I created this guide to connect people like you with the best Enneagram teachers I know so you can understand yourself and others better. There's a lot here, so it's best that you read a little at a time and then come back later to learn more.
When Type Threes are in touch with their strengths–and aren’t succumbing to their Achille Heel–they bring others the gifts of confidence and motivation. These are the powers of The Star:
Threes help others feel inspired and find the motivation to keep moving toward their goals.
Threes support others to eliminate distractions and concentrate their attention only on what’s most important.
Threes feel highly capable and are ready for any challenge, giving them a sense that success is inevitable.
Threes keep their eyes on the prize and easily overcome obstacles, becoming highly accomplished.
Not only do they get the job done, but Threes look great doing it. They present a winning image to the world.
Obstacles are only temporary speed bumps for Threes as they stay the course and keep moving towards their goal.
No time is wasted as Threes pursue the shortest, most efficient path to their goal.
Source: The Heroic Enneagram, by Marshall Æon
🤕 Achilles Heel: The fears of being seen as a failure, and having no value. When Type Threes succumb to their Achille Heel, their strengths become weaknesses.
Threes can exhaust themselves burning too bright, for too long. They can make their work a greater priority over important relationships, and even their own feelings.
Threes can get lost in vanity. Looking successful becomes more important than *being* successful.
When image becomes more important than reality, Threes can succumb to the temptation to deceive others. Instead of being authentic, they present a larger-than-life persona to the world.
When Threes become hyper-focused on their work, their feelings get pushed aside. They lose touch with themselves and their own hearts. They can then become quite cold and unfeeling.
When success is pursued at all costs, Threes can cast aside ethics, as well as the feelings of others. This alienates others and the people around a Motivator begin to lose trust in them.
Source: The Heroic Enneagram, by Marshall Æon
Ones will support Threes’ work efforts, projects, goal focus, and efficiency. Threes appreciate Ones’ conscientiousness and devotion to excellence and improvement. The One, however, sometimes may become critical of the way the Three discounts important details, cuts corners, speeds through things with their fast pace, and making changes to suit circumstances. The Three, on the other hand, can become impatient with the One's pickiness, judgmentalness, tendency to get bogged down in details, and interferences with productivity. This can all dissolve into a cycle of increasing conflict resulting in an interactive pattern of angry exchanges, accusations, stalemates, and/or disengagement. This pattern can become compounded since both types tend to avoid feelings, which eventually leads to alienation and separation.
Twos and Threes join together in accomplishing shared goals and in keeping life up and positive, usually with Twos supporting Threes’ goals and accomplishments, hoping to be appreciated in return. Conflict occurs when Twos experience Threes as discounting feelings and relationship issues, while Threes experience Twos as getting off task and wanting too much time and attention. A cycle of increasing conflict can result with the two types polarizing – the Two feeling rejected, getting emotional, and emoting anger and with the Three feeling unrecognized and impatient and then disappearing into work. This pattern can result in withdrawal and eventually in alienation end to the relationship.
Threes enjoy working together toward common goals and augmenting each other’s efforts. They can live parallel yet supportive lives with each taking on the tasks necessary to function and attain goals. However, they also can neglect each other’s and their own feelings and the relationship in general (results from the task oriented fast pace keeping feelings away). They may even become competitive, experience one another as obstacles in the path of attainment and success, and feel insufficiently recognized. A cycle of ever-increasing conflict can result when this occurs. Then each can get frustrated, impatient, angry, and distance himself or herself from each other, leading to alienation and distant co-existence or dissolution of the relationship.
Threes benefit from Fours’ authenticity and creative disposition while Fours benefit from Threes support for sustained accomplishment. However, Threes can get impatient with Fours’ tendency to get off track and “sink” into feelings. And Fours may express disdain over Threes’ tendency to avoid feelings, seem shallow, and be inattentive to the relationship. Threes wanting approval try harder, yet often still disappoint the Four who pursues the ideal relationship. A cycle of escalating conflict and blame can result with the Three getting impatient and angry and the Four’s falling into inaction. Simultaneously, the Four, while envious of the Three’s accomplishments, can feel debased by, critical of, and disappointed in the Three. This pattern can result in a sustained gulf between them and even lead to dissolution of the relationship.
