Break Out Of The Box

The Ultimate Guide To Personal Development

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Three Motivational Styles

(based on the theories of David C. McClelland) Each of us draws from all three motives, but one will be predominant and may reinforce the person’s habitual way of operating. Employees will initially respond best to the appro...

The Problem of Anxiety

Fifty years have passedsince I started living in those dark townsI was telling you about.Well, not much has changed. I still can’t figure outhow to get from the post office to the swings in the park.,Apple trees blossom in t...

The Stranger

After a Guarani legend recorded by Ernesto Morales One day in the forest there was somebodywho had never been there beforeit was somebody like the monkeys but tallerand without a tail and without so much hairstanding up and walkin...

The Portrait

My mother never forgave my fatherfor killing himself,especially at such an awkward timeand in a public park,that springwhen I was waiting to be born.She locked his namein her deepest cabinetand would not let him out,though I could...

Break Out of the Box

It’s only a matter of moments before our time on earth is over. Ask “What is my Work?” Pay attention fiercely, compassionately, and playfully to the deeper patterns of your life. 

Circle of Concern – Circle of Influence

Of all the good suggestions in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Habit 1: Be Proactive” is particularly useful when you feel powerless against life’s forces. Covey recommends examining what you can do instead of focusing on worries over which you have no control. First notice all your concerns. Then, among those concerns, determine where you can take action:

Think of ways to be more proactive and address the things you can do something about. Your circle of influence will enlarge and your circle of concern will shrink:

Covey distinguishes between the have’s (“If only I had…”) and the be’s (“I can be…”). Focusing on what you don’t like is disempowering. Focusing on what you can do is proactive and empowering. “Be part of the solution,” Covey suggests, “not part of the problem.”

MBTI and Enneagram – Their Relationship and Complementary Use
Tom Flautt and John Richards (with permission)

Origin and Rationale

Originally the Enneagram was taught by secret oral tradition. At first it was used forspiritual development. More recently it has “gone public” with numerous books, workshops, and applications. Is this a lasting important typology, or is it merely the typology of the moment? In some ways people who use the Enneagram are similar to those who developed MBTI. There is great enthusiasm, new applications are being developed, new publications are being offered, and the first international conference was held in 1995, with over 1000 participants. In other ways it is very different.

Why do we need another typology system, particularly one built on a system of 9 types? The hypothesis which seems to fit the two systems is that each system measures a different part of our mental apparatus which Jung calls the psyche. MBTI appears to be concerned with the conscious, cognitive part of the psyche, while the Enneagram is focused on unconscious, motivating forces in the depths of the psyche, perhaps associated with its archetypal structure. The two systems come at the psyche in two contrasting ways.

The MBTI starts with the assumption that there are four sets of fundamental choices, E/I, S/N, T/F, J/P, each of which are equally good. The description for each of the 16 types is presented in mostly a positive light. There is an emphasis on goodness: different styles and patterns, but the overall focus is on positive attributes. Only after one has learned the basic system does attention go to the negative attributes of a personality, for example, when in the grip of the inferior function.

The early teachers of the Enneagram started with a consideration of negative behavior. In fact some related the different styles to the “Seven Deadly Sins” of the Christian tradition plus two additional “Sins” of Deceit and Fear. The learner may be asked to choose their chief fault, which lies at the basis of their life script. In Jungian terms, it’s as though how we structure our Shadow archetype describes the underlying motives of our life. Enneatype descriptions can range from extremely healthy (noble or altruistic) to extremely unhealthy (psychotic).

Theory of the Enneagram: Centers of Intelligence

The nine different Enneagram types arise from a consideration of three centers of intelligence: the Head, the Heart, and the Gut (or Instinct). These may be thought of as the basic “functions” for the Enneagram. It’s been suggested that they correspond to three parts of the brain which represent evolutionary stages: the reptilian, the early mammalian, and the late mammalian. The Instinctual center consists of action processes (doing, being active or passive, power). The Heart center consists of relational processes (caring, loving, influencing, accepting, rejecting, affiliation, affects). The Head center is the home of the mental processes; for example, the Jungian functions of Thinking, Feeling, Sensing, and Intuiting.

