This invitation can be read over the entrance gate to the Oracle of Delphi. Self- awareness is indeed the pre-requisite for any type of personal development. Our personality, however, is so colourful that without some form of guidance we will find it hard to discover our real strengths and weaknesses. The Enneagram offers assistance in this guidance, as it makes us aware of what may otherwise remain unconscious to us. By knowing our Enneagram type we are given an explanation of how our inner experiences organise our visible behaviour. Thus many of our thoughts, feelings and reactions over which we are often surprised or sometimes even irritated suddenly start to make sense.
People who do not understand what the Enneagram really is, sometimes reject it because they don’t want to be ‘put into a box’. After all, they claim they have a bit of everything from all of the types, and anyway, they are far too individualistic to belong to only one type! Naturally, we all differ from each other; the Enneagram says nothing about our intelligence, our history, our talents or our integrity. However, the motivational pattern of every person, the roots of how we tick, is explained in one of the nine type descriptions.
Recognising our own pattern and the restrictions it may cause, helps us to set an impulse for personal development. We can learn to side-step the pitfalls of our pattern and to leave aside some of the automatisms which are at the root of our personality type and by doing so we can gain new competences. Hence, the Enneagram gives valuable support in actually getting us ‘out of the box’, in which we have unknowingly been all the time.
How do others tick?
As soon as we have gained an overview of our own personality, we start to ask ourselves this very question. One of the big surprises when we work with the Enneagram is realising that others very possibly just don’t tick the way we do! As soon as we have gained insight into our own personality pattern and have started to perceive how other patterns function, we can then learn about the whole spectrum of human behaviour. We gradually become acquainted with all nine personality types, thus making it possible to access perspectives on life which are completely different from our own.
The moment we start interrelating with others we realize how useful it is to know the nine different Enneagram types. It promotes a natural understanding for other viewpoints, needs and priorities and we learn how to cope well with differences. In this way we can improve our mutual understanding within our family and with friends or colleagues and reduce potential conflict.
Knowing the Enneagram system supports us in our interaction with others. Therefore, it’s not surprising that it is often put to use in the business world, whereby the most popular areas of use are in Communication, Team Building, Leadership, Sales, Coaching and Negotiation.