The Perfectionist (Enneagram 1) is a tireless advocate for fairness and justice. Ones envision a better future which benefits and betters everyone, as they believe their overarching mission is to provoke change in the world. Extremely driven by an inner idealism and a sense of what’s possible, Ones prefer to break free from others’ expectations on what to do. They are typically organized, proactive, and independently-driven.
Hard work comes naturally to Ones—and they often find themselves wondering why others are “lazy” or unmotivated. When they relax, they regularly ponder about the consequences of their actions (and if they’ve lived in accordance with their convictions). As people of passion, Ones will do whatever they can to stay true to their set-in-stone principles—even if it means resisting their instincts, particularly anger.
Pragmatic and often very good with money, Perfectionists seek closure and structure in their lifestyles and plans. They take pride in following their schedules to a tee, and organize each day with a sense of purpose. As lovers of planners and all things tidy, Perfectionists go great lengths to create a functional and seamlessly organized life, whether that be in the form of automated money management or a meticulous morning and nighttime routine.
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Table of contents
- The Enneagram Type One – The Perfectionist
- A Quick Overview of the Enneagram 1 Type:
- Common Values of the One:
- Enneagram 1 Behavior Under Healthy Levels:
- Enneagram 1 Behavior Under Normal Levels:
- Enneagram 1 Behavior Under Unhealthy Levels:
- Popular Occupations:
- Common Hobbies:
- Quotes From Famous Enneagram Type Ones:
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
The Enneagram Type One – The Perfectionist
A Quick Overview of the Enneagram 1 Type:
- Part of the Body Triad (along with Enneatypes Eight and Nine)
- Can have a Nine or Two wing: 1w9 or 1w2
- Nicknamed ‘The Perfectionist’
- Ego Fixation: Resentment
- Vice: Anger
- Virtue: Serenity
- Integrates into the Seven (The Enthusiast) under growth
- Disintegrates into the Four (The Individualist) under stress
- Basic Fear: Being evil, corrupt, or defective
- Basic Desire: To be righteous, virtuous, and have integrity
Values are the core beliefs that make up the most important aspects of life. They have a strong influence over important decisions, especially during critical times, when standing between a fork in the road.
Common Values of the One:
- Hard work
- “Service above self”
The Enneagram model of personality identifies three distinct levels of health for each type: healthy, normal, and unhealthy.
Under healthy levels of growth, Ones integrate into the direction of the Seven, become more accepting, and let their inner child out to play. They meet unexpected possibilities and alternatives with confidence and have the will to adjust to uncertainty accordingly. They also become more affable and allow themselves to simply experience and enjoy life. After a period of growth, Ones learn how to tap into the moment and accept what is, without feeling personally responsible to change it.
As they begin to grow toward the Seven, Ones might feel uncertain or anxious. It feels as if they’re losing the hallmarks of their “personality.” They’re often afraid they’re “wrong” just by relaxing. It’s important for Ones to steer clear from fear—and reassure themselves that being more flexible won’t deem them as “bad”, or eventually lead to failure. Quieting the inner critic inside them is a lifelong struggle for this type, which gradually becomes easier with practice.
At average levels, Ones protect their ego’s interests and try to live up to high internal standards of “right” and “wrong”. They’re typically organized and perfectionistic, and go to great lengths to avoid making mistakes or falling back into destructive habits. This can result in intense and strict diet or exercise regimens. Ones believe in teaching, advocating for, and taking up the causes of social issues or the needs of their families.
Repressed anger is one of the hallmark characteristics of average or unhealthy Ones. They cling to a real or imagined sense of self-control at all times; a belief that each moment should be productive. This anger can bubble up inside, and leads to a fear of “blowing up”. Instead of erupting with rage, their anger comes out indirectly, through judgments and criticism. Ones remind others of the rightness of their viewpoints by evaluating the world and seeing many aspects that need “fixing”. While they can appear self-righteous, Ones tend to be their own worst critics.
Under unhealthy levels of stress, Ones disintegrate toward the direction of the Four, and become more moody and self-absorbed. Typically, Ones are notorious for denying their personal temptations, and easily resist causing potential damage to their mental or physical health. However, under extreme stress, they will “give in” and succumb to their lower impulses of the id. At this stage, Ones immerse themselves in fantasies and visions of a utopian world; a perfect partner; uninhibited desires—and experience a tremendous level of guilt and shame afterward. They can also be overly harsh and critical of others, ignoring their own faults and becoming obsessed with the faults of others.
When Ones stress toward the Four, they appear more melancholic, withdrawn, and resentful. They may also become less persistent and strict in following their own rules. Rather than moving forward in their personal mission(s), they become more self-absorbed and prone to self-destructive habits. During this perplexing and emotionally-straining period, they explore their self-identity (albeit haphazardly) in the form of melodramatic writing, existential crises, or unhealthy attachments to people and ideologies.
Enneagram 1 Behavior Under Healthy Levels:
- Extraordinarily organized and focused
- Clear and developed set of morals and values
- Willingness to see different perspectives
- Focused and motivated to make a difference
- Helpful and receptive to feedback
Enneagram 1 Behavior Under Normal Levels:
- Perfectionistic and overworked
- Rigid and stubborn in beliefs and ways of living
- Desire to be seen as a “good” person
- Compares self to others; reinforces how well life is lived according to high self-standards
- Acutely aware of how actions align with these
Enneagram 1 Behavior Under Unhealthy Levels:
- Use of overly sardonic and biting sarcasm
- Failure to see the optimistic side(s) of an issue
- Increased melancholic disposition
- Argumentative and high-strung
- Obsessive-compulsive tendencies
When it comes to vocational preferences, Ones gravitate toward careers where they can be of service to the local and larger community, often driven by a mission far greater than themselves.
- Financial Advisor
During down time, Ones aim to better the lives of others by offering their own skills and energy. Their hobbies revolve around providing service to the community and their organization(s).
Many well-known politicians throughout history were Ones in the Enneagram. Ones are often spotted in positions of power, which can make them seem particularly Eight-like on the surface—one of the most common mistypes in the Enneagram.
Quotes From Famous Enneagram Type Ones:
- “In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
- “As long as poverty, injustice, and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.” – Nelson Mandela
- “Changes and progress very rarely are gifts from above. They come out of struggles from below.” – Noam Chomsky
- “Revenge is an act of passion; vengeance of justice. Injuries are revenged; crimes are avenged.” – Samuel Johnson
More Enneagram Type One Resources:
About the Author: Lily Yuan is a personality psychology writer who has a knack for just missing the bus. She tests as INTP 5w4 and constantly questions her type. Learn more at www.lily-yuan.com or follow her on Twitter @LilyYuanWrites.
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