Each of the nine Enneagram types harbours a unique wisdom that comes less naturally to the other eight types. While most Enneagram descriptions focus on the challenges and struggles of each type, there is also a deep and expansive lesson buried inside each type’s mind. Here’s exactly what we can learn from each Enneagram personality type—once we commit ourselves to paying attention.
In a world that loves to point fingers and cast blame, the Enneagram 1 reminds us that the first person we ought to concern ourselves with is ourselves. Are we following the rules we want others to adhere to? Are we holding ourselves up to the standards we judge others by? Are we senselessly casting blame in an attempt to quell our own guilt, or are we courageously leading by example?
The sense of personal responsibility exemplified by the 1 is something that the world at large has a great deal to learn from. This type reminds us that any great changes we want to see in the world should—and need to—start with us.
In a society that tends to speed right past ‘independence exit’ and onto ‘loneliness highway,’ the Enneagram 2 still knows how to connect—and with a passion. This type is a natural at noticing where help is needed. They keep a constant lookout for cracks in peoples armour and bridges that need to be built.
For those who regularly forget to turn their attention outward and consider the social ecosystem we live in, the 2 serves as a living, breathing representation of it. This type reminds us that we cannot wait until disaster strikes to start helping each other out—we need to be diligent and proactive about caring for each other.
In a world that is preoccupied with worst case scenarios, the Enneagram 3 gets up, gets moving and gets down to work on the Next Big Thing—no matter what is standing in their way. This type sets their sights high and casts wildly ambitious visions of the future. They are unafraid to keep hustling for a better tomorrow, regardless of what today brings. This is an attitude many of their peers could stand to borrow from.
While others are lamenting that there’s no hope for the future, the 3s are often already hard at work creating it. This type never stops moving or hustling and where there’s a great advancement to be made, there’s almost always a 3 close to the heart of it.
In a society that tends to sweep tough situations under the rug, the Enneagram 4 is never afraid to go deep with what matters. While many assume this type lives in a bleak and depressing world, this isn’t the whole story. In reality, the four lives in the most vivid and incredible world of all: the world of what could have been.
This type understandings longing like the back of their hand. They may spend a great deal of time wrapped up in fantasy but those same fantasies allow them to paint a picture of a better world for those who’ve lost their way. The 4 may not be the loudest voice in the room, but they will absolutely be the quickest person there to catch you when you fall – and to remind you of what is still possible for you.
In a world where shock is valued over accuracy, the Enneagram 5 refuses to get caught up in the circus of incomplete truths. This type does their homework before arriving at any firm conclusions about the way things are and they refrain from acting until they’re certain they have their facts straight.
As the internet continues to circulate partial truths, inaccurate facts and outrage around issues that lack nuance and depth, the Enneagram 5’s commitment to understanding will become more important than ever before. This type is direly important in the digital age where information abounds but the ability to siphon through it effectively remains a rare and direly needed skill.
In a society where the flashiest item is quickest to capture public attention, the Enneagram 6 takes a sceptical approach to what can be trusted—and with good reason. This type understands that there are truths that lie outside the realm of popular interest or opinion, and they’re dead set on finding out which of those truths we ought to trust.
The Enneagram 6 has a unique wisdom that other types are often quick to forget—that the truth is much bigger than our perceptions of it. It goes on standing, regardless of what we believe to be true. This type is deeply invested in discovering what can be trusted because they know that the truth is bigger than any of us—and that it’s always going to win out in the end.
In a world where victimhood runs rampant, the Enneagram 7 reminds us that there’s always another option—to find the kind of freedom that cannot be taken away. This type understands that our circumstances do not dictate our level of contentment—our thoughts do.
The 7 works hard to cultivate a life and a mindset they love. Regardless of what’s happening in their outer world, they keep their focus trained on the better, brighter future that is within their control. The 7 is not happy by accident, they are happy by effort. And it’s an effort the rest of us could serve to exert a little more often.
In a world where taking the easy way out has become the norm for many, the 8 refuses to make excuses for themselves—or anybody else. This type knows that most of the limitations we place on ourselves are self-induced. And they prove this by living outside of their own all the time.
The 8 serves as a living, breathing example of what humans are capable of once they stop making excuses for their circumstances and start taking radical responsibility for their own lives. This type decided early on in life that the rules need not always apply. And this decision became a self-fulfilling prophecy that allotted them a form of power and self-direction that most types only dream of.
In a world where the loudest voice wins, the strongest army colonizes and the greatest number of votes determines leadership, the 9 reminds us that these shows of force are not permanent solutions—they only exist to tear us further apart. The wisdom of this type is the wisdom of integral understanding. The 9 sees connections where other types see only division.
From the 9 we can learn that oppressing, fighting or shaming other people in an attempt to get our way only backfires in the long run. To move forward, we need to move together—in compassionate alignment. Or we do not move at all.
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