PERSONALITY . Erasmus ....... Erasmus 'n Kinkajou Erasmus n Kinkajou "the enneagram Three "3" "

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KinkajouKinkajou: So what is the next Enneagram Types?

Erasmus Erasmus: The Enneagram types are numbered one to nine. I’ll briefly summarize what I believe to be some of their characteristics in the Ennegenes (enneagram gene) model. Now remember, other authors may have a slightly different point of view, because my view is based on what I believe the underlying genetics of the people involved are. If you have a particular gene, you will act in a way that a particular gene will program for you.

The enneagram Three: Workers, competitors, often image minded except if self-pres. A three has gene characteristics of all the other enneagram types. So their behaviour can at times mirror that of many of the other types.

Man Busy At Work Man Busy at work. The Chinese have a reputation as workers.


“Threes” are one of the power types of the Enneagrams. They have as much strong spirit as an “eight” but they go about it very differently. “Eights” will rush in where angels fear to tread: bulldozers. Threes will watch, observe, become comfortable with the dynamics of a situation and then begin to power on. If they have a fault, it is the tendency to develop their views based on the views of people around them. So they may sometimes seem to have no centre, no core.

KinkajouKinkajou: Tell me about your Enneagram type, Erasmus.

Erasmus Erasmus: My personality type is a “self- pres” “three”.

And I wouldn’t want to be anyone else.

Builder Threes enjoy getting it done: just like our builder here.

“Threes” have a work orientation. They like to work, to do and to achieve. The genotype theory says a few other things about what a “three” may be. The theory suggests that “threes” possess at least one of the genes of each of the personality types. They are a genetic mix of all the genetic elements. They can in different circumstances look like many of the others, earning the nickname, The Chameleon. This multi gene inheritance means that they can imitate the behaviours of any of the other enneagram types at different times.


They can do obsessively careful like a “one”, but usually their energy drives them to do the “one” thing with a lot more energy or speed than a true “one”. They can be thoughtful like a “six”. Cynicism and sarcasm can be second nature to a “three” and to a “three’s” perspective. Due to their, “six” genes, they enjoy relaxing and thinking and often ponder as to what is behind what’s going on.  They can live in their heads, a dream world of their own making. They can be energetic like a “seven”, but with a much greater tendency to complete and follow up a  task to conclusion even if there is a bit of pain, unlike a true seven”.

Accepting Pain in Work: soldier from the future: Terminator   Accepting Pain in Work: soldier from the future: "Terminator".

The behaviour can in fact be very chameleon like and can be modified to fit into many different social groups. This can make them seem to be a bit inconsistent. They also have a lot less core or central purpose than say an “eight” They learn core values from people around them and take on values that are often popular in these groups. An “eight” knows what he wants, knows how to get it and lets nothing and no person get in the way. They obtain these values from somewhere deep inside, seemingly from nowhere. “Threes” may indeed often have no opinion on a topic. An “eight” will almost always have an opinion on a topic, even if they know next to nothing about it. “Threes” tend to look, to learn and then form an opinion.

I remember as a young student, I always used to be amazed at the strong definite opinions of a girl in my group. She always seemed so in the know, so informed and so knowing. It took me years to realize that she had no more idea than I did. She just had a lot more definite opinions than I did about many issues about which I / she knew little.

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Beach Athlete working at itBeach Acrobat working at Play-
threes work in play.

KinkajouKinkajou: Again, the magic of the enneagram types in action.

Because of this lack of core values or core decisiveness, and their ability to mimic behaviour often innately and without thinking, some people see “threes” as self-serving and two faced. This is especially more prominent in “sexual” or “social” “threes” who compete for and crave the approval or adulation of their peers.

“Threes” do need to have an exposure to a number of significant others and to other ideas, so they can develop a core sense of values, a sense of who they are, what they stand for and what they want to be. It is far too easy for a “three” to go with the flow and to bend with the wind.


“Threes” are one of the power types of the enneagram. They have just as much drive, direction and energy as “eights”, but they approach the issue of leadership in a very different way. “Threes” can indeed can be quite aggressive and pushy. But their drive is very different form that of an “eight”. An “eight” will step fearlessly forward to lead, neglecting changes and circumstances and people. A “three” will stand, watch, learn, risk assess and in specific circumstances will push forward. Once they decide to get going and have decided to do so, they can be as bloody minded as an “eight”, but usually there has been a lot more consideration before the direction is set.

