Chapter 2 | Enneagram Type 1

What it’s Like to Be You

Celebrate the unique strengths of your personality, become aware of its weaknesses.

Time to explore what makes you you! Let’s dive into type One profile to understand how your deep emotions and unconscious behavior shape your personality and how that helps you, but how it can also limit you.

Ones are idealists. They constantly want to improve themselves and the world around them, because they see the potential of everything to become just a little bit better. It’s why this type is often called the Teacher or Reformer. They have clear ideas about what’s right and wrong and are willing to stand up for it.

For Ones, the world often feels like a giant dishwasher that someone didn’t learn how to fill properly. The spoons are spooning, the dishes are derailed, and there’s never enough space between the bowls. While others might be able to just shrug their shoulders and keep on doing their thing, Ones can’t look away. So they try their best to make a difference, first and foremost in their own life. They can be harsh critics, but only because they are even more critical with themselves. They have high standards for their work and relationships, which means they are very disciplined and willing to sacrifice for what they believe is good and right.

To other people, this often looks like perfectionism. And indeed, one of the biggest struggles for Ones is to know when to stop improving. It’s easier for them to see what’s still missing than to appreciate what’s already there. Their inner voice relentlessly reminds them of everything they do wrong, and they find it really hard to turn that off and relax. Ones need the affirmation that good is often better than perfect, less is usually more, and taking things easy is not a sign of laziness but of self-care.

Do these super quickly. Don’t think too much, just write down the first thing that comes to your mind:
Something I will always fight for...
I love when things go as planned, especially...
It makes me incredibly mad when other people...
I'm very happy with myself when it comes to...
Some of Your Strengths as Type One Are That You...
Are organized, hardworking and efficient
Are aware of and honest about what the world needs
Help others to be better people
Value fairness, justice and order
Do the right thing because it is right, not because someone told them
Common Blind Spots
Some of the Blind Spots of Type One Are That They...
Have a hard time being satisfied with anything less than perfect
Are overly critical of themselves and others
Can’t express their anger openly and often end up resentful
Have difficulties relaxing and taking things easy
Don’t cope well with criticism
You've come here to learn more about yourself. You want to grow. To do that, you need to do a starting assessment. Where do you stand right now? What do you think about yourself? Write out short answers to these questions:
What are some positive qualities of mine that I have noticed over the years?
What are some weaknesses of mine I can admit to?
This is what I am working on right now in my life...

Core traits

Every type of the Enneagram can manifest itself in a myriad of ways. There are unlimited versions of what it means to be a type One. But at the same time, because of the way your type looks at the world, there are a few things that are common for each type. You might find that some of these apply to you more, others less. Don’t read them as absolutes, but more as a short summary of the traits most often found in your type.

You Love Precision

It’s easy to make fun of someone who tries to achieve flawlessness, but the world would be a poorer place without people like you. To you, there’s a beauty to the immaculately designed products of Steve Jobs or the mathematical precision of Maxwell’s equations. Whatever you set out to do, you will have read the manual, done your homework and know what you’re talking about.

Black And White Is Better Than Grey

Since anything less than perfect is the equivalent of failure to you, there isn’t much room for ambiguity. There is either truth or lie. Right or wrong. Good or bad. Anyone who tries to convince you of the opposite is most likely not too concerned with truth and justice themselves. Your moral compass doesn’t stray, and you won’t accept it if someone tries to maneuver themselves around integrity and honesty either.

You Follow The Rules

After all, they are there for a reason, and if everyone started skirting the rules, society would quickly break down. So you make sure you turn on the blinker every time you take a turn, and you don’t mind reminding others that they forgot to turn on theirs. To you, you’re helping them.

You Are Organized

Having a mess in whatever area of your life translates into failure for you. Which is why you probably like to clean your room, and you like it even more if you can listen to an educational podcast while you’re doing it. But even if you hate cleaning, you will do it anyway because it simply needs to be done. You like routines, you prefer things to be diligently planned rather than spontaneous, and when you organize something, you are thorough.

You Rarely Take A Break

Everyone has an inner critic, but yours might just be a little louder and unforgiving, and it’s telling you that there’s always something to fix, to improve and to adjust. So to you, laying back feels the same as allowing the world to go to pieces. You cannot not see what’s broken, literal and metaphorical. If it were up to you, you could spend all life trying to perfect everything. Deep down, you know of course that that’s unachievable. But even when „resting“, you often still try to accomplish something, even if it’s just planning dinner in your head.

By now, you might start feeling a bit uncomfortable. So it's time for some reflection.

First of all, it's totally normal if not everything on this list applies to you, or if it applies only to certain areas of your life. Again, Enneagram types are about desires and hurts that shape the way we look at the world. This leads to patterns that are similar for many people, but obviously, they're not the same for everyone. Your personality has been shaped by so many factors that it is completely unique.

So the goal here is not to play psych-tricks on you, or to tell you things you already know about yourself.

Instead, try to see these core traits more like a helping hand. They can make you more aware of habits and patterns in your life you might be doing unconsciously and unreflectingly.

Here's what you can reflect on with this exercise:

Which of these core traits apply to me? To which degree? Where do I disagree?
Which of these traits am I proud of? Which do I not like?
Famous Enneagram  Ones
Is there anyone in this list you identify with? Check out the Wikipedia article of the celebrity you want to know more about. Maybe their life story holds a lesson or two for you.
Are there any other famous people of past and present that come to your mind when you think of type One?

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