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Enneagram Type 1 Blueprint: The Critical Reformer

awareness better life enneagram fear habits happiness online courses painful emotions relationships stress suffering videos Oct 06, 2021

(By Eldad Ben-Moshe)

❤ Hey there Better Lifers!

This is another video about the Enneagram. And if you've seen my previous video about the Enneagram, which is all about what is the Enneagram and how is it changing so many people's lives, you by now know pretty well what is the Enneagram.

But of course, it was just an intro video, and as I promised, it's time to dive into the nine types themselves.

This is not my full online course
 or non-online, in-person course. This is a taste. So there's only so much I can dive into - even in an online course there's only so much I can dive into.

For more details about my Enneagram courses, visit E-School™, our Enneagram school, at 

But the important thing is that here, in the Enneagram Blueprint series, I'm going to give you the essential blueprint of the nine types. It will be a quick description of each type, and it is going to be beautiful.

Finding out your type: A journey of awakening.


Because it's a taste, it's probable that some of you will not identify exactly which type you are or what's your core belief from which everything stems.

The Enneagram is more of a life journey.
Some people identify their main type fast, maybe even today, some of them not so fast.

To me, it took some time.
Some types actually have a harder time identifying their type because part of their type's mechanism is such that doesn't know sometimes.

There are specifically two types that are known to be more on the fence, let's put it this way, about which type they are for a longer period of time.

Another thing to keep in mind is even if you're thinking that you identify your type today, keep in mind that we're going to do only type one today.

There are eight more, and maybe, just maybe, you'll find that type one has a big influence on your Enneagram complex, let's call it this way, but it's not necessarily your main type.

It might be a wing, it might be a tritype, It might be many other things.

So part of the fun of the Enneagram, and I'm not saying that with any form of criticism about other methods, just to say something I love a lot about Enneagram, is that it's more of a life journey than a mathematical equation.

Unlike astrology, numerology, other things, it's not that you give a date of birth or a name and you get a calculated result that someone gives you.

It's more of diving inside with usually the right questions and right observations, and over time, finding what operates you behind the scenes, finding out your defense mechanism and your automatic pilot and all that stuff, automatic patterns of behavior through observation.

We're developing the inner observation and coming up with answers. As an Enneagram coach, for example, I don't know better than another person that is coming to have a coaching session with me what is their core belief or what is their core fear or core need.

I can help them find out and they'll find the answers and we'll work with that together, and I can have an educated guess based on my experience working with so many people, but again, it's all about you knowing and not 'I am knowing' or you give a name or date and you get a result.

So take it as a journey.


It's all about the motive - never the behavior.

One more thing about that is that we are checking the type or your core type, finding your core type, according to your motive - not according to your behavior, which is extremely important and is another reason why only you can know and another person can't really know - because they can't see your motive for your behavior.

Two different types can do the same very action from two very different motives. Type one might do it because it's the "right" thing - let's say, helping an older person cross the road, the classic Boy Scout behavior.

So type one might help that person cross the road because it's the "right" thing to do and these are the "rules" and type two might do it because if I don't help, I don't get love.

So it's two different motives for the same action.

Now, if I see you helping an old person cross the road - are you type one or you're a type two? Or was it actually maybe not a type thing that you did, but your authentic self, just out of love doing that?

So we don't look at the behavior, we're looking at the motive.

Another thing to remember is that it's an incredibly accurate and useful map but it's just a map and no map is 100% exactly the same as the terrain itself, right?

If I take a map of New York City and I look at the map, I'm not looking at the street of New York City, I'm looking at a map that describes the streets of New York City.

So the same thing is true for the type description:

  1. Again, it's short and even more so here it's not a full-on course but just an appetizer (but, lucky for you, this appetizer is much bigger, or longer and richer, than many forms of paid content you will find out there).

  2. it's a dynamic complex module. You're not all the time in the same room. Remember the nine rooms? We spoke of that in the intro video.

    You're moving between them and there are arrows and there are wings and levels of development and tritype and so on.

    A person can come to me as an Enneagram coach, they will be a nine in their core type but will come to me with an issue of a seven, which is in their tritype.

