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Enneagram vs. Myers Briggs

Enneagram vs. Myers Briggs

Enneagram vs. Myers Briggs

When exploring the world of personality typing, you may come across two popular systems: Enneagram and Myers-Briggs.

These systems aim to help you understand yourself and others, but they approach personality in distinct ways. In order to harness their full potential, it’s essential for you to recognize the differences and similarities between the two.

At their core, Enneagram focuses on the development process and emphasizes personality types as a response to childhood experiences, while Myers-Briggs is rooted in the work of Carl Jung and considers personality type as something inherent. Understanding these basic distinctions can help you gain deeper insights into your own personality and the way you relate to others.

As you further explore Enneagram and Myers-Briggs, you’ll discover the unique benefits each system offers. While neither system is inherently “better,” you may find that one resonates with you more than the other. By considering both systems, you can build a comprehensive understanding of your personality and harness your strengths to thrive in various aspects of your life.

Enneagram Overview

The Enneagram is a personality typing system that focuses on understanding the underlying motivations behind human behavior, as well as providing insights into personal growth and development. In this section, we will explore the origins and history of the Enneagram, its nine distinct personality types, and its emphasis on growth and development.

Origins and History

The Enneagram’s origins can be traced back to various ancient wisdom traditions such as Sufism, Christianity, and Judaism. Academic study of the Enneagram gained momentum in the 20th century, led by figures like Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo. Over time, the Enneagram has evolved into a modern system that combines elements of psychology, spirituality, and personal growth.

Personality Types

The Enneagram system identifies nine distinct personality types, numbered from 1 to 9. Each type has its own unique set of motivations, fears, and desires. These are briefly outlined below:

  • Type 1: The Perfectionist – motivated by a desire for integrity and correctness.
  • Type 2: The Helper – motivated by a desire to feel loved and appreciated.
  • Type 3: The Achiever – motivated by a desire to be successful and admired.
  • Type 4: The Individualist – motivated by a desire for uniqueness and authenticity.
  • Type 5: The Investigator – motivated by a desire for knowledge and competence.
  • Type 6: The Loyalist – motivated by a desire for security and support.
  • Type 7: The Enthusiast – motivated by a desire for freedom and excitement.
  • Type 8: The Challenger – motivated by a desire for control and self-reliance.
  • Type 9: The Peacemaker – motivated by a desire for harmony and inner peace.

Growth and Development

One of the key aspects that sets the Enneagram apart from other personality systems is its emphasis on personal growth and development. The system encourages individuals to explore their own inner motivations and recognize their strengths and weaknesses. By understanding the underlying patterns of behavior, you can work towards self-improvement and achieve a healthier, more balanced life.

The Enneagram also provides insight into potential areas for growth within each personality type by identifying integration and disintegration points. These points highlight the more constructive and destructive tendencies of each type under different conditions, providing valuable guidance for personal development.

Myers-Briggs Overview

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a self-report inventory designed to identify various aspects of a person’s personality, preferences, and strengths. In this section, you will learn about the origins and history of Myers-Briggs, the various personality types it identifies, and the functions and preferences associated with each type.

Origins and History

Myers-Briggs is based on the work of Carl Jung, who proposed a theory of personality types. The mother-daughter team of Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers later developed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator based on Jung’s theories. Their goal was to help people understand themselves and others better, making it a popular tool in various fields like psychology, education, and career counseling.

Verywell Mind explains that the inventory ultimately became a common way for people to learn about their inherent characteristics and how they interact with the world around them.

Personality Types

There are 16 distinct Myers-Briggs personality types, each represented by a combination of four letters: Extrovert/Introvert (E/I), iNtuitive/Sensing (N/S), Thinking/Feeling (T/F), and Judging/Perceiving (J/P). These letters describe preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.

For example, an INFJ personality type would have the following traits: Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, and Judging. Each personality type presents a unique way of thinking, feeling, and interacting with the world.

Functions and Preferences

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator seeks to identify individuals’ dominant and auxiliary functions, which govern how they perceive information and make decisions. These functions are derived from the combination of their preferences in each of the four categories mentioned above.

As an example, consider the following breakdown:

  • Introverted Feeling (Fi) – reflects internally on emotions and values
  • Extraverted Feeling (Fe) – focuses outwardly on the emotions and values of others
  • Introverted Thinking (Ti) – uses logic and internal analysis to make decisions
  • Extraverted Thinking (Te) – utilizes logic and external information to make decisions

By understanding your Myers-Briggs personality type, you can gain insight into your unique strengths, weaknesses, and preferences, helping you better navigate both personal and professional relationships.

Key Differences

Approach to Personality

When it comes to understanding personality, Enneagram and Myers-Briggs take different approaches. The Enneagram system emphasizes behavioral patterns and instincts, while Myers-Briggs focuses on your innate cognitive functions(Trait Talk).

Furthermore, Enneagram has a strong emphasis on personal growth and development, addressing your motives and exploring your potentials. On the other hand, Myers-Briggs is more concerned with the intrinsic nature of your personality and aims to describe how you perceive and interact with the world(Enneagram Gift).

Typology System

The structure of each system is notably distinct. In the Myers-Briggs model, you will find 16 different personality types that stem from a combination of various cognitive function preferences(Best Enneagram Test). Meanwhile, the Enneagram comprises nine personality types and 27 subtypes, reflecting the complexities of individual motivations and relationships(Best Enneagram Test).

