Personality Tests vs. The Enneagram | The Wisdom of the Enneagram

People love personality tests. We love to see what Hogwarts House we would be in based on our interests. We love knowing what astrological sign we are most compatible with. We love to think that we know ourselves deeply, and better than anyone else. 

Meyers Briggs tests, astrology newsletters, and even the silly quizzes on Buzzfeed all are answers to the natural human want and drive to learn more about ourselves and figure ourselves out. 

Many of these quizzes and diagnoses are simply for fun and generally can hold some truth for some people under the right circumstances at the right time. These personality testers are fun. Generally, they can ring true due to their generic answers and responses, however, they do not provide a deep dive into the self-actualization that many of us crave. 

This is why I want to talk about the Enneagram. The Enneagram is more than a personality test. The enneagram takes self-knowledge a step further by providing us deeper clarity on our core values, our setbacks, strengths, and weaknesses, and leads us on the path to take our relationship with ourselves and others to a greater level of insight and empathy. 

No other personality test can compare. Let’s dive deeper into it. 

The Enneagram: A Background Story

The enneagram is based on nine personality types that every single person embodies. We all contain traits from all of the types, however, there is one number that dominates and describes the way that we communicate, live, and feel. 

According to The Wisdom of the Enneagram, the nature of its geometry and mathematics point to originating with the classic Greeks. However, there is no clear inventor of this spiritual practice. A lot of the philosophical characteristics can be traced back to “Neoplatonic philosophers”, as well as “Hermetic and Gnostic philosophy.” 

The enneagram the way we know it today came to fruition around 1950 by Oscar Ichazo, a Bolivian man who was on a mission to seek out lost knowledge from the past. Ichazo’s findings eventually made it to a prominent psychiatrist named Claudio Naranjo from California around the 1970s where he began to teach it, causing it to rapidly spread throughout the country. 

The Enneagram: The Nine Types

A defining characteristic of the enneagram is the fact that it pushes us to think beyond our surface personality to discover the essence of who we truly are underneath the surface. The nine types that form the enneagram figure are as follows. 

  1. The Reformer: Rational, principled, self-controlled
  2. The Helper: Caring, generous, possessive 
  3. The Achiever: Adaptable, ambitious, image-conscious 
  4. The Individualist: Intuitive, aesthetic, self-absorbed 
  5. The Investigator: Perceptive, innovative, detached
  6. The Loyalist: Engaging, responsible, defensive 
  7. The Enthusiast: Upbeat, accomplished, impulsive
  8. The Challenger: Self-confident, decisive, domineering
  9. The Peacemaker: Receptive, reassuring, complacent 
The Enneagram

The Enneagram: Subsects

As mentioned before, every single human possesses characteristics of all of the types, yet one type encompasses us more so than the others. Another interesting component of the enneagram are the facets of wings, the paths of integrations, and the path to disintegration. 


The wings are the additives to our strongest type and are the numbers that exist on either side of our number. 

For example, I am a 7 on the Enneagram. This means that my wing can either be a 6 or an 8. In my case, I have a 6 wing, which translates to me being “The Entertainer” rather than “The Realist”. 

So, if you are a 2 on the Enneagram, that means that your wing will be either a 1 or a 3. 

As mentioned in The Wisdom of the Enneagram, “each is a subtype of the general type” that aids us in “narrow[ing] down the issues that we face.” Therefore, these wings allow us to dive deeper into who we are and why we act the way that we do to eventually create a better self. 

The Path to Integration:

The path to integration symbolizes the growth that each number experiences when becoming a happier and healthier version of themselves. The way this works within the enneagram is we take on the positive characteristics of another number when we are growing towards a higher and better self.

You can look at the enneagram diagram above to help this make a little bit more sense for which numbers grow and digress to which numbers. 

To use myself as an example again, I am a 7 on the enneagram, which means when I grow I take on the positive characteristics of the 5, such as deep thinking, self-awareness, and empathy. 

When we are able to move past the feelings, circumstances, and struggles that are holding us back from our best self, we become a healthier version of ourselves, leading to better relationships with others. 

The Path to Disintegration:

The path to disintegration represents the unhealthy behaviors that we resort to when we are not in our healthiest state of mind. We take on the negative characteristics of the number we digress to.

Again, you can look at the enneagram diagram above to help this make a little bit more sense for which numbers grow and digress to which numbers. 

As I have mentioned, I am a 7 on the enneagram, so this means that when I am in a stressful state of life I take on the negative characteristics of the 1, such as obsessive tendencies and judgmental nitpicky behaviors. 

When we are able to acknowledge and be aware of the unhealthy behaviors that do not serve us, we can more actively prevent ourselves from spiraling into habits that hold us back from the person we are supposed to be. 

The Enneagram: How Can it Serve Us

The Enneagram has been an incredible tool in my life and the lives of so many others, as it forces you to go a little bit deeper in analyzing your thoughts, actions, and feelings. When we are able to have a clearer understanding of ourselves – including our fears, desires, and basic needs – we are able to start making the steps to implement those needs into our lives, as well as challenge some of our fears or wants. 

It goes without saying that you cannot truly love others, understand relationships, or show empathy, unless you truly love and know yourself better than anyone else. I believe that the enneagram takes you on that journey of self-awareness and self-realization.

The enneagram can give you the knowledge you need to understand yourself in times of stress, appreciate yourself in times of good, and put words and facts to the thoughts and feelings that we experience. 

At its root, Gardenuity is a wellness company. This means wellness across the board. If the enneagram is something that can get you to the place of peace, creativity, and inspiration, then we want you to have the knowledge behind it. 

Find out your enneagram type at