    So I need to look at what's in front of me right now. First of all, a person, not a type. And second, what are we talking about? Where is the person coming from? Where is he right now on the Enneagram map?


I can go over it forever, but I think that's enough for now.

Just know, I mentioned my online course, so you can go to my website - and look for the Enneagram school.

It actually will be, 
and you'll find more details there.

If you like the Enneagram, if you like what you're seeing, we'd love to have you there and join us.

And now enough of all of that.
Let's go to talk about type one: The critical reformer.

What you need to know about the names of the Enneagram types.


So type one on the Enneagram is the critical reformer.

And what do I mean by the critical reformer?
First of all, this needs to be said: The names in the Enneagram are just shortcuts, right?

They're not definitions of who you are and what a type one person is.
They also change from teacher to teacher.
There's no official name.

And again, the model is dynamic and complex and you're not all the time in the same room in the same situation. So it's a house with nine rooms if you remember the analogy from the intro video.

So don't get hung up on the name, okay? It's used as a shortcut, as a placeholder to remember, especially in the beginning when you start learning about it.

And like I said, there is no official name, different teachers give different names and I chose to give names that have two parts like here: The critical reformer. So one part will represent one of the main shadow aspects of the type and one part of the name will represent one of the main gifts of the types.

If you go and look at other resources, you usually are going to find one name, I'm sorry, one-part name and that's okay. I'm just doing me and I hope that makes sense to you and that you find that useful.

And also don't expect to have 100% identification with the name.

For example, if you are type one, you might not like the name critical reformer and it's okay. It doesn't mean that you're not type one.

Maybe even more so, if you don't like the shadow aspect of the type, that might be a hint to look at that a bit closer -Maybe there is a part of you that doesn't like that because you feel it hits too close to home.

It doesn't mean that you're that type, but it's something to look at.

Type 1's Blueprint: The Critical Reformer.


1. Type 1's core belief.

Alright. So type one, the critical reformer. Like all other types, as I said in the first video about what is the Enneagram and how is it making such amazing changes in so many people's lives, all of the types start from the core belief.

The entire defense mechanism, the entire personality starts from the core belief, the core belief about yourself and about the world.

And for type one, the core belief is that the world judges you and punishes you for bad behaviors and mistakes. 

And therefore I must do things the "right" way, and I must be right, in order to avoid making mistakes. Right?

So there's the belief about the world, and the belief about myself or what I need to do, which is a result of the core belief about the world. So I'm taking you into a blueprint of how the personality is formed from the core belief.


2. Type 1's core need.

So out of that core belief, if I have a core belief that the world judges you and punishes you for bad behaviors and mistakes, my core need would be perfection. And that's what we're seeing with type one.

I need to do the "right" way, the "right" thing, be the "right" kind of person, and make no mistakes - otherwise, I'll be punished and condemned and judged.

So the type one's core need is perfection. We need to be good, to be perfect, make the right decisions - always; Not to make mistakes - ever; And to have extremely high integrity.


Otherwise, the world would judge you and punish you, because you're bad.

Now, with that said, when I'm talking about the core need, every one of the types has a core need, but a thing I like to emphasize and I don't hear so much in the Enneagram world is to me, it is on top - or together with - two other core needs that we all have.

So to me, all the types and all the people in the world have a core need for love and for survival, or safety, two sides of the same coin. Love and survival or love and safety, call it whatever you want. On top of that, each type has its own core need. So in the case of type one, it's perfection.

So that's one part that comes straight from the core belief.

3. Type 1's core fear.

Another part is the core fear. So if the core need is what I want to gain or to be, core fear is what I avoid. And type one avoids condemnation.


Again, because the world judges you and punishes you for bad behavior mistakes.

So I must avoid being wrong, bad, evil, condemned or corrupt or corruptible or morally bad, because then I will not get love, I will not have safety, I'll not get my needs met. And remember, the personality, the type is a survival mechanism.

It's a defense mechanism we're talking about - if I will be judged as bad, I will not survive. That's behind the scenes, that's how deep it goes. It goes all the way, this is a mechanism that tries to ensure your survival in the world, and then also thriving, but first survival.