Functional levelthinking & reflectingaffecting & being affectedinstincts & habits
Other namesintellectual, thinking, doing centeremotional, feeling centerinstinctive, moving, or vital center
Processto step back from reality as perceived and to reconstruct it according to some pattern or meaningway of experiencing personal encounter with othersconcerned with being, moves spontaneously, often in relationship to an external stimulus
Inner experienceexperience being reflective and to act with considerable deliberationto experience a personal encounter with others (or one’s self)–to be aware of motivationsexperience of being in one’s body and letting one’s body react to a present situation
Attitude on entering a gatheringHow does this all fit together?Are you going to like me or not?Here I am; deal with me!
Time focusfuturepresentpast

Each center can not only act for itself, but also take the place of another function. This gives each center a certain autonomy. In the Enneagram personality types, the ego consciousness has chosen a particular center as the way to be a person to the detriment of the functioning of the other two processes. This results in an imbalance in functioning as a human being. Ideally the three centers are used interdependently with each center used for its own functioning in any given situation. This amounts to accepting one’s whole human essence; no one center predominates by regularly substituting its functioning for that of one or both of the other centers. To choose one center as the way to express personality disrupts the inner harmony of energy, narrows down the experience of being a person and creates an imbalance or awkwardness. Instead of dwelling in each of the centers according to what’s appropriate in the circumstances and using their mutual functioning like a team, the ego consciousness causes people to identify with some one center and to make its functioning predominate as the way to experience life and be themselves. [This probably happens because it’s difficult or impossible to develop more than one center at a time. A choice must be made as consciousness is developed in the young child. The situation would be similar to the hypothesis that one of the Myers-Briggs functions is developed first: the dominant function.]

Each of the three centers has three Enneagram types associated with it. The Gut center ispreferred by Enneatypes 8,9,1; the Heart center is preferred by Enneatypes 2,3,4; the Head center is preferred by Enneatypes 5,6,7.

From the Centers to the Types

We can get to the final differentiation of the 9 types by considering another principle of separation: the three personality stances first described by Karen Horney. In her system, there are three groups of people, those who are assertive (moving against people), those who are compliant (moving towards or dealing with people), and those who are withdrawn (moving away from people). In each of the Centers, there is one type corresponding to each of these three preferences. For example in the Head center, 7 represents assertive, 6 compliant, and 5 withdrawn types:

Enneagram Type Descriptions

  1. Reformer: rational idealistic type; reasonable, principled, orderly, perfectionist and self-righteous.
  2. Helper: caring, nurturing type; concerned, generous, well-meaning, possessive, and manipulative.
  3. Motivator: success-oriented, pragmatic type; adaptable, ambitious, goal-oriented, image conscious,
    and arrogant.
  4. Individualist: sensitive, withdrawn type; intuitive, artistic, aesthetic, self-absorbed, and depressive.
  5. Thinker: cerebral analytic type; perceptive, original, innovative, provocative, and eccentric.
  6. Loyalist: committed, traditionalistic type; engaging, responsible, hardworking, cautious, and anxious.
  7. Enthusiast: hyperactive, uninhibited type; enthusiastic, accomplished, versatile, excessive, and manic.
  8. Leader: powerful, dominating type; self-confident, decisive, challenging, authoritative, and combative.
  9. Mediator: easygoing, phlegmatic type; receptive, optimistic, complacent, tolerant, and disengaged.

Correlation Data Between MBTI and Enneagram Typologies

A research study was undertaken using members of the APT. This group was chosen because it was thought they had a good understanding of their own MBTI type. An instrument for sorting Enneatypes developed by John Richards was sent to over 1500 people in response to our article in the Bulletin of Psychological Type. The results here represent responses from 964 people. The correlation of MBTI and Enneagram types was measured using a SRTT program developed by CAPT. This program calculates selection ratios (I) and identifies those which are statistically significant. A summary of the correlation data is presented below.

Enneagram TypeNumber in GroupAssociated MBTI Types(I)I > 1 and p £ .05Associated Preferences & Temperaments
1-Perfectionist125ISTJ(3.2), ESTJ(2.6)I, S, T, J, SJ
2-Helper252ESFJ(2.8), ENFJ(2.7), ISFP(1.8), ESFP(1.8), ENFP(1.6), ISFJ(1.5)E,F
3-Performer42ENTJ (3.2), ENTP (3.2)E, T, NT
4-Individualist57INFP(5.1), INFJ(2.9)I,N,F,P,NF
5-Thinker152INTP(4.3), INTJ(3.7), ISTP(3.5), ISTJ(1.8)I,N,T,NT
6-Loyalist19ISFJ(6.1), ISTJ(1.8)I, S, J, SJ
7-Enthusiast53ESTP(4.6), ENTP(4.6), ENFP(3.1), ESFP(2.8)E, N, P
8-Leader62ESTJ(5.5), ENTJ(4.1)E,T,.J
9-Mediator33ISFP(9.1), INFP(3.8)I,F,P,SP

Some Generalizations for Relating the Enneagram and MBTI Data

  1. Each Enneagram Type can be correlated with several MBTI types and vice versa. 
  2. The relationship between the two personality systems is complex. Some Enneagram ego states are concentrated in one or two MBTI types. Others have a nearly equal distribution of the MBTI types. 
  3. Each system complements the other. 
  4. In describing Enneagram types it’s useful to take into account the various MBTI preferences; for example, Extraverted Fives, Thinking Fours, and Perceiving Ones.

