minimalists. They want to be as autonomous as possible, and will minimize their physical and emotional needs in order to be free of external demands. They create and honor clear boundaries, respecting people’s time and space, because that is what they themselves need. Fives quickly assess whether they want to spend time with someone and only invest time and energy in a few trusted people.
Reflective. Fives prioritize thinking over action. They are excellent at gathering information, but will put off ‘doing’ if they believe they don’t have information. Fives need a large amount of personal space and time to review, reflect and analyze, before they are confident enough to express a position or take action on a plan. Given that Fives thoroughly enjoy learning, they can get lost in the process and in the data, forgetting to for the bigger picture. By stepping back, they will generate the insights and confidence that will support a Five to get out into the world.
Private and modest. Fives do not like to draw attention to themselves. They are uncomfortable in the spotlight, preferring to be alone or in a private space. The most private thing anyone has is their thoughts, and Fives are hesitant to share them with others, believing that doing so will deplete their energy or threaten their boundaries. Fives prefer to communicate in a way that reveals as little about themselves as possible – email, text or phone call. They know that sharing more of themselves creates stronger relationships but they choose to overlook this, even if it leads to them having fewer resources and less support.
Compartmentalizing. Fives use the power of their thoughts to avoid being overwhelmed by emotions. One way they do this is by compartmentalizing, that is, they separate their thoughts and emotions into separate boxes inside their minds. This allows the Five to deal with emotions only when they are ready, which is usually when they are alone. Fives also apply this process to the vast amount of knowledge they acquire, allowing them to deeply focus on a single box at a time before closing it and moving on to another one. Life gets compartmentalized too, and Fives prefer to keep work, home and friendship groups separate from each other, intending that none of these ‘boxes’ crossover in real life.
Fives intellectualize their feelings, preferring to think about them rather than feel them. To a Five, emotions are scary, dangerous and not to be trusted. Their defensive strategy requires them to detach emotions from every experience and tuck them away until it feels safe to review them.
Fives fear feelings because feelings are overwhelming, unpredictable, and draw attention from people. Preferring to remain in control and avoid others’ compassion, Fives automatically and unconsciously set the emotion aside. They also have a deeply sensitive core. Many Fives have experienced the pain of loneliness, fear and hurt as a child and they believe themselves to be incredibly vulnerable to emotions. Hence they detach from all emotions, in order to avoid accidentally opening their personal Pandora’s box.
Fives have been employing this emotional disconnection strategy for so long they can be unaware of their feelings at all. To the outside world, they appear aloof, uncaring and cold. However, the emotions are always there, waiting for the Five’s attention.
After a lifetime of hiding from their emotions, Fives often lack the skill of emotional handling, which can make the feelings seem scarier than they need to. To manage, Fives create a strategy for ‘experiencing’ their emotions. This involves processing their emotions alone, in a safe space, and rarely sharing an emotional experience with another person. It can take minutes, hours, days or weeks for a Five to bring an emotion back to the surface so they can experience it and then process accordingly. If Fives avoid doing this, it can leave them unable to feel their feelings at all.
This unusual approach to emotions gives the Five an incredible ability to analyze situations objectively, without emotions getting in the way – theirs or others. However, emotions are a fundamental human experience and also provide useful data to understand a situation more deeply. For a Five to find the deeper wisdom they seek, learning to become more comfortable with their feelings is essential.
In childhood, most Fives experienced a time when they felt neglected, deprived or overwhelmed and felt depleted as a result. When the Five was unable to get his needs met through charm or force, he instead drew inwards. This inner retreat to find safety and confidence defines the Five as he develops into adulthood and adopts the habits necessary to avoid feelings of helplessness, his Core Fear.
The first habit a Five builds is withdrawing to a private space, seeking to protect himself mentally, physically and emotionally from others. For example, a Five may believe that he doesn’t need new clothes, much food, or physical activity. The second habit is detaching from the Five’s own emotional needs, to protect himself from himself. Whether this is to avoid being overwhelmed by his feelings – and thus embarrassing himself in public – or because Fives feel safest when they are autonomous, is not clear, and the young Five may not understand why he chooses to protect himself the way he does.
