Earlier this year at my work, our executive directors planned an Enneagram training workshop which got postponed because of COVID-19. At the end of September, it was time for the workshop and we learned more about the Enneagram.
What is the Enneagram?
When I was first introduced to it months ago, my instant judgment was that it’s a Christian Horoscope. I honestly believed that. I didn’t want to be boxed-in by a number and told who I was and who I wasn’t. I avoided it at all costs and tried my best not to argue with people who constantly talked about it.
We should ground our identity in God and work to reflect Christ instead of barricading ourselves with a personality quiz. The Enneagram is a framework for you to do this. It’s a tool that gives you more insight on how you can work to reflect Christ through your person (you).
Here’s how the workbook we used describes the Enneagram:
The best way to describe the Enneagram (from the Greek, meaning 9 points) is nine points of view or nine opinions on life. Nine ways to interpret information.Enneagram Handbook by HB Consulting
The Enneagram is like a manual to help you recognize your present patterns and habits, and find growth opportunities within your personality. It’s a roadmap for self-improvement, personal growth, and a help for you to work to reflect Christ.
It’s not just a personality quiz that will leave you at a dead end with no growth opportunity, but more of a crossroad to start the journey to a better version of yourself.
9 Thoughts About The Enneagram:
If you’ve taken the quiz, you might wonder what my numbers are. I scored as a 2w3.
If you haven’t taken the quiz, let me know if you end up doing it and what your results are! (Side note: you don’t have to take the quiz, you could probably search enneagram on Pinterest and find your number that way, too; read up on it and see what resonates most).
Before I dive in to my nine thoughts, I will not cover the nine numbers of the Enneagram This is just a quick post about my takeaways. Enjoy!
It’s not right or wrong.
“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.”
My first takeaway is that it isn’t right or wrong. I’ve heard both ends of the spectrum and landed in the middle because of its definition: nine points of view or opinions on life. We form our own opinions and views, no matter what influence we have. The Enneagram is another map for self improvement, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to do it.
It’s all about perspective.
“The optimist sees the donut, the pessimist sees the hole.”Oscar Wilde
Again, back to the definition, The Enneagram is nine ways to interpret information. Does this mean these are the only nine ways to interpret or perceive information? No, but various psychologists and scholars of human development and behaviour have narrowed down these nine perspectives, or lenses, people look at life with. And taking this test helped me understand my perspectives. The ones I tend to lean more on. The ones I don’t always want to change. When you understand your perspectives (the what, why, and how you got them) you’re able to see another’s perspective and empathize with them.
It’s not a label or a box.
I wear my personality on my sleeve, for sure, and my look is constantly changing because so am I.Halsey
Earlier I said I’m a 2w3. This means this is how I act the most. The description of a two resonated with me deeply. I thought every sentence through to make sure it wasn’t who I wanted to be, but who I am. The Enneagram isn’t a label or a box, but it definitely can be, depending on how YOU view it. A woman in our staff scored really closely on all the numbers (1-9), and this proved to me how it really isn’t something to label and stick ourselves to. Personality isn’t permanent, and the Enneagram helps us see that.
It’s helpful for personal development.
You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.Henry David Thoreau
If you want to improve in your character, the Enneagram is helpful. There’s a nice section after taking the test listing out the levels of development, which is helpful to target where you’re at and how you can grow. It lists out healthy, average, and unhealthy levels. Each of these helped me see myself in different times of my life, but also gave me a roadmap for growth. Now, this isn’t minimizing or taking the place of the Bible, but helping you see where you’re currently at.
It’s helpful for understanding others.
I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.1 Corinthians 9:22
When you want to improve yourself and grow, part of it is trying to understand others. Instead of only focusing on your number and making a statement (ex. “I’m a two, so…”) you can read up on the other numbers to better understand other people and how to treat them. During the workshop, I discovered Ruvim’s number, which has helped me understand how he tends to think and process things. It helped me understand the why’s of some of his actions and decision-making methods. The Enneagram also helped me understand my best friends, and why/how they got to be my best friends!
It’s helpful, but unnecessary.
Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own.Bruce Lee
If you don’t take the test, you’re not at a dead-end. There are other ways you can grow and develop in your habits, character, and personality. I have friends who talk about the Enneagram more than anything, and I have friends who have never looked into it, or even heard of it. So, it’s not a big deal if you want nothing to do with it. It’s also not a big deal if you want everything to do with it.
It’s not an excuse for destructive behavior.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.Helen Keller
Destructive behavior is anything to do with toxicity. The Enneagram is not an excuse to continue in your bad habits (because we all have them) and inappropriate behavior. It’s not an opportunity for you to look down on other people. You’re responsible for your actions.
It’s insightful, interesting, and fun.
Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
If you like anything related to personal development, motivation, and growth, consider looking into this. It’s insightful for you about you and those around you. It’s interesting because it’s something new (even though it’s been around for awhile). And it’s fun way to learn about yourself and others.
It’s not a solution to your problems.
Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want.Jim Rohn
Last, it’s not a solution to your problems. It’s a method. A method to understand who you are, why you do what you do, and so on. It may help you solve some problems, but it’s not the answer. Like the quote above, I encourage you to be happy with what you have, grateful for where you are right now in life, while you pursue all that you want. You’re in control of your behavior.
If you took the test, what’s your number? And how has it helped you understand yourself better?
If you didn’t take it, what do you do to grow and develop as a human? How do you work on your habits, character, and attitude?