So what type ones have inside their head is that if I will not be good or "perfect" and make the "right" decisions, if I will make mistakes, if I will be wrong and bad and evil and all that, I will not survive.

People would not like me, I will not be safe and I will not survive. It goes that deep. We don't feel that It's that deep on every little thing that triggers us, but it all goes all the way there.

4. Type 1's strategy and tactics.

So out of this belief comes this need and this fear. And now the strategy of how we deal with the world, which is what we spoke of in the first video, is aimed to fulfill our core need and to avoid our core fear.

So in the case of type one, our strategy of dealing with the world needs to help me be perfect and to avoid condemnation - to be good and make the "right" decisions every time and to avoid mistakes, and to avoid being bad and evil and corrupt.

And what I like to call the tactics is how to do that - How to have my need met and my fear avoided, and that's where the personality kicks in. That's where we get closer and closer to the part about the behavior you see in the world.

So if I have that core belief about the world - in order to be loved and safe and avoid condemnation, I must do the "right" thing, I must be right, I must be good, I must be "perfect" - this is the focal point of our personality.


5. Type 1's automatic focus of awareness.

So if that's my need, if that's the core of it, my automatic focus of awareness when I walk around in the world, my awareness goes to mistakes and what is not good enough and needs to be improved.


Because if what I'm doing or saying is not good enough, I'm in danger.

So I have to have my automatic focus scan all the dangers, right? Many times we hear about how historically men had to scan all the time wherever he was in order to see there's no tiger or whatever coming jumping on him. So this is our tiger here for type one.

The tiger is making mistakes, is not being good enough, not being perfect. So all the time automatic focus scans for that, for mistakes and things that are not good enough and needs to be improved.

Why? So that I will not be condemned and I will be praised and loved as I am perfecting others and the world.


6. Type 1's automatic focus of actions.

We start diving into the actions, the behavior. So the automatic focus of actions, if that's where my awareness is focused on, is doing and saying the "right" or "perfect" thing and correcting imperfections and what is wrong in myself, in the world, and in others.

So it's all around. I need to perfect myself and the world and others. And that goes to behavior, what you say, what you think, your opinions, we need to perfect all of that because that's the automatic mechanism, you have to be perfect.

If you behave the "right" way but your opinions are "evil", you're going to be judged and punished and condemned and not survive. If your opinions are "right" but your words are not or vice versa, again it's the same thing.

So behavior, words, opinions, everything needs to be perfect, everything needs to be amazingly by the book. So it's kind of, type one, you can almost say that they're in a perpetual quest of self-improvement, at the very least about themselves.

And many times it goes to a perpetual quest of improving others and the world. And when I speak about others, it's mostly about others that they care about, they don't just go on the street and grab random people and tell them what to do.

There are levels of development, you might see that happening too every now and then, but it's usually not that random.

The closer you are to me, the more I have the willingness even to help you become better or be better or correct your wrongdoings so that you will be safer and loved and so on.

Again, it's mostly behind the scenes. They are not necessarily aware that this is why they're doing it.

So the automatic focus of behavior and actions you can say goes also to right and wrong - what needs to be perfected etc.

Saying the "right" thing, saying the "wrong" things, how people behave, is it "right" or "wrong" and so on and so on.


7. Type 1's self-image.

So if I walk like that in the world and these are my beliefs and needs and fears and focuses, type one's self image would be that I am good, I am moral, I am right, I am fair, I am accurate, I am thorough, I am responsible, I'm appropriate -

because that self-image helps me live with myself. 

If I am the opposite of that, if I'm bad, if I'm evil, if I'm corrupt, if I'm sloppy, I'm going to be judged and punished and not be safe.

So I have to maintain that self-image. It doesn't mean that I am all that. I might even be too much of all that like too thorough, too responsible, too accurate, so everything can be to a fault.

But that's the self-image we find that type ones many times have about themselves, they think they're good, they're moral, they're right, they're fair, they're accurate and so on and so on.

8. Type 1's gifts (“healthy”/ balanced/ high level of development).

So when we go and look at the behaviors of type one, again this is an overarching theme, right? It's not every type one will have all of this exactly what I'm going to say, no.