Threes and Fives support each other in work projects and shared activities. Over time, conflict can occur when Fives retract, needing private time to recharge, while Threes want to “keep on trucking.” A cycle of escalating conflict occurs when the Three become frustrated and impatient with the Five’s over-analysis and seeming procrastination resulting in further disconnection by the Five who may experience the Three as cutting corners, making demands for action, and jeopardizing the relationship. As neither type habitually attends to feelings, they are unlikely to resolve the situation through dialogue and expression of personal feelings. They may become alienated and lonely leading eventually to termination the relationship.
When sharing a common purpose or goal, Threes and Sixes can complement each other well with an action orientation balanced by thoughtful downside analysis. When Threes push ahead, somewhat blind to potential hazards and what can go wrong, Sixes can react with caution and contrary thinking about pitfalls and worst case scenarios. A cycle of escalating conflict can take place with the Three seeing this as putting up obstacles to progress and success, which evokes impatience and a push forward into action. The Six then can feel unheard and discounted, which increases his or her doubt and mistrust. This can spiral into a web of angry allegations and eventually estrangement.
Threes and Sevens often support and encourage each other’s projects and activities. Since both types avoid painful feelings and negatives, difficulties can reach crisis proportions before they are faced. A cycle of increasing conflict can arise when the fun-loving Seven diverts from “drudge work” that the Three feels must be done. When the Three confronts the Seven’s “escapism” and the Seven counter-confronts the Three for taking the fun out of life, the conflict can further escalate. Neither wants to be the “bad guy” or a failure. This cycle of blame creates pain and anger in both. If the difficulties are not faced, alienation can take place and the relationship can dissolve.
Threes and Eights can join together in pursuit of shared goals with vigor and determination. However, control and competition struggles can emerge unbuffered by softer feelings. The Three may then alter and shift directions to avoid the Eight’s demands, attempts at confrontation, and expressions of anger, which may further anger the truth-seeking Eight. A cycle of escalating conflict can ensue with the Eight picking up on the changes of position on the part of the shape-shifting Three, leading to more provocation of the all-or-nothing style of confrontation. Hurtful fights, withdrawal, and disruption of the relationship may ensue leading to termination the relationship.
Nines naturally support Threes’ goals and accomplishment agenda. In turn, Threes help to mobilize Nines into action. This can proceed harmoniously when the Threes pay attention to Nines’ needs and neglected priorities and when Nines encourage Threes to slow down and “smell the flowers.” A cycle of escalating conflict,, however, can arise when the Three experiences the Nine as indecisive, unfocused, and off-track. Getting frustrated and impatient, the Three may pressure the Nine to make decisions. Feeling discounted and controlled, the Nine can become anxious, stubborn and resistive. This then may escalate into angry exchanges and debilitating, prolonged stand-offs that threaten or may even dissolve the relationship.
Source: David Daniels
Threes shine in the workplace, their natural habitat. They want piels of accomplishments, and they want to be noticed for them. Ray Kroc, the Three who built McDonald's, called his autobiography Grinding It Out, which is the basic Three approach. But even though Threes are Type A workaholic grinds, they're image conscious as well, and they make a strong effort to appear to the world as charismatic winners.
"Just Do It," goads Nike, whose advertising targets Threes and Three wanna-bes. Threes have a bias for action. They are pragmatists. They know how things work and what it takes to make something happen. To a Three, life and work are about having goals, doing whatever you need to do (and being whoever you need to be) to attain them, while finessing obstactles that get in the way until, full speed ahead, you break the tape at the finish line.
For the Three, life and work are essentially competitive enterprises, and Threes are not squeamish about beating the competition. That's what the competition is for. "This [business] is rat eat rat, dog eat dog," said Ray Kroc. "You're talking about the American way of survival for the fittest." Jack Welch's famous insistence that General Electric's businesses be number one or number two in their market is pure Three. "If you don't have a competitive advantage, don't compete," he instructed.