Advantages and Limitations of Each Typology System and When to Use

The major advantages of the MBTI typology are 1) its origins are more clearly in line with accepted psychology (Jung and Myers-Briggs); 2) it uses a psychologically validated instrument; 3) it has well-developed applications, especially career counseling, management and team building; 4) powerful exercises have been developed to demonstrate the theory; 5) it’s widely accepted by counselors, business, and education. The disadvantages of this approach are 1) it’s complicated—many people report difficulty remembering each of the 16 type descriptions; 2) it measures the part of the psyche relating to consciousness and cognitive behavior, not motivations; 3) so many people have been exposed to Myers-Briggs typology, they think “been there, done that;” 4) the results of the instrument can be taken literally to label people.

The major advantages of the Enneagram typology are 1) it’s easier to remember the key motivations of 9 Enneatypes than the description of 16 Myers-Briggs types, 2) it’s a relatively new system that’s attractive because of its novelty, 3) self-development/personal growth is an integral part of the theory, 4) use for organizational development or team building brings a new perspective to these subjects, 5) it has been shown to be very engaging and helpful for people interested in spiritual development. The major disadvantages are 1) the origins come from obscure esoteric “teachers of wisdom” who’ve been secretive about this system, 2) there’s no common terminology or description for each of the 9 Enneagram types, 3) there’s no validated instrument.

Ideally speaking, both systems should be used to complement each other, enabling a better comprehension of the psyche. This approach might be used in situations where one is being counseled about personal development, or an in-depth study about relationships. However, in many cases it will be possible to use only one or the other because of pragmatic issues.


  • Baron, Renee and Elizabeth Wagele. The Enneagram Made Easy. San Francisco, CA. Harper SanFrancisco, 1994.
  • Baron, Renee and Elizabeth Wagele. Are You My Type, Am I Yours, San Francisco, CA. HarperSanFrancisco, 1995.
  • Beesing, Maria, Robert J Nogosek, and Patrick H. O’Leary. The Enneagram: a Journey of Self Discovery, Denville, NJ. Dimension Books, Inc., 1984.
  • Hurley, Kathleen V., and Theodore E. Dobson. What’s My Type?, San Francisco, CA: Harper San Francisco, 1992.
  • Palmer, Helen. The Enneagram: Understanding Yourself and Others in Your Life. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988.
  • Palmer, Helen. The Enneagram in Love and Work. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995.
  • Riso, Don R with Hudson, Russ. Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery, Revised Edition, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996.
  • Rohr, Richard and Andreas Ebert. Discovering The Enneagram. Crossroad Publishing Company, 1990.

 Comparison Of Myers-Briggs and Enneagram Typologies

OriginsJung–20’s, Myers & Briggs 40’s, Instrument 60’s.Gurdjieff, Ichazo, Naranjo–late 60’s
Number of Types169
DescribesMostly conscious behavior–4 components–Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/iNtuition, Thinking/Feeling, Judging/Perceiving.Attitudes and Behavior-relating to three centers–mental, emotional and instinctive
Character of Type DescriptionsMostly positive–stressing that each type has advantages and disadvantages which make each type of equal value.Healthy & Unhealthy attitudes and behaviors, traditionally focus on personality defects
Internal structure of the TypesEach type is composed of four sets of four bipolar choices.Each Type can be related to one of three “intelligences”, i.e. Head, Heart, Gut.
InstrumentMBTI overwhelmingly used–validated by psychological test criteriaSeveral–none validated using psychological testing criteria.
How taughtTheory, behavior descriptions, exercises, panelsDescription of behavior (positive & negative), traits and motives; panels
ApplicationsPersonal understanding, career counseling, management training most developed. Spirituality less developed.Personal understanding growth and spirituality most developed. Organizational and management training less developed
Growth pathGrowth path related to “balance” –development of less favored preferencesSpecific growth path part of theory
Development issuesCan work on preferences directly; development of less preferred functionsSuggestions based on healthy/unhealthy model, and going beyond personality
Degree of conscious controlMostly under conscious control, especially two favorite functionsDifficult to go “beyond personality” directly–to work on unconscious motives.
Spiritual issuesSome guidance for different types of prayer and worship services. Not as clear about interior practicesDealt with directly–model is based on “seven deadly sins” Meditation found to be useful for “going beyond personality”.
Origin of the Types in a particular individualPrimarily genetic–like handedness. The expression may be influenced by family and cultural environmentPrimarily genetic, with “health” determined from early childhood relationships
Key QuestionHow does a person behave?Why does a person behave in a certain way ?