Finally, the Five will shift his attachment to something objective, with the aim of gaining mental mastery over some form of knowledge or activity. As Fives give up on expecting anything from others, they focus on being as self-sufficient as possible. They do this not by going out into the world to get more, but by minimizing their needs and holding tightly to what they have. The resource that requires the least amount of energy to use is their mind. Thus, Fives focus on their ability to think and analyze to understand something deeply.
Ultimately, Fives seek knowledge and they pursue this relentlessly. They believe that the more knowledge they have, the safer they will be. Five children will focus on becoming competent at an activity before they risk social interactions. Whether that’s a musical instrument or collecting bugs, the young Five won’t feel ready ‘to be in the world’ until they have mastered something.
Fives assume relationships will deplete instead of nourish them, so will not enter into a relationship lightly. More than any other type, Fives will live without an intimate relationship. This is not necessarily because they want to, but rather they struggle to compromise on their lifestyle simply for the sake of a relationship. However, once a relationship has been established, Fives are incredibly loyal, affectionate and funny.
- Respects their partner’s independence
- Loyal to those they trust
- Endeavors to deeply understand their partner
- Quirky sense of humor
- Difficulty expressing or demonstrating love and affection
- Withholding information; being secretive
- Withdrawing when strong feelings arise, whether positive or negative
- Can take years to trust someone enough to share inner thoughts and feelings
Fives can view relationships as a threat to the independent life they have created for themselves. Relationships also give rise to many different emotions, both positive and negative, that can feel overwhelming to a Five. Fives may fear they will be unable to manage the emotional demands that will be placed upon them by their partner, and doubt that they will have enough resources to manage the needs of another person. For this reason, Fives are likely to take an incremental approach to developing a relationship, slowly opening themselves up to another person over time.
Fives can quickly assess whether a person is someone they want to spend time with, giving time and energy only to people they like and trust. However, as Fives see any personal interaction through the lens of energy management, they can dismiss any and all relationships, friendships or partnerships too quickly, simply to avoid being in an uncomfortable situation.
Fives need to find a partner who understands their need for privacy and alone time – someone who recognizes that retreat is not rejection, but an essential time out for Fives who need to process the thoughts and emotions they compartmentalized earlier that day. An ideal partner will understand that the Five may not be a quick conversationalist, unless it is on a topic he has given great thought to. They will connect intellectually with their partner first.
Once in a relationship, Fives will prefer a dynamic that feels comfortable, familiar and unsurprising, such as small daily interactions that take place in the kitchen over breakfast. As they disconnect from their emotions, Fives struggle to show affection and love, assuming their loyalty and presence conveys that for them. While uncomfortable at first, by learning more about their partner and asking for their assistance, Fives can learn to deliver small acts or words of affection on a regular basis.
At work, Fives must have privacy and the ability the focus, both in their environment and in their area of expertise. They prefer to work alone for long periods, ideally when no one else is around or when they know they are protected from intrusions.
What the Five needs at work:
- To create and maintain a sense of privacy
- To be intellectually engaged by a complex problem
- To work in their area of expertise
- To work independently
Fives feel competent when they are permitted to accumulate knowledge, by researching and analyzing to solve the world’s problems. They aim to be specialists in one or more areas. Fives are thirsty for understanding and this drives them to discover deeper insights and wisdom in their chosen fields. Unsurprisingly, Fives thrive in roles that allow them to continually learn and gain even greater mastery.
The search for objective truth requires focus and privacy and Fives need a place they can retreat to and maintain a sense of privacy. Whatever their work situation, Fives will design their environment to reduce interruptions, intrusions, surprises, unnecessary social interactions and unclear collaboration. Fives prefer to have absolute clarity of all tasks, timelines, responsibilities and deliverables. They also prefer that their team members have the same – to ensure no last-minute surprises.