America is the land of the Three. Self-starting, can-do Three skills are much admired; indeed, lots of folks pretend to be Threes, sometimes without knowing it, in a culture where our identitiy seems to hinge on our material achievement and success. The typically American theology of Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller, both Threes, is not so mucha bout a profound personal exploration as it is about being resilient, "believing in yourself," having goals, and acting on them. Peale's power of positive thinking, an applied optimism that may look similar to Seven, is in fact far more pragmatic and results oriented. Peale says don't be "an obstacle man," a person who gets stuck in why things can't get done (that is, a Six). Get your act together and get on with it.
America's facility in marketing American culture all over the world is not surprising or accidental. Threes like to sell themselves and are validated when they do.
The Enneagram Threes is the type famously described a generation ago by the psychiatrist by Michael Macoby as "The Gamesman":
"He is cooperative, but competitive; detached and playful but compulsively driven to succeed; a team player but a would-be super-star; a team leader but often a rebel against bureaucratic hierarchy. His main goal is to be known as a winner, and his deepest fear is to be labeled a loser. He is not compassionate, but he is fair. He is open to new ideas, but he lacks convictions. . . . Life is meaningless outside the game. . . . But once the game is on . . . they come to life, think hard, and are cool. . . . While other[s] . . . find such high pressure competition enervating and counter-productive, for the gamesman it is the elixir of life.
Source: The 9 Ways of Working, Michael J. Goldberg
Source: The Enneagram Made Easy, Baron & Wagele
Type Three children are usually positively involved in school and want to be on time. If they have problems with tardiness, check into how they're getting along with their teacher and with the other students. This may take perseverance on your part, as they aren't always forthcoming about difficulties they're having. Make mornings easier by having them set the table and do other jobs the night before. Starting around junior high school, they may need to get up earlier for last-minute studying or primping.
Three children want to excel, but they may take shortcuts or bite off more than they can chew. Their clear thinking and organizing skills equip them well for schoolwork. They want to be liked and seen as special by their teachers, but occasionally they get into trouble from behaving arrogantly or assertively.
Three kids usually absorb good manners because they want to make a good impression.
Type 3 kids are usually popular leaders. They believe others should–or want–to be like them, and they have difficulty understanding those who aren't. If they're not accepted easily, they may be too devastated to persist openly. They often have many acquaintances. Encourage them to value and cultivate close friends as well. Especially if you're an introverted parent of a Three-ish child, remember that they are motivated by keeping active and going after results. When anything stands in the way of this, they may become irritable. Try not to diminish their accomplishments or be put off by their need to perform for approval. Appreciate how strongly the children feel about their accomplishments–more than the accomplishments themselves.
Type Three children have energy to burn, so they may not want to go to sleep when it's bedtime. Set up a routine of reading them quiet stories to help them wind down for the night. These children want to be healthy and fit and are usually motivated to eat what's good for them. Try especially to make mealtimes calm so the Three-ish child can enjoy the family being together. Eating and sleeping should be as pleasurable and free from stress as possible; ask yourself if you're too strict or if you're not structured enough. If you have serious worries about your child's eating habits, seek professional help.
Some parents may see their Three children as too energetic, determined, and motivated. Parents need to encourage their Three children to relax and unwind if they become stressed. Have some activities available for them to do that are repetitive, mellow, and noncompetitive.
Three-ish children usually excel at using their verbal and social skills for self-promotion and self-presentation. Some bend over backward to please everyone else and need to be reminded to please themselves with their efforts. When they don't get their way, they sometimes speak louder and louder until they're noticed.
Three-ish children don't like to waste time and are usually very decisive and self-reliant. They like to take care of business and get on to the next thing.
Type 3 children identify with the crowd and culture and can be overly influenced by others. Help them come back to themselves by regularly asking questions about their personal values, such as, "What do you like? Which is your favorite?" Encourage creativity, working for a cause, and helping people out. If you are a Three parent, try not to brag about your child and show him or her off. This will reinforce rather than balance the child's Three-ness. Give attention to Three-ish children's inner feelings. Experience their inner being.
Three children are usually responsible about meeting their own goals but are sometimes too absorbed in their lives to meet other obligations. Parents can help by emphasizing the importance of loyalty and looking out for one another. Assign these kids tasks like taking care of pets. If you're not very organized, try to adapt to your Three children by helping their lives run more smoothly and effectively.
