The Enneagram is a tool that defines nine personality types. Many individuals use it in various theoretical settings.

The Enneagram of Personality Types is a modern tool that is based on various ancient traditions that attempted to help people better understand themselves and find meaning in their existence.

The Enneagram (pronounced “any-a-gram”) has nine basic personality types, based on how a person views the world. Some people believe that knowing one’s Enneagram personality type can affect their work life and their relationships. Others see the Enneagram as a road to personal discovery.

This article further explores the Enneagram. It also lists and explains the nine Enneagram personality types.

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The Enneagram has roots in various ancient wisdom traditions, including:

  • Christianity
  • Islam
  • Judaism

However, the concept of the Enneagram was originally introduced by Oscar Ichazo in the 1960s when he created the Arica School to share his teachings and knowledge with others.

The Enneagram model is in the shape of a circle, which represents the totality of life. It has intersecting lines that represent stress and growth.

In this model, growth is known as the direction of integration, while stress is referred to as disintegration, according to the Enneagram Institute, one of the purveyors of the Enneagram test. Integration and disintegration represent different ways that you will respond to various situations in your life.

Each point on the model is a personality type, and its position shows how it relates to the other types. The types move around the circle clockwise from 1 to 9.

Read about different personality types.

Three centers of the Enneagram

The nine personalities each fall under one of three more general types, known as centers:

Center Personalities includedDescription
Body1, 8, 9• instinctive
• follow their gut
• connect with others based on instinct and a physical sense of comfort
Heart2, 3, 4• related to feelings
• react with their emotions first
• relate to other people with empathy
Head5, 6, 7• centered on thinking
• connect with others on an intellectual and rational level
Diagram of the Enneagram of Personality TypesShare on Pinterest
Graphic by Jason Hoffman/MNT Design

Type 1 personalities (the reformer) tend to have a sense of mission that leads to a desire to improve the world in various ways. They often strive to overcome adversity, particularly moral adversity, so their human spirit can shine through and make a difference.

Type 1s are generally ethical and conscientious. They tend to have a strong sense of right and wrong. However, they can also be impatient and resentful.

People with type 1 personalities may have been raised in an environment where they were made to feel that making mistakes was not allowed.

One purveyor of the Enneagram, The Enneagram Institute gives the following as some of the basic factors of type 1:

  • Basic fear: being defective, corrupt, or evil
  • Basic desire: to be balanced, to have integrity
  • Key motivations: stiving higher and improving things, being right, justifying themselves, being consistent with their ideals, being beyond criticism

Well-known examples of type 1 people are:

  • King Charles
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Plato
  • Joan of Arc
  • Michelle Obama
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Hillary Clinton

Type 2 personalities (the helper) tend to either be the most helpful people to others or they can be more highly invested in seeing themselves as helpful.

Type 2s are generally sincere, warm-hearted, and empathetic. They tend to be generous, self-sacrificing, and friendly. However, they can also be people-pleasing, flattering, and sentimental.

Type 2 people may have been raised in an environment where helpfulness was emphasized.

The Enneagram Institute, a purveyor of the Enneagram, gives the following as basic factors of type 2:

  • Basic fear: unworthy of being loved, being unwanted
  • Basic desire: to feel loved
  • Key motivations: expressing their feelings for others, being needed and appreciated, being loved, vindicating their claims about themselves, getting others to respond to them

Well-known type 2 people include:

  • Elizabeth Taylor
  • Nancy Reagan
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • John Denver
  • Dolly Parton
  • Bishop Desmond Tutu

A note on using the Enneagram

The Enneagram of Personality Types is meant as a tool to aid in self-awareness and discovery. Its purpose is not to bind or restrict people to a certain way of living.

Many practitioners of the Enneagram believe that it is most effective for self-discovery and spiritual transformation when it is used together with other practices, such as meditation, study, and spiritual direction.

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Type 3 personalities (the achiever) are typically fluent in human nature. People often look up to them, due to their personal accomplishments and graciousness.

Type 3s are charming, attractive, and self-assured. They are generally competent, energetic, and ambitious but can also be status-conscious and highly driven for advancement.

A purveyor of the Enneagram, The Enneagram Institute, lists the following basic factors of type 3:

  • Basic fear: being worthless
  • Basic desire: feeling worthwhile and valued
  • Key motivations: distinguishing themselves from others, having attention, being admired, being affirmed, and impressing others

Well-known examples of type 3 people are:

  • Bill Clinton
  • Tony Blair
  • Prince William
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Taylor Swift
  • Michael Jordan
  • Oprah Winfrey

Read about emotional intelligence.

Type 4 personalities (the individualist) are sensitive, reserved, and self-aware.

Type 4s typically maintain their sense of identity by seeing themselves as different than others. They are generally creative, personal, and emotionally honest. However, they can also be self-conscious and moody.

They may have been raised in an environment where they felt they could not be too happy or functional.

