Enneagram Type 1: The Perfectionist
The Reformer is the first personality type in the Enneagram and is essentially a perfectionist. Type 1s love to have things in order. They will either have a pin-neat house, or if it is disorganized, they will know exactly where everything is, even if no one else can see the method in their madness. Heaven help anyone that moves anything!
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Reformers have some great strengths. They will usually be great students and meticulous employees. These are the employees and students that acquaint themselves with the rules and regulations from their first day and won't forget them as long as they are there. Type 1s would be extremely unlikely to break the rules in any setting, unless they were asked to do something that conflicted with their morals. Reformers will uphold the values and standards of any school or workplace to the letter. This Enneagram type are often particularly drawn to religion because of its rules, morals and guidelines. They will feel particularly secure if these rules are in written form, and may often go back to look at them frequently to reassure themselves. Doing the right thing is very important to this type. They are great at self-development in this respect, as they can change their behaviour to fit in with new morals and standards.
Another big plus with this type is their love for justice. Law-breakers and those who hurt others engrage them. If they can channel this anger into productivity, you will probably find them campaigning, organizing and trying to make a difference.
However, this love of morals comes with some downsides. When they approach life situations, the first thing that comes to their mind is rules, values, and 'right' or 'wrong'. This means that they can come across as quite judgmental about the behaviour of others. They may miss the nuances of a situation because they are thinking in such a black and white way. This leads to them being perceived as insensitive, because they often don't take the time to try and understand other people's feelings and emotions. For them, it is not relevant to know the reasons behind why someone has done something 'wrong'. To them, it is just 'wrong' and no amount of explanation can justify or mitigate it.
Type 1s are likely to criticize people, which can lead to strained relationships. If they get quite set in their ways, Type 1s can feel buiding resentment towards those who don't see the world in the way that they do. Those with different morals are branded as 'wrong', and their reluctance to change their ways to the Reformer's standards make Type 1s angry. They are likely to form a view of other such people as 'corrupt' and 'bad people', and it may be very difficult to change their mind on this. They can also suffer from massive shock and feelings of betrayal when someone they admired does something they see as 'bad'.
Unintentional hypocrisy can also be a problem for Type 1s. Their reaction to what they perceive to be 'bad' can be so extreme that they exhibit the very behaviour they condemn. For example, a Type 1 would know that cruelty is wrong. However, if they feel very strongly that someone else has made an error, they might act in a cruel way towards that person. They are so focused on the deed of the other person that they forget their own deed in the process, and may act out in ways they would judge other people for. If Type 1s recognize this hypocrisy on their part, they are deeply ashamed. They are likely to be very disappointed that they behaved in this way and violated their morals, and will beat themselves up mentally for much longer than is called for. They will worry that they are a bad person and put themselves down.
Luckily, the Type 1s have a great gift in their morality. They are unlikely to be law breakers and will try their best to live upright and productive lives. A great self-development opportunity for a Reformer is to try to understand other people's inner lives and why they do the things they do. If we can withhold judgment for long enough to learn about their struggles in a compassionate way, we get deeper beneath the good/bad aspect and really get to know the person. Someone who can uphold their own morals and show understanding to others can be a huge inspiration for others to follow and improve themselves. A way Type 1s can soothe their anger and frustration is to focus on the concept of 'Essence'. This means looking beyond someone's behavior and into their essential being. Some religions and traditions would call essence 'soul' or 'spirit'. If we can try to imagine what it feels like to be another person and how they experience life, we can gain compassion for them.
With the virtues of morality and understanding, Reformers are in prime position to make changes for the better in our world. When they have made time for self-development in their lives, they bring a sense of justice to everything they do and can be a source of constant inspiration to those around them. They will be steadfast and courageous leaders of the highest moral caliber when they work for personal growth.
- Iman Mohiki
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