It is useful here to briefly consider the personality (ego) type that we adopt. Whilst we are all different, we acquire traits and behaviours from those around us as we grow up, and lots of work has gone into classifying the different personality types that each of us tend to associate with as our default type. Exactly why a person adopts a certain personality type is not known. It looks like our parents play a large part in this (the Enneagram model includes this, showing how we relate to one or both or neither parents leads to us taking on certain personality traits). I’m listing some of the most common types below. Understanding your own personality type and the personalities of the others around you is really useful information for getting ahead in the world. But always remember that you are not the ego – it is a temporary thing we take on, and we can change it, and during a lifetime it can develop or diminish in importance. It doesn’t need to dominate us – we don’t all need to be like Donald Trump. A spiritually mature person would be able to use their personality when they need it, and drop it when they don’t.
I’m not going to go describe all these personality classification systems in detail. Check out the links below instead, and see what you discover about your own personality. This isn’t a complete list, but includes a number of the more common personality classification systems:
- Gurdjieff and personality, fourth way Enneagram
- Enneagram (developed from Gurdjieff’s earlier work)
- Social Styles (four quadrants, Amiable, Driver, Analytical, Expressive)
- Big Five (Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeability, Neuroticism)
- HEXACO (Ashton & Lee) – Honest/Humility, Emotionality, eXtraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, openness to Experience
- Edward de Bono Thinking Hats (Managing, Information, Emotions, Discernment, Optimism, Creativity)
- Belbin team types (Plant, Investigator, Co-ordinator, Shaper, Monitor Evaluator, Teamworker, Implementer, Finisher, Specialist)
You’ll see that a number of these are just different ways of looking at and categorising the same thing. Some people don’t like these personality models and say that they don’t have any scientific basis. That is partly true, though the Enneagram stands out from the others in that regard. Some people don’t like being boxed into a classification system, but some of these systems have capacity to described dozens if not hundreds of different personality types – and looking around us we do observe correlations between people’s behaviour and the systems described in these personality types.
Some of these models are more useful in certain situations. Thinking Hats and Belbin team types are often used in the work environment. The Enneagram and Myers-Briggs are useful in work and relationship situations. The Enneagram personality disintegration characteristics have been matched up with psychological disorders, so that a switched-on police officer in a negotiation situation, if able to quickly determine your personality type, would have a pretty good idea whether you were likely to kill yourself, kill others, or negotiate your way out.
Some of the main personality models are listed below.