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Self-Development and Self-Knowledge

Personality Profile & Personal Growth Recommendations by Type


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The Enneagram can be extremely useful to everyone as a source of self-knowledge because it acts as a kind of "mirror" to reveal features of our personality that normally are invisible to us. Most of the time, people function habitually, as if on "automatic pilot," according to the pattern of their basic personality type. Usually this allows people to get along well enough in their lives, but when their normal routines break down or the stresses of their lives increase too much, their normal way of coping also tends to break down or become dysfunctional. Seeing clearly what our habitual patterns are—seeing what we are doing and why we are doing it, and at what cost to ourselves and others—holds the key to our liberation. By knowing your type correctly, you are able to see yourself—to "catch yourself in the act"—as you move throughout the day. With this increased self-awareness, you are also able to avoid reacting in negative and potentially dangerous ways.

Once real balance has been restored to the personality structure, the Enneagram can help us to orient ourselves to the higher spiritual and psychological qualities that each type has in abundance. Thus, at its highest, the Enneagram invites us to look deeply into the mystery of our true identity. It reveals that we are not our personality, but something more—a spiritual being who has lost contact with his or her true nature. Living out of this realization shifts completely how we see ourselves, others, and the world, bringing liberation, freedom, and joy. (See pages 27-48 in The Wisdom of the Enneagram or pages 11-17 of Understanding the Enneagram (Revised Edition) for more about the psychological and spiritual context of the Enneagram.)  


Type 1 The Reformer

Type 2 The Helper

Type 3 The Achiever

Type 4 The Individualist

Type 5 The Investigator

Type 6 The Loyalist

Type 7 The Enthusiast

Type 8 The Challenger

Type 9 The Peacemaker


The Direction of Integration


The Direction of Stress



No matter which personality type you are, the types in both your Direction of Integration and your Direction of Stress or Disintegration are important influences. To obtain a complete picture of yourself (or of someone else), you must take into consideration the basic type and wing as well as the two types in the Directions of Integration and Disintegration. The factors represented by those four types blend into your total personality and provide the framework for understanding the influences operating in you. For example, no one is simply a personality type Two. A Two has either a One-wing or a Three-wing, and the Two's Direction of Disintegration (Eight) and its Direction of Integration (Four) also play important parts in his or her overall personality.

Ultimately, the goal is for each of us to "move around" the Enneagram, integrating what each type symbolizes and acquiring the healthy potentials of all the types. The ideal is to become a balanced, fully functioning person who can draw on the power (or from the Latin, "virtue") of each as needed. Each of the types of the Enneagram symbolizes different important aspects of what we need to achieve this end. The personality type we begin life with is therefore less important ultimately than how well (or badly) we use our type as the beginning point for our self-development and self-realization.