When discussing the Enneagram, we often talk about the struggles of each number. I thought it would be fun to discuss the gifts each number brings to us. In Enneagram wisdom, each number has a strength that society needs. Furthermore, if we were to incorporate all 9 of the personality gifts into our own behavior, we would reach enlightenment. Over time, I’ll be dedicating a blog to each personality.
We’ll start with Enneagram Type 1 – The Reformer.
The Type 1 personality looks at the world with idealism. They see all that is wrong with our world and want to make it a better place. That better place can be within their own family, neighborhood, work place or the country. Of all the personalities, 1s have a strong inner sense of right and wrong. This sense of justice is expected of themselves and of the world around them.
Hence, one of the big gifts Enneagram 1s bring to our world is Integrity. Ones will not expect of others anything they would not expect of themselves. And through this, they walk through the world being what they wished the world would be.
Because of this strong integrity, 1s have a sense of will power stronger than any other number. Once they know what is expected of them, they will work their hardest to fulfill and exceed those expectations. This sense of right and wrong, integrity and will-power makes them the ideal person to have on your team.
A great example of a type 1 personality is a Paladin. According to Merriam-Webster, a paladin is “a leading champion of a cause.” Now let’s look at a fun version of a Paladin – The Dungeons and Dragons version.
Paladins in D&D are not just great warriors, they are users of magic for the greater good. According to D&D Beyond, “…paladins are united by their oaths to stand against the forces of evil…a paladin’s oath is a powerful bond. It is a source of power that turns a devout warrior into a blessed champion. A paladin swears to uphold justice and righteousness, to stand with the good things of the world against the encroaching darkness, and to hunt the forces of evil wherever they lurk. Different paladins focus on various aspect of the cause of righteousness, but all are bound by the oaths that grant them power to do their sacred work…a paladin’s power comes as much from a commitment to justice itself as it does from a god.”
I think most ones have a cause that they fight for. I have known many ones in my life. One is an excellent business woman who strives to create an environment where her employees can grow. One is a successful athlete and life coach. One is a well-known acupuncturist dedicated to healing people and showing people how to heal themselves. But each has excelled in their chosen position in life. I truly believe that a 1, just like a paladin, receives their power from their commitment, their oath, to their cause.
Let’s look at another iconic Enneagram 1 character: Atticus Finch.
Atticus Finch is a main character in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus is the father to Scout and Jem, his two children he parents on his own. He is also the defending lawyer to Tom Robinson, an innocent black man accused of raping and beating a white woman. He knows that he will not win the trial, but he represents Tom anyway because it is the right thing to do. And Atticus Finch defends Tom to the best of his ability, if not more. When people talk about the character of Atticus Finch, they describe him as the best of humanity. He represents everything that is a good man. The American Film Institute gave the character of Atticus Finch the title of AFI’s #1 Hero. In the AFI video tribute, Harrison Ford describes him as having dignity and purity of motivation. Because Atticus is a man who walks in integrity and morality, he is the ideal Enneagram 1.
What about in real life? We don’t know for sure, we can only guess. Enneagram masters believe some famous Enneagram 1s are Nelson Mandela, John McCain, Christine Northrup, Ayn Rand, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Margaret Thatcher. Many people say that Oprah Winfrey is an Enneagram 3, but I disagree. I think she is an Enneagram 1 and I will tell you why.
In the WBEZ podcast series, “Making Oprah,” Oprah describes how reading Gary Zukav’s Seat of the Soul changed her life. She learned from the book that everything is energy and the intention behind the energy, the intention behind your actions, dictates the result. For every action, there is a reaction. Once she learned this, she not only applied it to her life, she applied it to her show. Every time one of her team came to her with a show idea, she would say, “What is the intention?” And if the intention wasn’t in the best interest of people, she would say no. This is usually not how an Enneagram 3 thinks. Usually, Enneagram 3 will finish the job no matter what needs to be done, ethical or unethical. Enneagram 3s are motivated by finishing the goal and appearing successful at it.
Furthermore, Oprah is always teaching people to be excellent. She is always teaching people to do the right thing. She says to do the right thing, even if no one else thinks it is the right thing. She believes doing the right thing will always bring the right thing to you. She says to let excellence and doing the right thing be your brand, let it be who you are. Nowhere in Oprah’s beliefs does she talk about the importance of success. She only talks about doing your best and being a good person.
Oprah is a great example of an Enneagram 1 because as she learned lessons in her life and as she pulled herself up, she tried to teach other people and bring them up with her. Her motivation has been to make herself a better person, help people become better, and make the world a better place. And if she fell on her face doing it, which she sometimes did, she felt secure in that she did what she thought was the right thing. That is an Enneagram 1.
What about our current society would be healed by the gifts of the Enneagram 1? What if we all were to incorporate the greatness of Enneagram 1s into our behaviors? What if we all made each decision in our lives by first asking ourselves, “Is this the right thing to do? Am I doing it to the best of my ability? Will this make the world a better place?” Imagine what that world would be like.
Do you know any Enneagram 1s? Is there anyone in your life you think might be an Enneagram 1? What do you admire about these people? We’d all love to hear your thoughts! Comment below!
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