When Aren’t They Useful

Bear in mind, both systems have their limitations. Simplistic categorization of individuals can result in a lack of nuance and may fail to recognize the ongoing personal development one undergoes throughout life. Additionally, the risk of confirmation bias may prompt you to see yourself only through the lens of your perceived type, neglecting other aspects of your personality and growth.

Applications in Life and Work

The Enneagram system can be a powerful tool for self-improvement, helping you understand your motivators, triggers, and personal challenges. Using this insight, you can foster better relationships and facilitate personal growth(Personality Junkie). Myers-Briggs, on the other hand, can provide valuable insight into your cognitive preferences, leading to a deeper understanding of your personality foundations and natural strengths or weaknesses(Truity).

By applying these insights into your life and work, you can harness the unique gifts of both systems, leading to better self-awareness and communication with others. However, it’s crucial to remember that both systems should be used as complementary tools rather than solely defining your identity.

Accuracy of Assessments

When comparing the accuracy of Enneagram and Myers-Briggs assessments, it’s essential to understand their different approaches to describing personality. Enneagram focuses on motivation, emotion, and thought patterns, providing nuance when describing traits, while Myers-Briggs associates personality with an individual’s preferences, emphasizing cognitive functions for 16 types (Enneagram Vs Myers Briggs: 5 Helpful Differences Explained).

Though both assessments can provide valuable insights into one’s personality, it is hard to say which one is more accurate. The accuracy of the assessments may depend on the individual taking the test and their ability to provide honest and introspective answers. Furthermore, comparing their accuracy may not be entirely fair, as they focus on different aspects of personality and try to answer different questions.

Moreover, skeptics argue that personality tests like Myers-Briggs are not entirely accurate or scientifically valid since they’re based on self-report questionnaires (How Accurate Are Personality Tests? – Scientific American). It’s important to note that these assessments should be taken with a grain of salt and not as definitive descriptions of one’s personality.

In conclusion, Enneagram and Myers-Briggs assessments serve different purposes and cater to distinct aspects of personality. As a result, the accuracy of these assessments depends on the context in which you’re evaluating them.

Pros and Cons

Enneagram Strengths and Weaknesses

The Enneagram focuses more on the development process of each individual. This makes it a powerful tool for personal growth, as it helps you identify your core motivations and how they influence your behavior.

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One strength of the Enneagram is that it emphasizes a spectrum of healthy to unhealthy behaviors for each type. This allows you to recognize areas for improvement and develop more balanced traits within your personality.

On the other hand, a potential weakness of the Enneagram is its complexity. With nine types and various subtypes, it can be overwhelming for newcomers to grasp. Additionally, it might be less suited for workplace settings, as it delves into deep emotional and psychological aspects of personality.

Myers-Briggs Strengths and Weaknesses

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) focuses on the nature of personality, categorizing individuals into 16 distinct types based on their cognitive functions. This system offers valuable insights into how you process information, make decisions, and interact with others.

Some strengths of the Myers-Briggs include its wide application in various settings such as education, career development, and team building. It helps identify your strengths and weaknesses, offering a balanced approach to understanding your personality.

However, a notable weakness of the Myers-Briggs system is its tendency to be somewhat rigid, implying that personalities are fixed and unchanging. This can create limitations in personal growth and development, as it doesn’t necessarily focus on self-improvement.

Choosing the Right Tool

When deciding between the Enneagram and Myers-Briggs personality systems, it’s essential to consider your personal preferences, goals, and areas of growth. Each system offers unique insights, but one may be a better fit for your needs.

Personal Preference

The Enneagram focuses more on motivations and life purpose, highlighting the reasons behind your thoughts, feelings, and actions (Enneagram Explained). In contrast, Myers-Briggs emphasizes cognitive functioning and how you prefer to process information and interact with others (High5 Test). Reflect on which system’s approach resonates with you and provides the insights you’re seeking.

Goal Setting

For goal setting, consider which system better aligns with your objectives. If you’re searching for a deeper understanding of your motivations and life purpose, the Enneagram may be the better choice (High5 Test). If your goals include improving communication, teamwork, or career development, Myers-Briggs may offer more applicable insights (Personality Junkie).


Both systems can support personal growth. Yet, they differ in their approaches. The Enneagram highlights unhealthy behaviors and tendencies, providing a clearer path towards self-improvement (Truity). Myers-Briggs, on the other hand, offers a more balanced view by focusing on strengths and weaknesses for each personality type, giving you the opportunity to develop holistically (Truity).


In the end, both the Enneagram and Myers-Briggs personality systems offer valuable insights into your personality and can aid in your personal growth efforts. The Enneagram focuses on your core motivations and the development process, while Myers-Briggs centers around your cognitive functions, information processing, and interactions with others (source).

As you explore these two systems, it is essential to recognize that they complement rather than compete with one another. Combining the perspectives and techniques from each system can help you better understand yourself and uncover new ways to grow and connect with others.

To get the most out of both systems, consider taking both the Enneagram and Myers-Briggs tests, and invest time in exploring the nuances of your results. By doing so, you will gain a more comprehensive understanding of your personality, motivations, strengths, and potential areas for improvement.

Embrace the insights these systems have to offer and take steps to apply your newfound knowledge to your personal and professional life. Remember that self-awareness is an ongoing process, and as you continue to grow and evolve, your understanding of your personality will only deepen.

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