Source: The Enneagram of Parenting, by Elizabeth Wagele
The Self Preservation 3: the passion of vanity in the Self Preservation zones. I translate this as "To be valuable, I must excel in this instinctual area." Thus, Self Preservation Threes strive for excellence in the 3 zones of Self Preservation. These are the hard-working, list-making, task-oriented 3s. They often mistype as 1 or 8.
Self Preservation Threes are not "flashy" so they may not relate to some descriptions of the 3. They're the "get things done" people, which is a wonderful asset. When Self Preservation 3s get more fixated though, they become workaholics and don't know when to stop. They may bring spreadsheets on their vacations.
SP3s are usually most focused on the practical maintenance zone: they value efficiency and effectiveness. They may have an exercise routine they work into their busy schedules and do care about fitness as part of their capacity to perform. They may rely on others for a nice home.
When troubled, Self Preservation Threes may focus on work to the detriment of their relationships, losing connections with loved ones and becoming isolated. They are at risk of burn out. At their best, they are warm, seeking good uses for their skills and supporting others with their work and dedication.
Naranjo called SP3 "Security," which does highlight the way this kind of 3 is less image-oriented. I call this subtype "Efficiency" while the more troubled aspect is "Workaholism." SP3s are the people most concerned with efficiency and managing/streamlining their time and energy well.
The Social 3: vanity in the Social zones. "My value comes from excellence in the social sphere." Social Threes are the most adaptable 3s--they intuitively pick up what is most appropriate to the situation and match it energetically. This isn't premeditated and happens instantly, before thinking.
SO3s fit the general description of 3s: they are charming & ambitious, exhibiting professionalism in their chosen field. Much of their journey is learning to tune into their own dreams & wishes rather than being led by what they perceive is expected of them. Not obvious.
Social 3s focus on the building reading people zone of Social, but also the contribution zone. They work hard to "rise above their rank" and feel an ongoing need to prove themselves. They are often exemplars of their profession and are able to model qualities that others admire and respect.
When troubled, Social 3s can be adaptable to a fault, disappearing into self images and losing touch w with their real heart's desire. Overarching ambition can lead to a downfall. At their best, they are gracious, gifted, sensitive, and truly interested in helping others develop their gifts.
Naranjo called SO3 "Prestige". This makes sense. Social 3s look for tangible signs that they are making progress. They want to be recognized for their hard work and achievement. But even when they receive accolades they often remain driven and dissatisfied with themselves and can burn out.
Social Threes learn from their mistakes & try different methods to achieve their goals. Much healing comes when they start to examine their concepts of success, noting the difference between external markers of success and what makes them FEEL good about themselves. A rebirth can follow.
Social 3s can be more isolated than they are appear–feeling like soloists under pressure. They begin to find connection through cooperation in tasks. They love helping others discover their talents and use them well and make excellent coaches–inspiring others to personal excellence.
The Sexual 3: the passion of vanity in the Sexual zones. "My value comes from excelling at attraction." Not all Sexual 3s are classically good-looking, but all know how to enhance their attractiveness and charisma. They can pick up on what others are attracted to and become more like this.
Sexual Threes have learned how to charge up their charisma, and can do so when needed. They "turn it on." They can become a sort of blank slate on which others project their fantasies and desires. They know how to cultivate "a look"–this can range from a culture-ideal to exotic/strange.
As Sexual types, they seek powerful union, but while confident in their power to attract, can also have self-doubt about their ability to sustain relationships. Most Sexual Threes know how to get attention through their attractiveness, but start to fear this is all others see in them.
In a bid to be seen for their depth, Sexual 3s may rebel against their attractiveness–rejecting their former images. When in trouble they can get lost in promiscuity and addiction, trying on one image after another. At their best, they can be brilliantly creative, cultural heroes.
Naranjo called Sexual 3 "Virility/Femininity", pointing to Sexual 3's capacity to become the idealized role in their sexual milieu. "I am what you have been looking for." I call this combo "The Catch", as in "Wow. He's quite a catch." Sexual 3s often work hard at grooming and fitness.
