To learn more about yourself generally leads to self-improvement.
However, most such opportunities for self-improvement can’t be controlled because they are usually tied to a life experience.
It’s like a sound wave bouncing around a room. We can’t see the room– ourselves– but every time the wave bounces off a surface– an experience– we gain information about that area of the room. The more things we experience, the more we learn about ourselves.
But there are other good ways to learn more about ourselves. One of the most effective is to take personality tests based on the latest scientific research, which range from IQ tests to emotional intelligence ones.
Personality is to a man what perfume is to a flower.
– Charles M. Schwab
What is the Enneagram personality test?
The Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator, RHETI, or simply Enneagram personality test, was created by the Enneagram Institute as a way to categorize the major personality types which are formed in children around the age of five years old (and then further developed, but never fully changed, after that).
“From one point of view, the Enneagram can be seen as a set of nine distinct personality types, with each number on the Enneagram denoting one type.
It is common to find a little of yourself in all nine of the types, although one of them should stand out as being closest to yourself. This is your basic personality type,” according to Enneagraminstitute.com.
However, your own personality isn’t so simple. Every person, the institute explains, has “wings” or associated personality types:
“No one is a pure personality type: everyone is a unique mixture of his or her basic type and usually one of the two types adjacent to it on the circumference of the Enneagram. One of the two types adjacent to your basic type is called your wing.”
Personality types with similarities were designed specifically to cluster together (or cross, in some cases), so your own personality will likely be more of an “area” or shape on the Enneagram spectrum. However, we all have one dominant Enneagram personality type.
The nine official Enneagram personality types are:
1. The Reformer
Reformers are rational idealists. They’re principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionists. They have a strong sense of right and wrong and tend to be crusaders for a cause.
- Positive qualities: Wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. Can be morally heroic.
- Basic Fear: Of being corrupt/evil, defective
- Basic Desire: To be good, to have integrity, to be balanced
- Key motivations: Want to be right, to strive higher and improve everything, to be consistent with their ideals, to justify themselves, to be beyond criticism so as not to be condemned by anyone.
2. The Helper
Helpers are the caring, empathetic, and interpersonal type. They’re generous, people-pleasing, and can also be possessive.
- Positive qualities: Unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others.
- Basic fear: Of being unwanted, unworthy of being loved
- Basic desire: To feel loved
- Key motivations: Want to be loved, to express their feelings for others, to be needed and appreciated, to get others to respond to them, to vindicate their claims about themselves.
Other Helpers: Bishop Desmond Tutu, Eleanor Roosevelt, Stevie Wonder, Barry Manilow, Dolly Parton
3. The Achiever
Achievers are very driven, success-oriented, pragmatic types. They’re adaptable, image-conscious, and tend to be energetic.
- Positive qualities: Self-accepting, authentic, everything they seem to be—role models who inspire others.
- Basic fear: Of being worthless
- Basic desire: To feel valuable and worthwhile
- Key motivations: Want to be affirmed, to distinguish themselves from others, to have attention, to be admired, and to impress others.
4. The Individualist
Individualists are sensitive, introspective types. They’re expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental. They’re very self-aware and emotionally honest people.
- Positive qualities: Inspired and highly creative, they are able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.
- Basic fear: That they have no identity or personal significance
- Basic desire: To find themselves and their significance (to create an identity)
- Key motivations: Want to express themselves and their individuality, to create and surround themselves with beauty, to maintain certain moods and feelings, to withdraw to protect their self-image, to take care of emotional needs before attending to anything else.
5. The Investigator
Investigators are intense, focused types. They’re very perceptive, innovative, secretive, and can be isolated. They have the ability to concentrate effectively on a task and come up with creative solutions.
- Positive qualities: Visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way.
- Basic fear: Being useless, helpless, or incapable
- Basic desire: To be capable and competent
- Key motivations: Want to possess knowledge, to understand the environment, to have everything figured out as a way of defending the self from threats from the environment.
6. The Loyalist
Loyalists are committed and security-oriented types. They’re engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious. They’re also very hardworking and responsible.
- Positive qualities: Internally stable and self-reliant, courageously championing themselves and others.
- Basic fear: Of being without support and guidance
- Basic desire: To have security and support
- Key motivations: Want to have security, to feel supported by others, to have certitude and reassurance, to test the attitudes of others toward them, to fight against anxiety and insecurity.
Enthusiasts are busy, spontaneous-types. They’re versatile, acquisitive, and can be scattered. They tend to be extroverts and are very optimistic and playful.
- Positive qualities: They focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.
- Basic fear: Of being deprived and in pain
- Basic desire: To be satisfied and content—to have their needs fulfilled
- Key motivations: Want to maintain their freedom and happiness, to avoid missing out on worthwhile experiences, to keep themselves excited and occupied, to avoid and discharge pain.
Other Enthusiasts: The 14th Dalai Lama, Galileo Galilei, W.A. Mozart, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Robin Williams
8. The Challenger
Challengers are powerful, dominating types. They tend to have great self-confidence and are decisive, willful, and often confrontational. They can be very resourceful, protective, and sometimes egotistical.
- Positive qualities: Self-mastering, they use their strength to improve others’ lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring.
- Basic fear: Of being harmed or controlled by others
- Basic desire: To protect themselves (to be in control of their own life and destiny)
- Key motivations: Want to be self-reliant, to prove their strength and resist weakness, to be important in their world, to dominate the environment, and to stay in control of their situation.
9. The Peacemaker
Peacemakers are easygoing, stable, and optimistic types. They’re receptive, reassuring, agreeable, and complacent. They’re usually creative, supportive, and tend to prefer to keep the peace more than express a disagreement.
- Positive qualities: Indomitable and all-embracing, they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts.
- Basic fear: Of loss and separation
- Basic desire: To have inner stability “peace of mind”
- Key motivations: Want to create harmony in their environment, to avoid conflicts and tension, to preserve things as they are, to resist whatever would upset or disturb them.
Other Peacemakers: Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Joseph Campbell, Walt Disney
Which personality type are you?
Ready to find out your personality type and discover your own unique qualities? Go to the Enneagram Institute’s course page to take the test yourself and start your own journey of self-discovery.