But as a general rule, we can look at the gifts, what one might call the healthy part of type one, or a healthy type one, or a balanced type one, or a high level of development type one.

And we can look at the shadow, the unhealthy, the unbalanced, the lower levels of development.

The healthy ones might behave very responsibly. They'll be very reliable, very trustworthy. They will truly want to make themselves, others, and the world better. We really want to have the world as a better place. Ghandi is a good example of that kind of person.

They'll have high ethics and morals. They can be very thorough and diligent and they can care of all the little details as well, which others might not do, again goes back to being responsible and reliable and trustworthy.

So there's a lot of beautiful gifts that come with being healthy or a balanced type one, and again, Gandhi is a great example no matter what you might think politically, he definitely is a good example for a healthy type one.


9. Type 1's shadows (“unhealthy”/ unbalanced/ lower levels of development).

Now, on the shadow side and unhealthy or unbalanced side of one, they might come out as very angry or they'll have a lot of frustration and resentment because no one, to be honest, including themselves, can live up to their high standards. So that's very frustrating.

It's frustrating that I can't be as perfect as I "need" to and I "should" be, right? That's the voice of the ego right there. I "need" to be perfect, I "should" be perfect.

It's frustrating and irritating that others are not living to the high standards that they "should" be, and even more so, look how much effort I'm making to be there and you're just sloppy and you don't care.

So they carry around a lot of anger, and frustration, and resentment, whether they're aware of that or not. Again, generally speaking, and again, unhealthy ones, right? If you've done a lot of work, maybe you have less of that, but it's very dominant in one's life.

Others can experience them as over judgmental and petty and righteous and condescending, to be honest. And maybe even sometimes as hypocrites because ones will preach a certain level and not always do what they preach. So they might be passing off even as hypocrites.

Others can experience them as controlling and as OCDing and micromanaging because they need everything to be perfect.

Now, once you understand why they do it, there's a lot of room for compassion and that's one of the beautiful gifts of the Enneagram.

You can have a lot of compassion for yourself and others. It doesn't mean you don't do the work to make things better, but if I understand that you are doing that because you really want to make this event amazing for all the participants, it might still annoy me that you are controlling and micromanaging me but I might have more compassion to where you come from.

Even more so when I think okay, she might be caught up in an automatic pattern right now, just like I sometimes do, right? It's a good example of how the Enneagram can bring a lot of beautiful compassion to ourselves and others.

Type ones, again, on the shadows, you can many times have hard times with deadlines because there's always more to do.

I can always make this whatever piece of article that I'm working on more perfect and I can cross all the t's and dot all the i's.

So if there are deadlines many times type ones have a problem with that because that goes against making things perfect, because nothing is going to be ever perfect and there's always more to do.

The deadline forces you to stop at some point and to focus on what's really important and not all the t's and all the i's. So they sometimes have hard times with deadlines.

They sometimes have hard times with taking action as well. They might need clear instructions and rules and guidelines and a lot of information before they take action or make a decision in order to avoid mistakes and in order to do things "right" or "perfect".

Remember the core belief.

If I don't do this "right", I'll be condemned, I'll be punished, I'll be fired, she will leave me, they won't like me and so on, and so on, all the way down to "I won't be safe" and "I won't be loved".

Another common shadow of ones is that they might be rigid and harsh and not very spontaneous.

Again, I'm not saying that ones are always rigid. I'm not saying that they're never spontaneous. We're talking about very general observations that are common to people of type one personality type.

And you can also say that the smallest feedback can be experienced by them as an extremely triggering criticism. Which makes life very hard for them and for others. Right?

Because sometimes you just give honest feedback in a loving way, but because their automatic mechanism is such that identifies any level of imperfection, anything under "perfect", as danger, as a threat, then any small, nice loving feedback can be triggering the safety alarm and can be experienced as extremely triggering criticism.

So these are some of the gifts and some of the shadows of the balanced and unbalanced, or healthy and unhealthy, ones.


10. Metaphors to their world.

Anything orderly - whether 'in order' or 'an order' - is likely to be a good metaphor to their world.

So a rule book of any sort - e.g. the laws of a country, of an organization, or something more religious in nature like the old testament, the 10 commandments, etc., is a good metaphor for the world of type 1.