Social interactions can be a sticking point for Fives. They find it hard to relate to or collaborate with others unless they understand what the person’s role is and how their competence is relevant for this situation. Fives share little personal information about themselves and can appear distant, arrogant or disinterested to others. However, once comfortable, a Five can develop solid relationships with coworkers sharing personal details or feelings.
The Spectrum of Health
Like all types, Fives express their characteristics differently depending on how well they are functioning. When Fives are healthy, happy, and well-adapted, they will tend to display more of the positive qualities of their type. When they are less healthy and happy, they will show more of their characteristic weaknesses.
When Fives are psychologically unhealthy, they are some of the most isolated of all the types and completely detached from reality. Because they are afraid of never finding the confidence to be in the world, they withdraw from it even more – isolating themselves from human contact, cutting off all of their needs and stubbornly refusing to be seen as helpless or in need of support. An unhealthy Five struggles to stop his mind from spinning, believing the outside world will see this as helpless. This causes the Five to withdraw further into himself, neglecting his physical needs and becoming more erratic.
Stressed Fives can be described as:
- Physical neglect
At average levels of psychological health, Fives worry that people or other intrusions will prevent them from mastering the knowledge and skills they need to feel confident and competent. This anxiety leads Fives to spend more time alone studying, researching and practicing in their fields of interest.
Average Fives can be described as:
- Resentful of others
At their best, Fives are able to consciously balance their need for alone time with social time, having learnt that relationships can also give them energy and independence. They are innovative and perceptive, able to let go of the need to simply observe and instead feeling confident in engaging and participating in life, moment to moment.
Thriving Fives can be described as:
Essential to the Enneagram is the idea of growth and movement. Rather than being locked into a static personality type, the Enneagram shows how we can shift and change, both under stress and in times of expansion and growth. The two primary ways our personalities undergo transformation are through wings and arrows.
In the Enneagram, each type is considered to have two potential wings. Your potential wings are the types which are adjacent to your primary type on the Enneagram diagram. For most people, their primary type explains the core of their behavior, while the wing drives secondary (and sometimes contradictory!) aspects of who they are. Learning about your wing will help you to understand your personality in more depth.
Wings are also a way to think about development. In studying the Enneagram, the first goal is always to understand ourselves as we are. The second goal is to understand how to move out of our patterns so that we may become more well-rounded, adaptable, and effective as people. Wings can help us to understand who we are, but they can also help us to see new behaviors that we might experiment with in order to grow and develop. Because our wings are adjacent to our own patterns, they can be easier to “try on” as compared with other, unrelated types.
As a Five, you may have either a Four or a Six wing, or a bit of both. These wings modify how you express your type, and add depth to understanding what drives you. If there are some aspects of who you are that do not seem to fit with your primary type, then understanding your wings may explain why.
The Four Wing
Fours are creative, emotional and expressive individuals who want to be seen as unique and special. At their core, Fours have deeply intense emotional lives, wanting to deeply understand who they are through their feelings. While they fear never being understood, they also long for deep connections and intimate relationships with other people.
A Four wing brings more empathy, creativity and imagination to the Five personality type. Where Fives detach from their emotions, Fours will seek them out, aiming to understand themselves and the world around them by understanding their own emotions. So, a Five with a Four wing will find their thoughts and feelings more connected. This helps to moderate the Five’s automatic detachment from feelings and helps them become more familiar with their feelings and more comfortable responding to emotions when they arise.
Developing a Four wing will also increase a Five’s ability to connect with others on a deeper level. Intimate relationships become more important to Fives with a Four wing, and that’s due to the Four’s interest in how people outside of themselves interact with one another. Fives with a Four wing tend to feel more comfortable asking questions, sharing their reactions and connecting emotionally with another person.
Contributions of a Four wing
- See feelings as a valid source of information
- Accept importance of emotional and relational side of life
- Connect more deeply in relationships
- Express self through creativity and imagination
The Six Wing
Sixes are loyal, responsible and safety-conscious individuals who want to make the world safe for themselves and the people they care about. At their core, they fear not being able to survive on their own and rely on people, institutions and beliefs to provide them with support, while also being deeply skeptical of it. It takes them time to trust someone or something.
