Meyers-Briggs, DISC, Strengths Finder, 16 Personalities, and the list goes on; the human personality is something that has been intensely studied for years. A fairly newer method called the Enneagram, originally developed in the 1970s, is one personality test that has recently boomed in popularity.
The word Enneagram is derived from the Greek words ennéa, meaning “nine” and grámma, meaning something “written” or “drawn.” It is a nine-type personality testing system that serves as a lens to better understand the depths of the human personality.
If you’re anything like me, or even just a hint of mindfully skeptical, you might be thinking, “Nine types, and over seven billion people in the world? Yeah right.” I know it sounds quite general, but that is only the surface of it.
Put it this way: you are 12 years old again, and you want to repaint your bedroom. You want a light blue color that reminds you of the placid morning ocean. Sounds pretty specific, right? Well, imagine you go to Home Depot and the paint experts lead you to what you think is going to be a single can of the perfect color.
Suddenly, you are at a wall full of paint swatches that could represent your so-called hyper-specific color. All of the sudden “light blue placid ocean in the morning” has turned into a million different shades.
There are multiple hues of blue that could represent your dream wall color. In the same way, there are multiple—if not infinite—numbers of expressions or hues of the same personality number.
Every person naturally adopts or gravitates toward one of the nine types. Each number, or type, represents a person who has a unique way of seeing themselves, others and the world. Additionally, each type has an underlying motivation that influences how he or she thinks, feels and behaves.
The Ennea-buzz at Point Loma seemed to grow last year when Enneagram expert and author Ian Cron spoke in chapel.
Senior Aaron Yoshida stated that he first heard about the Enneagram from his friend, but that he began his own journey of self-realization shortly after the chapel service.
“[It] was helpful because it revealed the box that I was living in. It encouraged me in the positive way that I see life and helped me watch out for the ways that I can be unhealthy” said Yoshida.
We were made in such a complex way that it is impossible to fully understand the human personality to a T; however, I will confidently say from experience that the Enneagram does help immensely with self-awareness as well as emotional and mental growth. Essentially, the Enneagram is a road back to our core selves––a pathway for growth through self-realization in the personality that we subconsciously grew into.
In his book “The Road Back to You,” Ian Cron states, “The purpose of the Enneagram is self-understanding and growing beyond the self-defeating dimensions of our personality, as well as improving relationships and growing in compassion for others.”
No matter what paint swatch you identify with, the Enneagram is a holistic tool to better understand yourself and the world around you. I highly encourage anyone who is curious to take the time to really investigate the beauty and uniqueness of their personality through the Enneagram, and to be open to the liberating road to self-realization.
Short descriptions of the nine types:
1 THE REFORMER: The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic
2 THE HELPER: The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive
3 THE ACHIEVER: The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious
4 THE INDIVIDUALIST: The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental
5 THE INVESTIGATOR: The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated
6 THE LOYALIST: The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious
7 THE ENTHUSIAST: The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered
8 THE CHALLENGER: The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational
9 THE PEACEMAKER: The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent
Written by PLNU student Jordan Griffith.