Enneagram Type 1 – The Perfectionist

This personality type is also called the Reformer. Their underlying motivation is anger. They pursue perfection in life and when it doesn’t happen, they often get angry and then very anxious. They are extremely loyal people with high moral values who work very hard to protect and look after their family and loved ones.

They have many positive qualities. They have an excellent eye for detail for example. In effect, they will dot all the letters ‘I’ and cross all the letters ‘T’ in everything they do. Driven by a harsh inner critic, they always try very hard to make sure everything they do is as perfect as it can be. This triggers their need to improve, which can be beneficial for all concerned, but which can also prove to be burdensome to both the type 1 and those who are on the receiving end of the type 1’s reform efforts.

But they also have negative qualities. They can be very quick to judge other people although they feel very guilty doing so. Despite their obvious gifts, they often cannot appreciate their own value and tend to struggle with their inner critic – the voice inside their head telling them how useless they are. They tend to believe that others are just being nice when they give them a complement.

As they are perfectionists, they put themselves under constant pressure to do better, work harder and achieve more. This can make them appear pushy and uncaring in group situations.

Are you a Perfectionist?

  • Do you have a loud inner voice continually criticizing you?
  • Do you often wonder how you could have done something better or faster?
  • Do you have difficulty accepting compliments about your work?
  • Do you wish you were easier going?
  • Do you redo the work of others as it doesn’t live up to your standards?
  • Have other people called you a perfectionist?

If you have identified yourself as a perfectionist then try these simple tips to help restore the positive aspects of your personality type:

  • Learn how to accept a compliment and believe in its sincerity
  • Learn how to relax more
  • You need to take some personal time out to just enjoy yourself
  • Find ways of silencing your inner critic
  • Retrain your thoughts to become more positive

Work on the most negative qualities of your personality type: a tendency to get angry with others, an inclination to be judgmental and a belief that it is your role to set the world straight regardless of the consequences.

Following study and evaluation of yourself, you can learn to manage these negatives  so that your personality will attach itself to the positive characteristics of your type. Being hard working, direct when appropriate and attempting to change the world for the benefit of others are your positive qualities and these will be naturally highlighted when you learn to control the negatives.

2 thoughts on “Enneagram Type 1 – The Perfectionist

  1. Will Edwards Post author

    Hi Jackie

    It can take some time to really decide upon your Enneagram type, not least because many people can identify with more than one type. But the Enneagram teaching is that you are indeed primarily a single type. That said, it gets a little more complicated because you may well identify with the types which are either side of your type (known as the wings). So if you were type 1, you might find resonance with both type 2 and type 9. And, in addition, there are three sub-types for each of the main types.

    We will probably go into the subject in a little more detail in future posts. For now, however, a better indication of your type can be derived by examining the motivation for your behaviour rather than the actual behaviour itself.

    With regard to your question about learned behaviour, the Ennegram teaching is that we are all a bit off-centre and the correction of that asymmetry does not lead to the adoption of another type, but a journey to the discovery of our higher self.

    Will 🙂

  2. Jackie

    Hi WIll, another interesting read. I have a question though …
    I do identify with ‘type 1’ however I work hard to overcome the negative aspects and I have learned that I can change how I react in certain circumstances. But at what point (if at all) does this learned behaviour becomes normal behaviour and is it possible to morph into another enneagram personality type as a result?

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