Understanding the Enneagram Personality System

Haylie Carder

Sep 1, 2023

3 min read

The Enneagram is a powerful and ancient personality system that offers deep insights into human behavior, motivations, and relationships. It goes beyond mere personality typing and delves into the core fears, desires, and motivations that drive our thoughts and actions. In this blog post, we'll explore the Enneagram personality system, its history, and how it can be a transformative tool for self-awareness and personal growth.

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The Origins of the Enneagram

The Enneagram's origins are somewhat mysterious, but it's believed to have ancient roots, with influences from various spiritual and wisdom traditions, including Christianity, Sufism, and Eastern philosophies. In the modern context, it was popularized in the West in the mid-20th century and has since gained widespread recognition.

The Basics of the Enneagram

At its core, the Enneagram consists of nine distinct personality types, each represented by a number on the Enneagram diagram. These types are not meant to pigeonhole individuals but rather to provide a framework for understanding their core motivations, fears, and behaviors.

The nine Enneagram types are:

  1. The Perfectionist (Type 1): Motivated by a desire to be right and morally good.

  2. The Helper (Type 2): Motivated by a need to be loved and needed by others.

  3. The Achiever (Type 3): Motivated by a desire to succeed and be admired.

  4. The Individualist (Type 4): Motivated by a search for identity and authenticity.

  5. The Investigator (Type 5): Motivated by a thirst for knowledge and understanding.

  6. The Loyalist (Type 6): Motivated by a need for security and guidance.

  7. The Enthusiast (Type 7): Motivated by a pursuit of joy and adventure.

  8. The Challenger (Type 8): Motivated by a desire for control and strength.

  9. The Peacemaker (Type 9): Motivated by a need for inner and outer peace.

Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery

One of the Enneagram's most significant strengths is its capacity to promote self-awareness. By identifying your core Enneagram type and understanding its associated patterns of thought and behavior, you gain valuable insights into your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth.

Additionally, the Enneagram acknowledges that individuals may exhibit traits from adjacent types in times of stress or security, adding layers of complexity to your self-discovery journey.

Relationships and the Enneagram

The Enneagram isn't limited to individual self-discovery; it can also be a powerful tool for understanding and improving relationships. By identifying the Enneagram types of those around you, you can gain insights into their motivations and communication styles, which can lead to more harmonious and fulfilling connections.


The Enneagram is a versatile and profound system for understanding human behavior and personal growth. Whether you're interested in enhancing your self-awareness, improving relationships, or embarking on a journey of self-discovery, the Enneagram offers a valuable roadmap to understanding the complexities of the human psyche.


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