Far too little is mentioned on the effect of personality subtypes on the behaviour of the individual enneagram types. Most enneagram examples talk about “social” “threes”. The “self-pres three" reared in a “self- pres” family can be a very different animal. There is a lot less optimism, a different need for social adulation: more a need for survival. This completely changes the colour of what the enneagram personality looks like.

Anyone with a social bent, looks a lot more “sevenish”. The optimism and the knowledge that all will go well, tends to lend itself to behaviours that exude confidence and speed. Social threes often look more “sevenish” than you would expect from a pure enneagram type perspective.

KinkajouKinkajou: “Social” subtypes give a very significant favour to the enneagram types. It probably is not that important o many of us who we are. I imagine that we all cleave towards lives that suit our particular enneagram types and get the most reward doing that with which we are most comfortable, which usually reflect our enneagram behaviour.

Erasmus Erasmus: Insightful, Grasshopper!

The strong wise Grandfather: the ultimate Three image. The strong wise Grandfather: the ultimate Three image.

KinkajouKinkajou: So what can you tell us about your experiences with threes?

Erasmus Erasmus: I think one of the unique experiences of my life, has been in working with a three. I was doing a building project and  had an employee who I believe was a three. It is an incredible experience to have somebody on the same page as you.

They hurry up to just the right extent. They are careful to just the right extent. They think ahead and get things that are needed for a job, which may be more than you had initially thought might be necessary. At the end of the day they walk around checking the site for lost or misplaced tools. They are single-minded in their pursuit (focus)  of the work task, but work in well with others adapting from minute to minute. You can rely on them to be thinking what our next steps need to be in  progressing  a task, and in seeing tasks that have not yet been defined, but that can be seen to be next on the horizon.

Image Oriented - a three trait Image self consciousness is a social three trait esp.

I’ll use an example from a person who I think is not an enneagram three to illustrate.

 A building acquaintance was installing a stud wall. He required a screw. His helper went off and retrieved a screw for him. He then required a drill to drive the screw. She went and retrieved the drill. He then required a Phillips head driver on the drill to drive the screw. She went to look for the Phillips head driver bit. The stud was drilled in improperly, and required a hammer to adjust and straighten. She went to look for a hammer. He then required another screw. She went and retrieved another screw. After this he required another screw. She went and retrieved this as well.

 My building acquaintance and I were ready to kill our assistant at this stage. This is not male versus female criticism. This is enneagram criticism based on the personality of the person. I have had some excellent female workers over the years and many excellent male workers as well. But some people are totally incapable of thinking ahead – perhaps the serotonin gene responsible- or more likely the lack thereof.

I suppose it is possible that any personality type of the enneagram can have the same experience, with their own personality type, and in many different environments. Do enneagram ones working with enneagram ones find a unique consanguinity of process? Your own experiences may tell. I can’t leave my own perspective that much.

On a lighter note, I have had friends who have found someone to share a rental house with. They tell me what an awesome experience is to find someone who has the toilet paper the same way on the holder roll as they do. To find someone whose ideas of tidiness in the kitchen are uniquely compatible with theirs. To find someone who pays their bills at just the right time and considers how their actions and needs impact on others. Unfortunately ,the much more common experience – is that there are always a few issues in sharing while renting houses for accommodation. Sometimes- more than just a few.

KinkajouKinkajou: I wonder if that person in-house with whom one is sharing rental, getting everything right, is an example of an enneagram three?

A couple working at walking A couple working at walking

Erasmus Erasmus: Hmmm? Perhaps just so. But I don’t think so. I don’t think there is a gene that tells you to put the toilet paper right side up or upside down. But perhaps there is a gene that makes you a folder or a scruncher. (One) Perhaps there is a gene that makes you lie neatly in bed as opposed to adopting the starfish mode in sleeping. (One). There probably isn’t a gene that makes you sleep on the left-hand side of the bed versus the right-hand side of the bed. And these are all part of the human milieu when sharing accommodations.

Working at War Soldiers working at War.

The Three work ethic : aussies at war  The Three work ethic :
Aussies at war


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