Grow by learning your own Enneagram number. Be more compassionate by learning others’ numbers.
Here are the 9 Enneagram types with notes from The Road Back to You.
When You Don’t Understand
“Once you know your type you owe it to yourself and the people you love (or don’t love, for that matter) to become a kinder, more compassionate presence in the world.
May a pox fall on anyone who reads this book and walks away with no more than something ‘interesting’ to prattle on about at a dinner party.”
– Ian Morgan Cron, The Road Back to You
Some people get on our nerves. They are hard to understand. Why can’t they be more like us?
Other people seem to do everything better. They make us jealous. Why can’t we be more like them?
Our differences can complicate our relationships.
- Why am I compulsive about scheduling my day while Jeff prefers spontaneity?
- How can my friend be so disinterested in the Presidential debates yet I watch them with rapt attention?
- Why do I care nothing about window treatments and room decor while my sister’s house is perfectly styled?
I want to be more patient with those different from me, to love them like Jesus would, but it’s hard when I can’t understand them.
What’s the Solution?
One answer is to wake up more to each other. When we see others as unique gifts from God—each different—we can love them better.
The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system that helps us understand each other’s personality tendencies. Knowledge is power when it leads to heart change.
While other systems like Myers-Brigg are also good in classifying types, the Enneagram differs in that it doesn’t just explain how you are now, but it also shows you how you can better move forward into the future.
Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile explain the purpose of the Enneagram in their book, The Road Back to You.
“The purpose of the Enneagram is to show us how we can release the paralyzing arthritic grip we’ve kept on old, self-defeating ways of living so we can open ourselves to experiencing more interior freedom and become our best selves.”
The more we understand our need for God’s grace, the easier we can receive his gift of grace.
And be transformed by it.
The Nine Types
Below are the basic nine personality types from The Road Back to You.
Keep in mind: no personality typing system is perfect. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Take a short quiz to begin identifying your type.
- Type One: The Perfectionist
Ethical, dedicated, and reliable, ones are motivated by a desire to live the right way, improve the world, and avoid fault or blame.
- Type Two: The Helper
Warm, caring, and giving, twos are motivated by a need to be loved and needed, and to avoid acknowledging their own needs.
- Type Three: The Performer
Success-oriented, image-conscious, and wired for productivity, threes are motivated by a need to be (or appear to be) successful and to avoid failure.
- Type Four: The Romantic
Creative, sensitive, and moody, fours are motivated by a need to be understood, experience their oversized feelings, and avoid being ordinary.
- Type Five: The Investigator
Analytical, detached, and private, fives are motivated by a need to gain knowledge, conserve energy, and avoid relying on others.
- Type Six: The Loyalist
Committed, practical, and witty, sixes are worst-case-scenario thinkers who are motivated by fear and a need for security.
- Type Seven: The Enthusiast
Fun, spontaneous, and adventurous, sevens are motivated by a need to be happy, to plan stimulating experiences, and to avoid pain.
- Type Eight: The Challenger
Commanding, intense, and confrontational, eights are motivated by a need to be strong and avoid feeling weak or vulnerable.
- Type Nine: The Peacemaker
Pleasant, laid back, and accommodating, nines are motivated by a need to keep the peace, merge with others, and avoid conflict.
Rewards of Knowing
Ian Cron gives us two important takeaways from this book.
- More compassion for ourselves and others
“The Enneagram shows us that we can’t change the way other people see, but we can try to experience the world through their eyes and help them change what they do with what they see.”
- More appreciation for God who made us
“Inside each number is a hidden gift that reveals something about God’s heart. So when you are tempted to prosecute yourself for the flaws in your own character, remember that each type is at its core a signpost pointing us to travel toward and embrace an aspect of God’s character that we need.”
As we better understand ourselves and others, we more fully live out who God designed us to be. Which means, we love God more and increase our love for each other more.
The Enneagram isn’t a perfect model. But if it can move us in the right direction, I’m in.
“The goal of understanding your Enneagram ‘number’ is not to replace your personality with a new one. Not only is this not possible, it would be a bad idea. You need a personality or you won’t get asked to prom.
The purpose of the Enneagram is to develop self-knowledge and learn how to recognize and dis-identify with the parts of our personalities that limit us so we can be reunited with our truest and best selves.”
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What is your number? (I’m fairly certain I’m a type 5.) Please share in the comments.
More You Can Do with the Enneagram
- Relationships: Your Enneagram Type Vs Mine
See how your relationships are affected by your Enneagram number from Suzanne Stabile’s book, The Path Between Us.
- How to Practice Your Enneagram Number
Discover an individualized path for your spiritual growth with the Enneagram. Review and quotes from Christopher Heuertz’s new book, The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth.
- How to Love That Other Number on the Enneagram (All Nine Types)
Knowing your friends’ numbers can help you love them better. See how to use the Enneagram to improve your relationships.
- 5 Things I Learned at the Enneagram Conference
What you don’t know can hurt you. 5 things I learned at the Enneagram conference with Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile about knowing your Enneagram number.
Here are two free tests to start identifying your Enneagram number. But don’t rely solely on test results. Keep reading descriptions to find your best match.
Watch the Enneagram Rhapsody video from Rivers Crossing. It’s fun and also enlightening to identify your number.
post updated from previous edition
My thanks to InterVarsity Press
for the review copy of this book