Here's Why You Might Find The Enneagram Test More Helpful Than Myers-Briggs

Often when things seem uncertain it can be helpful to look inside oneself. For decades people have been using personality tests in an attempt to organize the multitudes contained within them. The Myers-Briggs test, arguably the most well-known of these, places you into four categories based on self-reported traits and behaviors.

But a perhaps more comprehensive test may just give the standby a run for its money. The Enneagram Test is a modern take on a test originally created by a man named Oscar Ichazo. But what is the Enneagram used for? According to the contemporary Enneagram Institute, at its inception, the test was used "as a way of examining specifics about the structure of the human soul and particularly about the ways in which actual soul qualities of Essence become distorted, or contracted into states of ego." Further, the Enneagram originally "drew upon a recurrent theme in Western mystical and philosophical tradition—the idea of nine divine forms." These nine divine forms would become the basic pillars of the assessment.

Rather than eight categories like the Myers-Briggs test, The Enneagram Test has nine basic types and 27 subtypes. The basic categories in descending order are the reformer, the helper, the achiever, the individualist, the investigator, the loyalist, the enthusiast, the challenger, and the peacemaker. Once one completes the test they find out their top three types (mine are the peacemaker, the individualist, and the loyalist.) The results are displayed in a geometric prism-looking figure; a unique aspect of the test. Per The Enneagram Institute, the intent of the test is to, "help us to see ourselves at a deeper, more objective level and can be of invaluable assistance on our path to self-knowledge."

If you are on the path to self-awareness, maybe the Enneagram can give you a nudge in the right direction.

Before you can use the full Enneagram to fully dissect your personality, the best place to start is with this most basic version of the test. In just a few minutes it will give you the top three categories to which you belong.

The coolest part about the Enneagram Test is just how much the placements allow you to do.

Where other tests may exclusively give you insight into how you think and behave, the Enneagram test may also give you guidance in your relationships. With 81 possible relationship combinations between the categories, there is a lot of behavior to analyze. Of course, just as the Enneagram Institute says, no two members of any given category are inherently destined for greatness or doomed. But, by taking the test, your partner and you may gain more insight into how you deal with conflict, or how you can better collaborate.

The test is also utilized by many businesses to help employees determine the ways in which they will be most productive. In the up-an-coming field of industrial and organizational psychology, the Enneagram is just one example of a personality assessment used to help members of a professional team maximize their productive potentials. I took a version of the test during a group dynamics class I was enrolled in while studying psychology in college.

Naturally, the complexities of a human being's personality, and the nuances of their behavior cannot be completely reduced to the categories of one simple test. You should view these assessments as a tool for learning more about yourself, but not allow the results to make you act in ways with which you are uncomfortable.

Though, I do have to say, from a personal standpoint the basic Enneagram test sized me up with a surprising level of accuracy in the mere minutes it took to complete. I bet it would do the same for you.