There is a rule, a law, and you are either 'by the book' or not. You're either doing things right or not. 

The army is the other kind of metaphor I was referring to before. There is a hierarchy, there are orders, and you either acted according to what you were supposed to (ordered) to do or not.

If that's not enough, everyone must dress a certain way, stand in line, have their hair cut in a certain way, etc.

The police is a similar metaphor. They became controversial, but whether you think they do it or not - their function is to uphold the law, make sure everyone abides by the law.

A judge, as well, is a good metaphor for similar reasons.

A different metaphor is that of a person folding parachutes: They must be super accurate, to perfection. A tiny mistake can cost people's lives. 


11. The prices type 1 pay for their strategy (/automatic patterns of behavior).

And if I go more into their inner world and the experiences that they are sharing with us, when I'm working with them and when I'm studying about Enneagram it's a lot about what people actually say, what type one people actually say and not just like a theory that someone writes out of nothing.

The Enneagram is a field that is all the time updating with all the data that we get from all the people.

So when I look at their world and their lives, you can talk also about the prices that we all pay for our strategy of how to deal with life.

So in the case of type one, some of the prices that they pay for the strategy are these:

They're living with a demanding, judging, harsh inner critic in their mind all the time. And that is a lot.

We all have our inner critic inside. But for ones, you know, it's kind of like it's harsher, It's more perfectionist, and it's louder. And it never rests. So it's kind of like an inner critic on steroids.

So that's a big price to pay for that strategy. And it also creates a lot of guilt that they carry around because they can't live up to that "perfect" standard.

So now I have this jailer almost, hitting me all the time on the head that I'm not perfect and now I have guilt about that also, and tension, and stress, and anxiety...

It's kind of like living with an abusive partner in the same prison cell. So that's a big price to pay.

Now, part of the beauty of the work of the Enneagram again is that we can work on that.

We can work on managing that jailer, that abusive partner, as opposed to it managing us and ruining our lives.

So it's not something that you can't do anything about it, and that's just the way it is. No, it's the beauty of the Enneagram.

You can expose what's going on, you can diagnose how things are and why they are, but more importantly, it helps you overcome things if you learn how to do that.

So another price that type ones pay is that often they take too much on themselves because the automatic pattern is such that it tries to perfect themselves, and others and the world, and who has time for all that, right?

And it's such a core need, and it's such an automatic thing that it's not like I can look at my schedule and see that I don't have time for that. No, it's just like an impulse that is really hard to control.

And again, that's one of the things you work on when you work with an Enneagram coach or by yourself or whatever.

It's not something that you can't do anything about, but it takes practice, and it's not obvious to resist that impulse.

Another price is that they lose touch with their authentic voice about their truth, about what they want, and who they want to be, and what kind of person they are because that inner critic overrides everything so often and so loudly that I don't do what I want anymore, I do what I need to survive.

I have to do what's "right", I have to do the "right" thing even if I want to do the "wrong" thing. If I want to eat ice cream now but it's not healthy and it's against the "rules" and all that, type ones actually have that a lot.

This happens even in the smallest things because it does go to the smallest things in your life. I personally worked with people who had that, and you can definitely see how eating disorders can come out of that.

Now, I'm not saying all eating disorders are of type one, and I'm not saying it's the only reason for eating disorders. But you can see how some people will get to have eating disorders because they follow too strictly after their inner critic and they don't allow themselves to be human.

So all this leads to not doing what they want or being who they want, but rather the person, or maybe even in lower levels of development almost like a machine, of what the inner critic is telling you you have to do, right?

Kind of like follow that book to the tee. And that's not a very easy thing to live with, right? It's not an easy way to be.

Again, that's where we get compassion for all the types and their predicament, including our own and other people.

And also the relationships of type one suffer a lot. Like all types, the relationship suffers when we're on our unbalanced parts.

In the case of one, if I am your partner, anytime I give you loving feedback you see that as a triggering criticism that threatens your survival,

and you respond accordingly and no one can live up to your standards, and you get angry and frustrated and resentful and I experience you as hypocritical because you're not doing the things that you're preaching and I experience you as controlling and OCDing and micromanaging...

