The Enneagram Type 1 (The Reformer)

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about Ennegram Type 1 archetypes. From definition of the ennegram, examples and why it is useful.

What is The Enneagram Type 1? (The Reformer)

Type One on the Enneagram is called ‘The Reformer’, named as such because they embody a sense of mission in everything that they do.

This sense of mission leads them to want to change the world for the better in any way within their remit.

In order to make a difference they will work to overcome the adversity which they face along the way, especially moral adversity, and seek to work towards higher values even when this can come at great cost to them individually.

How do Enneagram Type 1 individuals act?

Type one individuals are people of practical action and purpose who embody what they say in what they do, and desire nothing more than to be of use in the world.

Despite this strong sense of purpose, however, they feel that they need to justify their actions not only to others but to themselves on a regular basis.

As a result of this need for justification they spend a lot of their time thinking about the consequences of their actions and how they can ensure that they always act in a manner in line with the convictions they profess to extol.

As a result of this, type one individuals usually think of themselves as rational individuals who always act with logic and objective assessment of the truth behind their actions.

They do not see themselves as people of instinct and emotion. However, the reality is in fact the opposite – that they are individuals of instinct and passionate motivation who then seek a rationale with which they can justify the actions which they seek to take.

They use their beliefs, judgements and convictions to bring control and direction to the more emotional and instinctive aspects of the personality which exists within them.

Darkside of Enneagram Type 1 personalities

The need which type ones feel to resist their instinct and passionate tendencies means that they are determined not to give in to their natural desires or to express themselves in a free way.

This can lead the individual to suffer problems such as aggression, repression and resistance as they struggle with the true nature and desires within themselves.

Others will observe these tendencies within them, as well as a tendency to be highly self-control and even rigid, though the type one will not recognise this within themselves.

Essentially the ultimate goal of the type one person is to be ‘perfect’, or at least to appear so to those around them even as they battle with themselves underneath the surface.

They believe that this sense of perfection will allow them to justify their existence in the world to others and, should they believe in a higher being, to their God.

However, demanding such high standards of themselves can create an inner torment for them.

Enneagram Type 1 Growth

In order for a type one individual to grow they need to be able to master the following:

  • To get in touch with their feelings and impulses. Types ones are uncomfortable with these but being able to get in touch with them, understand that they are normal parts of human life and that others will not condemn them for it will help them grow.
  • Learn to relax more effectively. Type one individuals feel the weight of the world heavily, feeling a great sense of responsibility even where there is none and that should they ever fail that disaster will ensue. Learning to relax and embrace the fact that not not everything is their responsibility is very important to their mental and physical wellbeing.
  • Learn not to expect too much of others. Type ones can be great mentors and teachers for other people, but they have a tendency to expect too much of them and become angered if others do not immediately grasp concepts they are teaching or agree with them. Learning to accept that it may take others time to reach the same conclusions and that just because it does not happen immediately does not mean it never will is very important to this personality type.
  • Learn not to get so worked up about the wrongs of others or themselves. Type ones are terrible self-critics but they also get very vexed by the perceived misdoings of others. Learning to be less judgemental and critical of themselves and others is an important step in the development of the type one.
  • Type ones are very easily angered by what they perceive as the failure of other people to do the right thing and their anger can be so all encompassing that it alienates others from them, preventing them from learning the valuable good lessons which the type one has to offer. In order to develop type ones need to learn to understand the impact that their anger has on others and on their own health and to try to be more understanding of others around them as a result.

When a type one personality becomes unhealthy they start to focus on irrelevant matters and lose touch with reality.

They can begin to spiral into compulsion and obsession, judging and discrediting others as this helps them to shore up their own self-image.

Their temper becomes explosive when they feel they are being questioned or attacked.

Enneagram Type 1 Characteristics & Traits

  • Sense of mission
  • Desire to overcome adversity
  • People of practical action
  • Desire to be of use to the world
  • Strong sense of purpose
  • Need to justify their actions
  • Desire for perfection
  • Difficulty relaxing
  • Overwhelming sense of responsibility
  • Serious and straightforward in conversation
  • Frugal
  • Practical
  • Hardworking, diligent employees
  • Intense concentration
  • Rigid in plans and decisions
  • Critical
  • Judgemental
  • Passionate
  • Instinctive
  • Organised
  • Aggression
  • Repression
  • Resistance
  • Rigid
  • Self-controlled
  • Self-critical

Enneagram Type 1 Examples

There are numerous famous examples of type one personalities throughout history, including:

  • Plato
  • Joan of Arc
  • Sir Thomas More
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Prince Charles, Prince of Wales
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Rudy Giuliani
  • George Harrison
  • Katherine Hepburn
  • Emma Thompson
  • Jane Fonda
  • Captain “Sully” Sullenberger
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