In youth, SX3s may go through a variety of intense relationships, but as they get older, they tend to seek intimates and partners who can draw out their depth and intelligence. They still know how to attract, but learn this "superpower" does not have to be used all the time.
Sexual Threes tend to have more access to their feelings than other 3s and are more easily hurt. They're often drawn to the arts and have a strong aesthetic sense. They may mistake themselves for 4s, especially with a 4 wing. But like all 3s, they can lay feelings aside to get things done.
Source: Russ Hudson on Twitter
Type Threes want respect from others for being successful and worthy of admiration through focusing intensely on specific goals and plans, all with a self-assured and confident demeanor and image; and become out of touch with their truest self and innermost heart's desire.
The need for people to differentiate between type 1 and 3 is fairly common for several reasons. First, both types are part of the "competency triad," which means feeling competent and being perceived or treated as competent is very important to them (the third type that is part of this triad is type 5). Second, one of the subtypes of type 3 (the Self Preservation 3) is a look-alike for type 1, because self preservation 3s have more anxiety than the other two versions of 3 about getting whatever they are doing "right." Third, both 1s and 3s are planners, although they plan in different ways, with 1s constructing more detailed plans than 3s and also being more likely than 3s to have "to do" lists for almost everything.
The confusion between type 2 and type 3 is quite common, primarily because both 2s and 3s are Heart Center types who are attuned to the reactions of others. They also sit adjacent on the Enneagram symbol and, therefore, are wings of one another. A person might be a 2 with a 3 wing or a 3 with a 2 wing.
The confusion between type 3 and type 4 can occur for a few reasons. Both 3s and 4s are Enneagram types formed in the Heart Center of Intelligence and they are wings of one another. As a result, a person could be a type 3 with a 4 wing or a type 4 with a 3 wing. The type confusions can have to do with type and gender. Because 3s create an image of how they want to be perceived, if, for example, a 3 wants to appear to be sensitive, emotional, and artistic, the 3 may adopt more of a 4-like persona. By contrast, if a male 4 perceives his type as too full of feelings in terms of his cultural or familial context regarding how "males" should be and act, he might unconsciously start to use more of his 3 wing.
The confusion between type 3 and type 5 happens resonably often for several reason. Both 3s and 5s are Enneagram types that comprise the "competency triad" – types 1,3, and 5 – meaning it is central to 1s, 3s, and 5s to both view themselves and be perceived by others as competent. Next, some 3s may have an image of being intellectual and may want to be perceived as a 5. Third, although 3s are formed from the Heart Center of Intelligence, most 3s put aside their feelings in order to pursue goals and activity; this can appear to them to be the emotional disconnection of type 5. Finally, more introverted 3s may mistype themselves as 5s, but 5s are more withdrawn energetically, not just introverted. As you can infer from the above, it is more common for some 3s to think they are 5s than for 5s to mistype themselves as 3s.
The confusion between type 3 and type 6 can happen. 3s and 6s are on arrow lines to one another, so there may be some aspects of type 6 in every 3 and some qualities of 3 in every 6. In addition, the self-preserving subtype 3 is called "security," and these 3s are sometimes more visibly anxious (and aware of it) than are the other two subtypes of 3. This can make self-preservation subtype 3s wonder if they might not be 6s rather than 3s.
Enneagram 3s and 7s are among the most common "look-alikes" of the nine types, so it is not unusual for many 3s to think they are 7s or 7s to think they are 3s, at least initially. They do have a lot in common on the surface. Both types are forward moving, energetic (although 7s are more so). Both 3s and 7s also "plan," but very differently. In addition, both 3s and 7s like to multi-task, but 3s set limits to the number of tasks they will take on, while 7s multi-task to an extreme and have trouble turning down anything that excites them. To help people sort through whether they are 3s or 7s, it is necessary to go beneath the surface, beyond behavior and into what drives the behavior.
Some Enneagram 3s may, at least initially, think they are 8s, but the opposite is less common. In other words, if 8s think they are 3s, it doesn't take very long to discover that they are not. The main reason for this particular type confusion is that both 3s and 8s appear to be confident, and both like to get things done. In addition, both 3s and 8s like to be respected, although 3s think they have to earn respect through their accomplishments, and 8s most simply expect it. In addition, both 3s and 8s get very agitated when they feel they have been disrespected.