Finding the Shadow in Everyday Life

William A. Miller, Chapter 7 in Meeting the Shadow, Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams (Eds.)

There are at least five effective pathways to gain insight into the composition of your shadow: (1) soliciting feedback from others as to how they perceive you; (2) uncovering the content of your projections; (3) examining your “slips” of tongue and behavior, and investigating what is really occurring when you are perceived other than you intended to be; (4) considering your humor and your identifications; and (5) studying your dreams, daydreams, and fantasies. 

Solicit Feedback from Others 

Soliciting feedback is one of the most effective ways to gain insight into your personal shadow. This can be threatening. People who are in the best position to help you are those who know you well. Suppose someone tells you they have perceived you as condescending. Accept that as their valid observation, even though it is difficult to hear. You may want to say, “What on earth are you talking about? That’s the last thing I want to be—condescending.” But this gives you a fairly substantial clue that you probably have just met a true shadow trait or characteristic. Any time we overstate being “for” or “against,” we may be in personal shadow territory. When you get this kind of feedback, go to one or more other people, asking them to be honest also. When two or more people independently tell you they perceive in you a common shadow trait, you would do well to believe them and explore their observations more deeply. 

Examine Your Projections 

Projection is an unconscious mechanism that we employ whenever a trait or characteristic of our personality that has no relationship to consciousness becomes activated. We observe and react to this unrecognized personal trait in other people. We make both negative and positive projections. Most of the time, however, it is the undesirable dimensions of ourselves that we see in others. The simplest method to examine projections is to list all the qualities you do not like in other people. When the list is complete, extract those characteristics that you especially dislike, even hate, loathe, or despise. This final list will be a fairly accurate picture of your personal shadow. Certainly not all your criticisms of others are projections, but any time your response to someone involves excessive emotion or overreaction, you can be sure that something unconscious has been prodded and is being activated. When we project positive traits onto others, especially without empirical evidence—such as in romance, these are traits of our own that, for whatever reason, we refuse to allow entry into our consciousness. Make a list of positive traits in others, and notice when you say, “Oh, I could never be like that!” These may well be part of your Golden Shadow. 

Examine Your “Slips” 

You can examine slips of tongue, slips of behavior, and misperceived behaviors. Slips of tongue are those unintentional misstatements that cause us no end of embarrassment. Shadow is, among other things, all that we would perhaps like to be, but wouldn’t dare. Comments such as, “That’s absolutely the last thing I wanted to say,” or “I can’t believe I said that,” and similar “apologies” demonstrate that while consciousness proposes, shadow often disposes. Slips of behavior are perhaps even more revealing. 

Sometimes there seems to be absolutely no explanation for “aberrant” behavior, behavior that seems totally alien to the generally perceived nature of someone, and all (including the person) are dumbfounded by the experience. Still another type of “slip” occurs when we are perceived other than we intend; for example if you want to be seen as congenial, only to be told that you come across as “sarcastic.” These are common experiences to all of us, and give us the opportunity to journey inward.  Boldly facing such “slips” will allow you not only to learn about your shadow, but may also in turn disallow these embarrassing, awkward, even destructive “slips.”

Consider Your Humor and Identification 

Most of us know that humor is often much more than meets the eye; in fact, what is said in humor is often a manifestation of shadow truth. People who strongly deny and repress shadow generally lack a sense of humor and find very few things funny. We know that it is very bad taste to delight in another’s pain or misfortune, and yet we find the antics of a person on ice skates for the first time to be exceedingly funny. The humor of these situations evokes laughter as the repressed sadism in us finds expression. We may frequently observe the magnitude and intensity of shadow at a sports event, particularly a contact sport. Behavior that would probably result in fines and imprisonment in any other setting is appropriate, possibly encouraged, and even applauded. At a professional wrestling match a group of elderly women were quite “normal” until the wrestlers stepped into the ring, when they stood up, shook their fists, and shouted, “Kill that no-good, lousy bum!”  Expression of shadow aggression was the order of the day. 

