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Enneagram Fixations: Habits of Mind


A habit is something we do repeatedly without thinking about it. There are constructive and destructive habits, yet they are so ingrained in us, that all “habits” are worth reconsidering so we are choiceful about what we do.

I’ll be writing a series of blogs on the mental habits of each Enneagram style (aka fixations) and how all of the 9 styles actually do their own version of these ingrained mental habits. For this, the first blog, I’ll explain the 9 mental fixations associated with each Enneagram style as a way to provide a foundation for the future blogs. The subsequent blogs will describe how each of us exhibits each of the fixations, just in our own way.

While I had figured out this idea several years ago, it was reinforced by my experience with Claudio Naranjo last summer, when he put us in pairs and asked us to review out loud how we do each of the fixations. I was stunned that so many participants could give examples of their own fixation in action, but drew a blank when describing how the other fixations work within them.

The Mental Habits (Fixations) of Each Style

Enneagram One: Resentment
Paying attention to flaws so that nothing ever seems good enough

Enneagram Two: Flattery
The gaining of acceptance through giving compliments or other forms of attention to others

Enneagram Three: Vanity
The strategic thinking about how to create an idealized image based on being or appearing to be successful

Enneagram Four: Melancholy
Thinking continuously about what is missing, with accompanying thoughts of being disconnected or separated from others

Enneagram Five: Stinginess
A scarcity paradigm that leads to an insatiable thirst for knowing, a reluctance to share – knowledge, time, space, and personal information – and to strategizing about how to control one’s environment

Enneagram Six: Cowardice
The thoughts of doubt and worry that cause the continuous creation of worst-case or anticipatory scenarios

Enneagram Seven: Planning
The mental process by which the mind goes into “hyper gear,” moving in rapid succession from one thing to another

Enneagram Eight: Vengeance
The process of rebalancing wrongs through thoughts related to anger, blame, and intimidation

Enneagram Nine: Laziness
Lethargy in paying attention one’s own feelings and needs, thus disabling him or her from taking the action you most desire

Why learn about the mental habits of each style? First, it is very interesting in terms of how each of us, depending on our Enneagram style, has a mind that is wired toward certain ideas that then create our realities. But even more important, understanding our particular fixation allows us to observe the ways in which our minds work, be more mentally objective rather than mentally reactive, and to change our habits of mind if we want to do so!

Stay tuned for the next blogs about how each of us engage in Resentment, Flattery, Vanity, and more.

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