Because 3s and 9s are connected by an arrow, many 3s feel familiar with aspects of 9 and vice versa. For example, when 3s get quite stressed, they may move to some qualities of type 9 and engage in a distracting activity to relax them such as video games, watching TV, or whatever takes minimal effort. And some 9s, particularly social subtype 9s, can get very active on behalf of gruops or teams as they attempt to merge with a group or with work as a way to fin or belong to the group.
Source: The Art of Typing by Ginger Lapid Bogda
People whose dominant Harmonic approach is the Competency approach try solving problems in an objective, unemotional manner. Unlike people of the reactive approach, they don't get worked up when problems happen, they remain cool and emotionally detached from them. When confronted by a problem, these types have issues on working within a framework or structure.
Threes can get into conflicts by being too competitive, insincere, and boastful. Threes focus on being efficient and meeting their goals. When confronted with problems, they can easily set aside their own feelings and focus on the task at hand. In general, Threes want to follow existing structures. However, Threes are pragmatists that will cut corners to realize their goals.
Source: Rob Fitzel
Average 3/2 is the prototypical sales personality. The threeish desire to be admired is stronger than the twoish desire to please others, so it is more important to look good than to make others feel good, although they will do both if they can. Unlike the more withdrawn 3/4, they want to reach the largest possible audience. Threeish, mainstream attractiveness is flavored by twoish seductiveness, rather than fourish specialness. 3/2s possess a calm, cheerful social manner, always trying to show the best side. They want you to feel that they are emotionally together even if they aren’t.
Healthy 3/2 loses the false polish and becomes more real. The vanity of three turns into genuine self-observation, and the seductive pride of two turns into appropriate humility. Balanced 3/2s are friendly and personable people whose natural social skills help others feel comfortable. They find pleasure in playing without always having to win, although of course they can still choose to be competitive when it’s appropriate. Genuine feelings emerge and are given expression as two integrates to four, while three going to six provides a sense of belonging that builds powerful bonds of friendship.
Further 3/2 integration leads to an astonishing ability to generate enthusiastic optimism and self-confidence in others. Highly evolved 3/2 can be an expert motivational speaker. The uplifting message is delivered with style and power, zooming right to the heart of the listener, where the magic of positive thinking can begin. They bring us to our feet shouting and jumping for joy, eager to take the reins of our life and charge onward into the future.
Unbalanced 3/2s become trapped by the vain desire to be admired and attractive. They begin to hide more and more behind the false emotional facade. Trying ever harder to show the emotional states they think others think they should show, they get further out of touch with whatever real emotions are being ignored. The anger and pushiness from the two-wing’s disintegration to eight combine with three‘s nineish emotional deadening, for a kind of hostile self-promotion.
If 3/2s lose touch still further, eightish anger at the world is the only emotion that is strong enough to penetrate the cotton wall of nineish deadness. In a peculiar, zombielike state, the most horrible atrocities might be committed. Sometimes extremely unbalanced 3/2s are nice-seeming, quiet people who just happen to be mass-murderers or serial rapists. (See who brought you to ruin! I am the one.)
3/2s usually want to be well-dressed, in the top fashion of whatever social group they belong to. Their clothing is well-chosen and reflects the mainstream, not the fringes of fashion. Makeup and jewelery are well within the norms of their largest audience. Note, however, that some audiences like excess, and threes who are addressing such groups will meet their expectations.
Some 3/2s find work that puts them on display in a glamorous way. Actors, singers, football players. Others follow their ambition into the business world, becoming executives, salespeople, managers, or advertising agents. They might be motivational speakers, models, game show hosts, or newscasters. There are 3/2 DJs, politicians, and image consultants. Of course, 3/2s can also be found doing many other kinds of work.
Source: Intuitive Enneagram, Nick Turner
Average 3/4 wants to be admired for unique presentation, not mass-marketed stereotypes. Unlike the 3/2s, who want everybody to admire them, 3/4s are more interested in securing the attention of a select following. The introspection of the four-wing makes them less comfortable than 3/2 in social situations, although the powerful threeish social grace usually hides it. Because threeish vanity is stronger than fourish emotionality, they usually manage to stay cool in times of stress, unlike their neighbors, the more emotionally volatile 4/3s.