Study Your Dreams, Daydreams, and Fantasies 

When shadow appears in your dreams it appears as a figure of the same sex as yourself. It may also appear as an indistinguishable form you intuitively fear and want to escape.  We need to observe its actions, attitudes, and words (if any). We may want to deny that we indulge in daydreams or fantasies, but the truth is that we spend more time at it than we care to realize. Where does our mind go, what images invade our thoughts? Daydreams and fantasies can be so contrary to the persona we wear that they may even frighten us. We typically don’t admit them to others. But in denying their existence we miss yet another opportunity to know ourselves. For in our fantasies and daydreams we discover thoughts, plans, schemes, and dream that we are unable to accept on a conscious level. These are often fantasies of violence, power, wealth, sexual acting out, and achievement of the impossible.

For Found Poem Examples: Pulitzer Remix

Found Poem Exercise:
(from Getting the Knack: 20 Poetry Writing Exercises,
by Stephen Dunning and William Stafford; excerpted from pages 3-5)

A nice thing about “found” and “headline” poems: you don’t start from scratch … You find interesting, ordinary “prose” …  Plenty of strong and beautiful poems are made from plain language … So, poems hide in things you and others say and write … This exercise is about keeping your ears and eyes alert to the possibilities in ordinary language …

Find from fifty to one hundred words you like …

Copy in the sequence in the language you found. Double space between lines so it’s easy to work with.

Study the words you found. Cut out everything that’s … unnecessary … Try to cut your original find in half … Change punctuation if you need to … adding your own words to the found words is “illegal” … (but) when you’re close to an edited-down version, and you truly need to add a word or two — to smooth things out, to make sense, to make a point — you may add up to two words of your own … Make other little changes, too — tenses, possessives, plurals, punctuation, and capitalizations.

Read your cut-down draft one more time … Put the words into your notebook, spacing or arranging them so they’re poem-like. (Sometimes you’ll put key words at the ends or beginnings of lines. Sometimes, for interest or surprise, you may want to break up words that often “go together”…)

At the bottom of the poem, say where you found the original.

Holy Ideas

According to A.H. Almaas, in Facets of Unity: The Enneagram of Holy Ideas, each Enneagram style is an egoic perspective resulting from loss or absence of the enlightened perception of one of the Holy Ideas:

“Each Holy Idea is a view of reality which reflects an understanding of the wholeness and unity of the world or universe, of human beings, and of the functioning of reality… While perceiving the world through all of the fixations, each individual will perceive the world most strongly through the Holy Idea associated with his or her ennea-type. The fixated mental perspective of each is simply a blind spot, and the specific blindness is the lack of perception of the Holy Idea for that type.” 

These very brief excerpts from Facets of Unity give a glimpse of the Holy Ideas:

One – Holy Perfection, the recognition that Reality is inherently perfect, and we are part of that reality, so the purpose of working on ourselves cannot be to try to become better or to make our lives better.

Two – Holy Will, the awareness that Reality flows with a certain force, and the easiest way to deal with this force is to move with it.

Three – Holy Harmony, seeing that all experience is part of the great reality illuminated by the transcendent view. To stop striving, we need only to fully realize we are not separate doers, and spiritually surrender even though we may feel profound vulnerability, fragility, inadequacy, and weakness.

Four – Holy Origin, the perception and understanding that all appearance is nothing but the manifestation of Being; I am connected to Holy Origin and so is everyone and everything else.

Five – Holy Omniscience, which includes all that exists in its various manifestations, yet this diversity does not negate the fact of unity.

Six – Holy Faith, a matter of realizing that Being is the inner reality and inner truth of every human being.  To completely recognize Essence means to recognize the three qualities of satchitananda – it is a real presence, it is intrinsically good, and it is the way things are supposed to be.

Seven – Holy Plan, seeing there is a specific design to evolution and transformation and we don’t need to meddle with it; the Holy Work is letting ourselves trust and be in the present.

Eight – Holy Truth, which helps us understand what exists beneath the appearance of things.

Nine – Holy Love, the heart of truth, the quality of lovableness of reality when it is seen without distortion, rather than through the filter of the ego.



Three Motivational Styles

(based on the theories of David C. McClelland) Each of us draws from all three motives, but one will be predominant and may reinforce the person’s habitual way of operating. Employees will initially respond best to the appro...

The Problem of Anxiety

Fifty years have passedsince I started living in those dark townsI was telling you about.Well, not much has changed. I still can’t figure outhow to get from the post office to the swings in the park.,Apple trees blossom in t...

The Stranger

After a Guarani legend recorded by Ernesto Morales One day in the forest there was somebodywho had never been there beforeit was somebody like the monkeys but tallerand without a tail and without so much hairstanding up and walkin...

The Portrait

My mother never forgave my fatherfor killing himself,especially at such an awkward timeand in a public park,that springwhen I was waiting to be born.She locked his namein her deepest cabinetand would not let him out,though I could...