The Enneagram Institute, a purveyor of the Enneagram, lists the following as basic factors of type 4:

  • Basic fear: having no personal significance or identity
  • Basic desire: creating an identity, finding their significance, finding themselves
  • Key motivations: creating and surrounding themselves with beauty, expressing themselves and their individuality, taking care of emotional needs before anything else, maintaining certain moods or feelings

Well-known type 4 people include:

  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Jackie Kennedy Onassis
  • Anne Frank
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Judy Garland
  • Kate Winslet
  • Johnny Depp
  • Amy Winehouse

Type 5 personalities (the investigator) are alert, curious, and insightful. They typically have the ability to focus on and develop complex ideas and skills.

Type 5s generally have a strong desire to find out why things are the way they are. They want to find out how the world works. They are innovative, independent, and inventive. However, they can also be detached, preoccupied with their own thoughts, and intense.

Type 5 people may have been raised with a focus on autonomy instead of personal comfort.

A purveyor of the Enneagram, The Enneagram Institute, lists the following basic factors of type 5:

  • Basic fear: being helpless, useless, or incapable
  • Basic desire: being competent and capable
  • Key motivations: understanding the environment, possessing knowledge, and having everything figured out in order to protect themselves from environmental threats

Well-known type 5 people include:

  • Albert Einstein
  • Stephen Hawking
  • Vincent van Gogh
  • Tim Burton
  • Jodie Foster
  • Stephen King

Type 6 personalities (the loyalist) are hardworking, trustworthy, and reliable.

Type 6s are loyal to their beliefs and their friends. They are also typically loyal to systems and ideas. They can often see problems before they occur and encourage cooperation. However, they can also be anxious, evasive, and defensive.

Type 6 people may have been raised in an environment where they questioned authority.

The Enneagram Institute, a purveyor of the Enneagram, lists the following as basic factors of type 6:

  • Basic fears: being without guidance and support
  • Basic desires: having support and security
  • Key motivations: feeling supported by others, having security, testing the attitudes of others toward them, and having reassurance

Examples of well-known type 6 people are:

  • Sigmund Freud
  • Richard Nixon
  • Princess Diana
  • Prince Harry
  • John Grisham
  • Jennifer Aniston
  • Paul Rudd

Type 7 personalities (the enthusiast) are spontaneous, optimistic, and extroverted.

Type 7s are often enthusiastic about almost anything that catches their attention. They tend to approach life with a sense of adventure and curiosity. However, they can also be undisciplined and scattered, and they can become overextended.

They may have been raised in a way that taught them to depend on themselves for happiness.

A purveyor of the Enneagram, The Enneagram Institute, lists the following factors as basics of type 7:

  • Basic fear: being in pain and deprived
  • Basic desire: being content, satisfied, and having their needs fulfilled
  • Key motivations: avoiding missing out on experiences that may be worthwhile, avoiding pain, maintaining their happiness and freedom, and keeping themselves occupied and excited

Well-known type 7 people include:

  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Amelia Earhart
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Joe Biden
  • Katy Perry
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Leonardo DiCaprio

Type 8 personalities (the challenger) tend to be assertive, strong, and self-confident.

Type 8s tend to enjoy taking on challenges themselves, as well as encouraging others to challenge them. They are generally charismatic and have various abilities to persuade others to follow them. However, they can also be domineering and egocentric.

Type 8 people may have been raised in a way that made them feel as though they could never be vulnerable.

The Enneagram Institute, a purveyor of the Enneagram, lists the following as basic factors of type 8:

  • Basic fear: being controlled or harmed by others
  • Basic desire: being in control of their own life and destiny, as well as protecting themselves
  • Key motivations: proving their strength and resisting weakness, being important in their world, being self-reliant, dominating their environment, and staying in control of their situations

Well-known type 8 people include:

  • Winston Churchill
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Jack Black
  • Matt Damon
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Pink

How to find your personality type

You can find your Enneagram personality type by taking a quiz online. Truity offers a free quiz that gives basic results at the end. It also gives the option to purchase a full report of your type.

The Enneagram Institute also offers a personality test for purchase.

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Type 9 personalities (the peacemaker) are stable, accepting, and trusting. They are also creative, supportive, and optimistic.

Type 9s typically have a great yearning for spiritual connection, as well as connection with others. They tend to work toward peace and harmony in the world as well as their own peace of mind. However, they can also be complacent. They may minimize anything upsetting and simplify problems.

They may have faced conflict and found it difficult to cope with it when they were younger.

A purveyor of the Enneagram, The Enneagram Institute, lists the following as basics of type 9:

  • Basic fears: separation and loss
  • Basic desires: having inner stability and peace of mind
  • Key motivations: avoiding tension and conflict, preserving things the way they are, creating harmony in their environment, and resisting factors that upset or disturb them

Well-known type 9 people include:

  • Queen Elizabeth II
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Walt Disney
  • George Lucas
  • Lisa Kudrow
  • Morgan Freeman
  • Audrey Hepburn

Is Myers-Briggs or Enneagram better?

The Myers-Briggs test is another type of personality test available online. While neither test is necessarily better than the other, they do have differences.

The Myers-Briggs test gives individuals an overview of how people interact. The Enneagram gives a more in-depth insight into why people may act the way they do.

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The Enneagram of Personality Types is a tool that can give insight to individuals looking for self-awareness and discovery.

It is based on various ancient wisdoms and features nine personality types. Many people use the results of Enneagram personality tests in theoretical settings. Some believe it can help in professional settings, while others use it as more of a spiritual tool.