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Enneagram Type 3

Enneagram Type 3


Type 3 is characterized by ambition, a groomed self-image, and a fixation with success. They can be brilliant socialites and performers and tend to focus on status. Type 3 is extremely driven and achieving success in their goals is paramount. In fact, it is this dogged determination to do or become whatever is needed to achieve their goal that can lead them to lose track of what is actually true for them. This leaves Type 3 extremely vulnerable to self-deception and to unhelpfully deprioritizing things that are not useful to their goal or their project of creating the ideal self-image.

At healthy levels, Type 3 embraces their value and exudes authenticity, brilliant competence, and generosity of heart. They can inspire others with their outstanding achievements and their grace, charm, and effectiveness. Going beyond healthy levels and into the liberated form, Type 3 carries the direct, expansive wisdom of what it means to be a realized human. 


Character Traits & Descriptions 

Adapted from the work of Russ Hudson and Claudio Naranjo

The Achiever - "The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious" -Russ Hudson

Success Through Appearances – living for the eyes of others (self-image), concern with appearances, striving for achievement and success, social brilliance or performance, cultivated sexual attractiveness, deceptive emotional experience (believing in what they sell).. - Claudio Naranjo

Pathways to Essence 

Adapted from Keys to the Enneagram and Facets of Unity by A.H. Almaas

Essential Endowment: Personal Essence

Personal essence is experienced as a rounded, full, brimming presence; it is the essence of being personal, including and beyond the stories that comprise our personal connections and narratives. It is the fundamental ground of the soul enfleshed and on a developmental journey–the ultimate, nonconceptual, and direct understanding of what it is to be human. This profound sense of being a person can, through active maturation processes, manifest as a capacity for pure, simple connection with others, direct insight into the nature of being a person, and as exceptionally effective, efficient, and exemplary ways of existing in the world. Embodying personal essence is the true success story in the spiritual adventure of being human.

To learn more about Personal Essence, you can explore the "Keys to the Enneagram" course or the chapter on Point 3 in A.H. Almaas’ book Keys to the Enneagram.

Ego Ideal & Avoidance: Type 3 idealizes feeling and appearing competent in the avoidance of feeling like a failure or feeling hopeless.

Passion: Lying – Deceiving self and others about what is truly real.

Virtue: Veracity – Devotion to the truth, the power to convey or perceive truth.

Holy Idea: Holy Harmony / Law / Hope – "The Holy Idea for Point Three is Holy Hope, Holy Law, or Holy Harmony. Holy Hope is the perception that because all that happens is the functioning of a benevolent reality, things naturally move in the right direction. There is trust that the natural unfoldment of the universe functions according to inherently optimizing laws, and so things evolve correctly; therefore, you don’t need to take matters into your own hands to make them happen. There is an implicit hope, rather than a hoping that the right things will happen."- Facets of Unity, ch. 9. See also chapters 14 and 19.

Specific Delusion: Separate Doer – Belief in a separate and independent doer, that one can act and achieve independently from the rest of the universe.

Specific Difficulty: Helplessness – Feeling helpless and a sense of incompetence and failure.

Specific Reaction: Striving – Ego activity, inner and outer. Efforting – achieving, doing and succeeding

Dynamic Core Elements

Adapted from the work of Sandra Maitri

Ego Trap: Efficiency – Projecting inefficiency onto others, believing they can do things faster and better.

Anti-Self Action: Self-imaging – Attempting to master the perfect image, shaping the soul into an image.

Ego Lie: Self-deception – Not knowing where the truth ends and the lie begins.

Defense Mechanism: Identification – Reproduction of behaviors observed in others.

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