Balanced 3/4 is gentle, compassionate, and smoothly effective. When three integrates to six and four integrates to one, a new sense of social responsibility combines with the wisdom that comes from emotional detachment. Healthy 3/4s are effective at accomplishing real-world goals and intuitive enough to be good advisers. They make excellent business mentors or career counselors. They might be good at rescuing a failing company (or seeing that what is really needed is to break it up and sell the parts).
Extremely advanced 3/4 combines quiet self-assurance with deep emotional insight into other people’s experiences. They may appear at the tops of large organizations devoted to improving life for everyone on the planet, or they may work quietly behind the scenes, spreading a sense of confidence and optimism among the members of their team. Wherever they go they leave behind a feeling of deep connection and belonging. They are subtle teachers who set an example of compassionate action.
Unbalanced 3/4 hides loss of self-worth behind a veneer of artificial coolness. If the success-orientation of the three becomes too compulsive, and the fourish introspection gets out of hand, 3/4s lose their genuineness. They become less socially adept and somewhat manipulative, as fourish self-dislike leads to a twoish desire to reinforce self-image by manipulatively “helping” others. The self-deceptive pride that results is hidden behind emotional deadening as three pulls in the worst of nine. Such people can be difficult to like, because of the way they constantly remind themselves and others of their own accomplishments.
In the worst case, 3/4 is capable of atrocities, just like 3/2, except that because of the greater self-examination of the four-wing, such crimes are more likely to be isolated cases. 3/4 can be rather self-destructive as all the normal rules of social conduct are abandoned in an attempt to generate attention of any kind from others. In the deepest psychosis, mass-murder-suicides are possible. (Everyone else gets to be famous, but not me. But watch! I’ll get my fifteen minutes, when they see what I have done. Just wait. I’ll show them.)
3/4s are interested in appearing attractive and sexy, because they are threes, but the four-wing makes them also want to be unique and special. Their overall appearance usually includes elements that set them apart from the crowd. 3/4s usually want to set the next fashion, rather than following the current one. Fourish sensitivity to aesthetics and form gives them a subtlety and flair that 3/2s may lack. Like 4/3s, they want to inject a bit of drama into their presentation.
Some 3/4s find work that shows them to the world in a unique but culturally acceptable way. Pop singers, actors, politicians, and talk-show hosts. Others succeed by mastering the corporate world, becoming CEOs, entrepreneurs, fashion consultants. They might be in retail sales, insurance, real estate, or commodities. There are 3/4 architects, auto mechanics, novelists, and artists. Of course, 3/4s can also be found doing many other kinds of work.
Source: Intuitive Enneagram, Nick Turner
Source: The Heroic Enneagram, by Marshall Æon
"The Enneagram is a lens that can be used independently of any spiritual, religious, or mystical belief. Both religious and non-religious people can find immense value in using the Enneagram. However, some people find value in examining their spiritual lives through the lens of the Enneagram. This brings greater objectivity and self-awareness to the spiritual path. Many Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, and atheists have found the Enneagram complementary to their unique views and beliefs." –Marshall Æon
"Three is the part of us, that is about how presence or Being actually also functions. It's how we determine what we want to do in the world, what is our good and sacred work–and doing that work. It's about the calling of our heart toward what we're here to do and be. And ideally, when we're more present, that's manifesting all the time, we're bringing a kind of loving attention to everything we do, whether it's an important job in our career, or whether we're making dinner. But it's that sense of our work being a kind of service, in something coming from our heart is a kind of a love offering to the world. When people who are Threes are at their best, they're the masters of effectiveness of getting things done, but of doing so, from a place of love, from a place of wanting to support the world and others with their talents and capacities. However, when Threes are not so present, they become very task driven, very goal-oriented to a fault in a sense. They tend to overwork, exhaust themselves, and to let some of their interpersonal parts in their lives get neglected. So this can leave them burned out, exhausted, hurt them emotionally and physically. And of course, this can be very hard on the people who love them. "
So Holy Law means that the whole universe changes and transforms as a unity, like one ocean whose surface is in a constant state of change and transformation, continuously rippling as one. It is not that things are changing in unison, but that one completely unified mass is moving without the possibility of any part going its own way or changing, independent of the rest. If one thing were to change separately, the unity of existence would be broken.
