Recently on the podcast I record with my friends Frank and Jake, we talked about the Enneagram, both the benefits and the dangers.
I've written extensively here on my site about being an Enneagram 8.
I love the Enneagram. It's taught me a lot about myself. It's given me insights into how I cope with stress and behaviors that are compulsive for me.
However, it isn't without its downsides.
One of the biggest dangers of the Enneagram is confirmation bias.
What is Confirmation Bias?
Confirmation bias is a cognitive bias that refers to our tendency to seek out and interpret information in a way that confirms our pre-existing beliefs and assumptions.
It can have significant consequences in our lives, leading us to disregard evidence that contradicts our beliefs and, in some cases, hindering our personal growth.
The Enneagram and Confirmation Bias
With its emphasis on personality typing, the Enneagram is no exception to confirmation bias. In fact, it can reinforce this bias in a unique way.
The Enneagram offers nine distinct personality types that provide a framework for understanding our patterns of thought, behavior, and emotion.
But, assigning ourselves to a specific Enneagram type can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, where we see only the traits associated with that type and overlook the complexity of our personality.
The Enneagram is not Inherently Bad
This is not to imply that the Enneagram is inherently flawed, nor is it useless.
Instead, it underscores the importance of being mindful of the limitations of any tool used for self-discovery.
Using the Enneagram exclusively for self-understanding may reinforce limiting beliefs and assumptions, which may inadvertently stagnate personal growth.
Don't Rely Solely on The Enneagram
So how can we overcome confirmation bias in our Enneagram endeavors? One way is by exploring other modes of self-discovery.
- Engage in therapy
- Be open to feedback from loved ones
- Acknowledge tendencies to over-rely on one tool (like the Enneagram)
- Make a conscious effort to view yourself and others as complex beings
Simply put, we need to work to gain a more holistic understanding of ourselves.
Enneagram as a Tool
It's worthwhile to note that while the Enneagram can reinforce confirmation bias, it can also provide an opportunity for growth.
Use it to identify patterns of thought, behavior, and emotion to begin to unlearn limiting beliefs and cultivate more positive and constructive ways of being.
Overcoming confirmation bias is not about discarding the Enneagram, but rather, using it as one tool among many to achieve a deeper sense of self-awareness and personal growth.