A Six wing brings more loyalty, courage and commitment to the Five personality type. Where Fives will distance themselves from people, Sixes commit themselves to people or causes wholeheartedly because they see strength in numbers. A Five with a Six wing, then, will be more comfortable aligning themselves with a group, and will be loyal to the people or principles for which they stand. This helps to moderate the Five’s desire to withdraw into complete isolation.
Developing a Six wing will increase a Five’s assertiveness, using the courage of a Six to interact with the people around them. Fives with a Six wing tend to ask more questions, interact more with the group, and argue for or against their shared ideas and opinions. By considering how they can contribute to the group, a Five often discovers that less demands are placed on them rather than more.
Contributions of a Six wing
- Able to face fears more easily
- Commitment to a group or a cause
- Courage to be assertive and defend a position
- Rely more readily on social connections
Arrows in the Enneagram represent a path to development. Each Enneagram type is connected to two other types in the diagram, and each connection is marked with an arrow in a particular direction. These arrows can be thought of as pointing in the direction of growth. One arrow points towards your primary type, indicating that you must grow from this development point. The other arrow points away from your primary type, indicating that you will grow toward this development point.
In contrast with wings, which are somewhat related with our primary type, arrows point to aspects of our personality that may be completely neglected. We tend to access our arrow points during times of upheaval, when we are experiencing stress or profound personal growth. Accessing arrow points is often difficult and disruptive, but integrating these points with our personalities is an important part of becoming our highest selves.
Fives connect with development points of type Eight and Seven. The characteristics of these types present key developmental stages in the growth of the Five personality type. You may have already developed somewhat through your arrows, or you may find that your arrows present new opportunities for you to think about how to be more effective.
Your scores for each of your arrow points can give you some idea of how much you’ve already developed through these points. Higher scores indicate that you’ve already developed somewhat, while lower scores indicate an area for future growth.
Developing Through Eight
The origin point of the Five is type Eight. This represents a mode that is blocked or repressed for the Five. For Fives, the origin point of Eight represents repressed personal power. Fives and Eights both value their independence, but where Fives minimize their needs to avoid being reliant on anyone, Eights believe in asking for what they want – or simply taking it.
A key development point, then, is for the Five to rediscover their personal power and ability to influence the people and environment around them. By doing so, they will establish a healthier balance between withdrawing from the world and moving in it, including feeling more strength in interacting with their emotions and people.
Tasks for development through the origin point
- Use your body. Instead of living inside your mind, practice being in your body in real time. Start with physical activities like running, martial arts or yoga. Then bring that physical energy into everyday life by practicing taking up space. Use deep breathing to help you stay present.
- Speak up. When interacting with others, practice making statements instead of asking questions. That could be short comments on others’ ideas, suggestions on how to organize things or opinions on the plan.
- Own your authority. People may not realize you are an expert because you feel uncomfortable promoting your abilities. Consider how to express your abilities in a confident yet objective way, then practice letting people know about your expertise.
Developing Through Seven
The growth point of the Five is type Seven. This represents a mode that the Five can move towards as they seek to grow into new ways of being. For Fives who have developed their own characteristics into a healthy mode of being, discovering and adopting more of the healthy behaviors of Sevens can open up their growth even further. This means discovering the variety, playfulness and spontaneity that comes naturally to Sevens.
Whereas Fives focus on understanding a situation as deeply as possible before acting, Sevens will fling themselves out into the world to see what fun can be had and learn about it later. The Seven energy can help a Five engage more fully with the world without feeling the need to disappear from it. Fives can use a Seven’s playfulness, humor and curiosity to reduce the anxiety they feel during social situations.
Tasks for development through the growth point
- Practice playing. Fun and playfulness come easily to Sevens, where Fives can be more serious and reserved. Reflect on what being playful means to you and the parts of your life where it already happens. Practice bringing that energy and approach to other aspects of your life.