Of course that will affect our relationship, right?
After the honeymoon is over and all this comes to play more and more and more and more and more - "Houston we have a problem".

It's not easy to live like that. So this affects the relationship a lot. And if you work on your patterns and the way you see the world and you get to understand, "ok there's a difference" - not just in your mind, because intellectually they understand the difference between loving feedback and triggering criticism.

But in the moment, it's hard sometimes to see that because the mechanism takes over.

So some of the things we do are that we help them take life and events and people not so seriously, and we help them see that unlike what type ones think and believe unconsciously, there's not just one universal rule book that everybody was given and everybody now must follow this manual.

No. People have different lenses and different desires and different ways of being in the world, and it's not that others just don't care, it's just they see the world from a different lens.

Even two people with a type one personality will have two different rule books and they'll think, no, that's the "right" way to do it, that's the "right" way to be.

And you can understand how many conflicts and problems that creates in one's life and more so how harshly they criticize themselves because as much as ones will criticize others, nobody is being criticized harder by ones like themselves.

The harshest criticism they'll have is on themselves, whether they'll share that with you or not.


12. Common things they ask to be coached about.


Self-improvement - It’s an obvious thing to do with their type’s paradigm.

OCD-like behaviors such as obsessive cleaning, obsessively organizing the house, etc.

Unbearable stress.

Can’t stop criticizing themself and others (internally and/or externally), being too hard on themselves and others.

Lack of peace.

Unable to relax and rest/

Anger management, and overcoming their frustration and resentment.

Overcoming their fears and worries, e.g., fear of making mistakes.

Relationship issues - their inner critic and perfectionism can cause people to walk away from them.

Becoming more generous.


13. Type 1's ultimate mission for growth & happiness.

So eventually, the ultimate mission for growth for type one is to stop trying to fix themselves and perfect themselves and correct themselves and others and the world, and understand that you don't have to be perfect, or "right", or just in order to be loved and to be safe.

That's not where it's at. That's not really why people love you and that's not what will keep you safe.

And many times it creates the opposite effect - people will love you less because of it and it will be less safe. And this is true for all the types.

When we see other types, you'll see the same truth that the paradox, and we touched on it in the first video.

The paradox is that that strategy that's supposed to create safety and bring love many times creates the opposite.

So the ultimate mission for type one, stop trying to fix and correct and perfect themselves and others and the world, and understand and experience that too - that you don't have to be perfect or "right" or just in order to be loved and safe.

I hope this helps you get more into the world of type one.

It might be beneficial to look inside and see whether you think you are type one or whether you know people in your life that you are suspecting or guessing that they're type one.

You can have maybe more compassion for them, you can relate to them differently now that you know more about their inner world, some of which even they might not be aware of.


The important thing is that the Enneagram helps us overcome our automatic patterns.

So it's not just about exposing and diagnosing, it's just the first and second step, right? It's like going to the doctor because I have a headache and then finding out why we had a headache.

But you haven't still taken the medicine to stop having the headache, right? If you found out that, oh, I'm having a headache because I'm banging my head against the wall.

As long as you don't stop banging your head against the wall, you keep having the headache. You didn't do the change. You didn't overcome what caused the suffering of the pain in your life. And that's where the Enneagram helps us a lot.

So with the profound understanding of the Enneagram... Actually this was just the tip of the iceberg. Really the tip of the iceberg, even just about the description of type one.

We didn't even touch exercises you can do, we didn't discuss what they do to gain love in a certain depth, it goes way deeper than that, we didn't go into wings and arrows, and we didn't go into many of the other things I discuss in the online course.

But it's been, you know, more than five minutes or a few lines, so that would give you a good understanding of what's going on in their world.

If you are curious, let's talk about it.

You can share some comments, write me an email, or even join E-School, our Enneagram school at - we'll be happy to see you there.

And until then, next step might be just to head on and see the next video about type two: the proud helper.

I hope you have a beautiful, beautiful day and bye for now.


To your better life,
with tons of 💖

Eldad Ben-Moshe
Founder, Teacher, and Coach
Better Life Awareness Center