Holy Harmony, the second name or nuance of this Holy Idea, points to two primary insights regarding Holy Law. It refers to Holy Law, but focuses on certain things about it. The first insight is that because everything happens as one action, as one unified flow, the pattern of this flow is experienced as the complete harmony of all the various happenings contained within it. The perception of this harmony is that it is beauty, it is love, it is grace, it is luminosity, it is abundance and fullness. So all movements, changes, and actions form a unified and harmonious, patterned flow. This flow is aesthetically and absolutely appealing and satisfying, and on a practical level, is totally fulfilling. There are no incongruities, no inconsistencies, no contradictions between the various local changes and occurrences because they are not separate from each other. Contradictions can only exist from the perspective of an individual who sees one thing happen and then sees another thing happen, which she thinks is contradictory to the first thing. But if there is only one unified unfolding, how can there be inconsistencies? What we call disharmonies and inconsistencies are part of the harmony when seen from this larger perspective.
The difference between Holy Faith and Holy Hope is that faith is a trust in the fact of the presence of Being, while hope is trust in the creative flow of the functioning of that presence. So faith gives you the sense of being supported and taken care of by the universe, while hope gives you the sense that as things unfold, everything is and will be fine. Holy Hope, then, is an openness, a curiosity, a receptivity, and an optimism about how things are going to reveal themselves, because you are certain that the optimizing thrust of reality moves toward harmony and fulfillment. Even putting it in this way makes the hope sound too specific—it is just an open optimism about life.
Source: A. H. Almaas, Facets of Unity, page 98
I originally intended for this page to be a curation of my favorite Enneagram resources, but I discovered that I had much of my own to contribute (Strengths, Weaknesses, Personal Growth). In fact, soon I found myself actually writing a book! It's still a work in progress.
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"I met Russ at a Diamond Approach event, which eventually led to me working for the Enneagram Institute for 3 years. During that time, I received multiple trainings from Russ and we made the below video together, which I've transcribed for the Spirituality section. You can follow Russ on Twitter, which is where he posted the info that I reproduced in the Instinctual Variants section."
"I had lunch with Elizabeth Wagele a few times and we were planning to collaborate on a project. But sadly it never happened because she passed away a short time later. 😔 She wrote what is probably the most popular Enneagram book of all time, The Enneagram Made Easy. It's been translated into 17 languages! While it's not perfect, this is a great book for beginners, and makes ample use of cartoons so that even children can enjoy it. The Parenting section of this page comes from her book, Enneagram of Parenting.
"Nick was one of the first people to become certified to teach the Enneagram by the Enneagram Institute in 1992. When I first began studying the Enneagram over 15 years ago, Nick's type descriptions were my favorite on the internet. I've reproduced parts of them here for the Nine with Eight Wing and Nine One Wing sections. Back then, he published them on a whimsical website that he called Curiosity Junction. His new website is called Intuitive Enneagram, which you can visit for his full type descriptions. Nick offers an Enneagram Discovery Retreat at the Willowspring retreat center in northwest Oregon."
"I consider A. H. Almaas one of the greatest spiritual teachers of all time. That's why I joined his inner work school and I've been a student of his Diamond Approach for 13 years. The Holy Ideas part of the Spirituality section of this page comes from the book, Facets of Unity, which goes into the different non-dual perspectives of unity that the Enneagram reveals. This is an advanced spiritual teaching for those looking to deepen their understanding of unity consciousness."
"Ginger is no fan of Enneagram tests but she has been recommending my Enneagram test for a few years now. She's been teaching the Enneagram for decades around the world and now she trains coaches. Ginger recently published an excellent book on the Art of Typing (which I've excerpted in the Typing section, but there's much more in the book).
"David Daniels cofounded The Narrative Enneagram with Helen Palmer and was clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University Medical School for over 30 years. He passed away on 2017 and you can watch a memorial video made by Suzanne Dion. The Love and Relationships section on this page comes the Enneagram Relationships Matrix on David's website."