What’s in a number? Quite a lot, if you are to go by the Enneagram, a fascinating indicator of the type of person you are. Moreover, this ancient system, rediscovered in our time, can be used as a personal growth tool
Brief Type Descriptions
1 - The Reformer
The principled, the idealistic type. Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organised, orderly and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionist. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their best: wise, discerning, realistic and noble. Can be morally heroic.
Examples: Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Medha Patkar
2 - The Helper
The caring, interpersonal type. Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are generous and self-sacrificing but can also be sentimental, flattering and people-pleasing. They are well- meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and acknowledging their own needs. At their best: unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others.
Examples: Princess Diana, Rani Mukherjee
3 - The Achiever
The adaptable, success-oriented type. Threes are self-assured and attractive. Ambitious, competent and energetic, they can also be status-conscious. They are diplomatic and poised, but can also be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At their best: self-accepting, authentic, everything they seem to be—role models who inspire others.
Examples: Shobha De, Aamir Khan, Arindam Chaudhari
4 - The Individualistic (Romantic)
The introspective, romantic type. Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence and self-pity. At their best: inspired and highly creative, they are able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.
Examples: Protima Bedi, Mohammad Azharuddin, Maradona
5 - The Thinker
The perceptive, cerebral type. Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism and isolation. At their best: visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way.
Examples: Einstein, Dhirubhai Ambani, Raj Kapoor
6 - The Loyalist
The committed, security- oriented type. Sixes are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. Excellent ‘troubleshooters’, they foresee problems and foster co-operation but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious—running on stress while complaining about it. They can be cautious and indecisive, but also reactive, defiant and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion. At their best: internally stable and self- reliant, courageously championing themselves and others.
Examples: Ram Jethmalani, Mel Gibson
7 - The Enthusiast
The busy, productive type. Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over- extended, scattered and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.
Examples: Mahesh Bhatt, Sanjana Kapoor
8 - The Challeneger
The powerful, aggressive type. Eights are self-confident, strong and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking and decisive, but can also be egocentric and domineering. The feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable. At their best: self-mastering, they use their strength to improve others’ lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring.
Examples: Amartya Sen, Kalpana Lajmi
9 - The Peacemaker
The easy-going, self-effacing type. Nines are accepting, trusting and stable. They are usually creative, optimistic and supportive, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but they can also tend to be complacent, simplifying problems and minimising anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. At their best: indomitable and all-embracing, they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts.
Examples: Mahatma Gandhi, A.R. Rahman
(Names given for each type above have been based on their public personas)
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