- Use your humor. Fives can see the funny side of life, and often have a dry sense of humor, but they tend to keep the quips to people they know and trust. Yet humor is a great way to break the ice when meeting new people. Practice using a combination of humor and intellectual curiosity when meeting new people to help relieve your social anxiety.
- Allow your energy to flow. Sevens allow their energy to flow like an infinity loop, from inside to outside and back again, whereas Fives assume their energy is limited like gas in a car’s gas tank. Try to act as if energy is flowing between you and others, creating more energy in the process, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time.
A Path Forward
Like all types, Fives have patterns that they act out unconsciously, based on their own core beliefs and fears. Sometimes these patterns work for us; sometimes they hold us back. In recognizing our patterns and how they limit us, we can begin to grow beyond the limitations of our unconscious fears.
Although the Enneagram can be extremely useful in understanding who you are and why you do the things you do, the real value of the system is uncovered when you begin to understand it as a way to grow and develop. The Enneagram can help us to see our patterns objectively, so that we can begin to understand that they are not inevitable—we can choose to take another approach if we need to. And, it can help us to understand what we need to do in order to grow and become happier, more effective, more actualized people.
Each type has particular patterns they must examine and overcome in order to move forward. Fives must work on engaging in the present moment – being with their feelings instead of disconnecting from them. They must learn to share more of their thoughts, feelings and experiences. And they must start to participate in events, interactions, and organizations rather than sitting on the sidelines observing them.
Growth tasks for Fives
- Become more aware of the moment you detach from and compartmentalize your feelings. Make an effort to feel your emotions more often in the here-and-now.
- Practice expressing your feelings. Look for ways to engage in conversations and to reveal personal matters, however small. Share information about yourself beyond your expertise.
- Relax your boundaries and barriers to connection; allow yourself to need other people.
- Question your beliefs around scarcity. Ask yourself, is it true that I do not have enough energy, skills or resources? Or am I projecting my fears?
- Do something physical. Participate in sports or a body-based activity like dance or yoga. Practice getting out of your head and learn to ground yourself.
- Take action more spontaneously every now and then. Choose to take action rather than overthinking a situation. Notice that you have ample energy to carry it off.
When Fives are operating at their best, they are visionary, pioneering and compassionate. They are highly perceptive, with little escaping their notice, and they bring a childlike wonder to their explorations and discoveries. They feel deeply connected to the people and the world around them and dedicate themselves to developing something that enriches humanity. Although it is never easy to examine and overcome our old patterns, Fives who do so will find a deeper sense of wisdom and understanding about life than they ever thought possible.
MANTRA FOR FIVES
I am part of an abundant universe.
What Makes You Unique
Although your Enneagram type explains a great deal about you, it doesn’t explain everything! Within your type, you have reached a specific level of development and growth which is unique to you, and you have also had experiences that have required you to stretch into different modes and develop traits that are not necessarily typical for your Enneagram type. In this section, we’ll look at the traits that are unique to you—both those traits that can be used as super-strengths, and those which may be holding you back.
Below, you’ll find information on the top 3 traits you can harness as your personal superpowers, and the top 3 traits which may be stopping you from achieving what you desire. One important thing to remember is that personality traits are never all good, or all bad. Every trait has its possible benefits and potential downsides—it’s all in how you use it.
Your Top 3 Personality Superpowers
Which of your personality traits are your biggest assets? We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and many psychologists believe that the key to success is not in trying to overcome all your flaws, but rather in making the most of what you have going for you. Let’s look now at some traits that you may be able to deploy to your benefit.
