Life potentials Enneagram Number 1 - Personality Type One: Reformer

“Aim for success, not perfection” - Dr. David M. Burns

More from Personality: What Makes You the Way You Are

Enneagram one

Enneagram Personality Type One: The Reformer or Idealist 

Enneagram is a model of human psychology that describes nine fundamental personality types. Here comes the basic characteristics of the “One”.

Type 1 Enneagram Personality: Reformer or Idealist 

Dominant Traits

  • Perfectionists
  • Principled
  • Moral
  • Strives to be Good

Focus of Attention

  • Determining What is Right or Wrong, Good or Bad, Correct or Incorrect

Basic Fear

  • Being Bad
  • Corruption
  • Imbalance
  • Making Mistakes

Basic Desire

  • Goodness
  • Balance
  • Acceptance
  • Integrity


  • Strong Conscience
  • Hard-Working
  • Responsible
  • Honest
  • Dependable
  • Practical
  • Self-Controlled


  • Overly Critical
  • Resentful
  • Non-Adaptable
  • Judgmental
  • Emotionally Repressed
  • Self-Denying
  • Rigid

General Behavior

This personality type, often called One, believes that to be worthy, they have to be good and on the side of right. Come to think of it, they’d make good superheroes, or law enforcers, judges, teachers, or preachers.

They have a strong inner critic which constantly monitors their thoughts and actions. If they’re being bad, Ones corrects the behavior right away, even it means denying their own pleasure. They are disciplined, responsible, and can be good partners and providers. Their integrity and moral standards are high.

Ones think that there’s always room for improvement. They are idealists who dream of making things… perfect. Nothing is ever good enough, even themselves. They have a keen eye for flaws and inconsistencies in themselves and in others. This prompts their desire to make things better, and start improvement efforts. 

While the intention of One is good and can be beneficial to everyone concerned, it can also be a burden to those who are on the receiving end. Nobody enjoys being told how to do something right. People tend to feel defensive around One, who can be overly critical, and judgmental.

They love playing by the rules, and adhering to certain standards. Admirable traits for sure. But, One has a tendency to be rigid and close-minded. It’s either right or wrong, good or bad, black or white. There’s no middle ground. Ones don’t compromise their morals. Not with that critical inner voice in their head.

Because of their love for perfection, Ones appreciate excellence and beauty. Very seldom do they find something that doesn’t need to be improved. Not in our imperfect world.

Things are not always easy for One, who’s only trying to make the world a better place for everybody. They feel that it’s their responsibility to make things right. They are hard on themselves, often suppressing their own needs and desires if they’re not “good.” They often feel guilty about their own feelings and actions, if they judge them as being wrong. P

oor One finds it hard to relax. They often deny themselves the simple pleasures of life. They are rarely spontaneous, as if they’re carrying the world on their shoulders… ad maybe that’s how they feel. Makes you think of Superman, right?

Since Ones believe wholeheartedly in their convictions, they are inspiring leaders. Most reform movements are led by Ones, who can make people see their own visions of a better world.

How to Get Along with a One 

  • Remember that there’s no malice intended when they become too critical. 
  • Respect their need to adhere to certain values and standards. 
  • Although critical, they are sensitive to criticism. 
  • They’d appreciate you telling them that they’re fine the way they are. 
  • Encourage them to lighten up, but only after you listen to their concerns. 
  • Tell them that you value their advice. 
  • Show them love and your approval.

How to Overcome the Negative Effects of Being a One 

  • Chasing perfection can be tiring. Reach for excellence instead. We are all a work-in-progress. 
  • Remember that you may be imperfect, as we all are, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging (- Brene Brown) 
  • Forgive yourself when you make mistakes, and try again. Mistakes make us better. 
  • Laugh at yourself, it’s ok. No one will hate you for it. Don’t take yourself too seriously. 
  • It’s noble to strive for goodness, and it’s an admirable trait. But don’t deny yourself the simple pleasures of life. As long as you’re not hurting anyone or breaking any law, it’s not wrong to have fun. 
  • Surround yourself with people who appreciate your strengths, and those who take time to help you check your challenges. 
  • You have your own standards. Don’t judge people when they don’t meet your expectations. 
  • Every now and then, when you feel frustrated, ask yourself if you’re asking too much. From yourself and from others. 
  • When you learn how to do all of the above, do it for others too. But first, start with you.

Read about the other eight types of Enneagram Personalities:

The Two, the Three, the Four, the Five, the Six, the Seven, the Eight, the Nine.


The Enneagram model of personality has been criticized as being subject to interpretation and difficult to test or validate scientifically. You can read about The Big Five model of personality that has gained more scientific consensus here.


  1. International Enneagram Association: Enneagram Systems and Types
  2. Enneagram: Type One The Perfectionist

Personality: What Makes You the Way You Are

Read about the Big Five personality traits in "Personality: What Makes You the Way You Are" by Harvard graduate Shawn Achor. The book includes five broad domains or dimensions used to describe human personality.

Get the Book today
Popout amazon

More from Personality: What Makes You the Way You Are