As you read over this section, remember that even beneficial personality traits can work against you if they are overused. For each superpower below, you’ll see how it can benefit your life, as well as how it may backfire if not kept in balance.1402468101214161820ANALYSIS
Analysis. You wouldn’t dream of doing something without thinking it through, and you typically have a deeper understanding of the situation than the people around you—simply because you take the time to really think about it. While you may sometimes be accused of overthinking things (and in fact, you are prone to getting stuck in analysis when you should be taking action), for the most part, your thoughtfulness allows you to understand more deeply, predict more accurately, and set more detailed goals. Rather than react too quickly, you take time to ponder, with the result that your choices tend to be well thought-out and carefully considered.1402468101214161820OPTIMISM
Optimism. Your dedication to a glass-half-full mentality keeps you going when others might give up, and gives you the courage to try things that many might see as too risky. You genuinely believe that things usually work out for the best, and with your determination to make things go your way, this is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. You have a tendency to be optimistic even when things are dire, and sometimes this means that you gloss over the negative and are taken by surprise when problems arise. When it comes to important plans, be sure to take time to think about how things could go wrong, even if it feels unnatural and overly pessimistic. Once your due diligence is done, you can move forward with even more confidence that things will work out in your favor.1402468101214161820ASSERTIVE
Assertiveness. You’re not afraid to ask for what you want in life, and more often than not, you get it. You’re clear about your goals and preferences in a variety of situations, and are unlikely to get involved in something without an understanding of what you hope to gain. While it’s possible to take assertiveness too far—by ignoring others’ needs and steamrolling their ideas—as long as you are conscientious about listening to others and taking them into account as well, your tendency to be clear about your agenda will make it more likely you’ll achieve your goals.
Your Top 3 Personality Blind Spots
Now, let’s take a look at those aspects of your personality that are likely to get in your way, cause you stress, or interfere with you achieving what you want. These are traits that you need to be especially conscious of, as they can tend to sidetrack you if you are not paying attention.
Similar to how your strengths may sometimes be a hindrance, these traits are not always negative. In fact, by being aware of them, you’ll be more able to turn them to your advantage. The goal is not to eliminate these qualities from your personality; rather, you want to explore and master them so you can choose the most effective behavior for yourself in any given situation.1502468101214161820ALIENATION
Alienation. You feel separate from other people, and tend to think that others can’t truly understand you. Most likely, you grew up around people—either family or social groups—who made you feel like an outsider. There’s nothing wrong with appreciating yourself as a unique person, but everyone needs a sense of belonging. You’ll live a fuller life if you put some time and energy into finding your “tribe.” Somewhere out there are people who are just as offbeat as you are, and who will make you feel like you’re finally understood.1402468101214161820SECURITY
Security Seeking. You see the world as a risky place, and you’re concerned about securing a safe spot in it, surrounded by the people and resources that can protect you. Although this means you tend to be less vulnerable than someone who takes a more haphazard approach, it also means some tradeoffs. You’re reluctant to take risks, even those which could benefit you, and you may hang on to situations and relationships for longer than you should simply because you fear losing what you have. Although there’s nothing wrong with wanting security, be careful not to confuse comfort and habit with protection. Sometimes, the most secure situation will actually be well outside of your comfort zone.1302468101214161820IMPULSE
Impulsivity. You are easily distracted and often choose to enjoy the present moment rather than pursue a long-term goal. Your plans are frequently sidetracked by temptations and impulses, and you have trouble sticking with things when they get too hard. On the plus side, you are unlikely to be overworked or overstressed, and people probably know you as a fun-loving, carefree sort of person. But ultimately, you struggle to stay focused on what you should do instead of what you want to do, which can make it difficult to achieve ambitious goals. You may never be a nose-to-the-grindstone type, but working on your willpower will serve you well. Someday, you’ll want to achieve something that takes persistence, and you’ll need to understand how to buckle down and go after it.
Making the Most of Who You Are
The Enneagram presents a rich opportunity to discover what drives us, what matters to us, and who we are at our core. You may have found that your Enneagram report confirmed some of what you already knew about yourself. You may have also found words for aspects of yourself that you were aware of, but didn’t know how to describe. And you may have also seen some sides to yourself that you were uncomfortable with.
Many people find that taking an Enneagram assessment and discovering their type helps them to get back in touch with important parts of themselves that have been obscured or pushed aside in daily life. Others find that the Enneagram helps them to understand the paths they might take to be more fulfilled and empowered in their goals. Whatever your purpose with the Enneagram, we thank you for allowing us to help you along your way. We wish you the best of luck in your journey to your higher self!