At Best: Ones exude Serenity (calm joy) by going with the flow in way that is peacefully awake, yet sizzling with exuberance. They embody the Higher Quality of Holy Perfection (life's natural goodness & order, just as it is amidst apparent chaos). Ones are sincere, truthful and inspiring and, when relaxed, they are delightfully funny.
Habits: When driven by Anger (ongoing irritation that things are not properly fitting), Ones start Aligning: criticizing and precisely calibrating self, others, situations. Focus of Attention: what's right/wrong & good/bad; noticing even the smallest errors.
Ones Forget: Reality is basically good & always perfectly fitting with itself. Ones strive to acquire goodness and make everything fit better. Ones do this through aggression towards their vitality and will: attempting to regulate, control and civilize their natural impulses. Ones Believe: I must work to be perfect because only perfect people are worthy of love and respect; good enough is never good enough. Ones work hard to create a better world & can worry excessively, taking on too much responsibility as the reformer. They have high ideals & align their conduct with internal standards. Ones hear a loud Inner Critic and can nit-pick partners to “help” them. Ones can be The (Too) Perfect One—the exemplar who makes it their business to teach others. Ones Excel: at being objective, fair minded, and honing in on core values. Ones tend to be honest, responsible, dependable, and have a higher than average degree of commonsense.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
- Serenity Prayer
Type One Personality Reflections
The Type One pattern is driven by anger, or wrath. Anger shows up in what Oscar Ichazo called “standing against reality.” Type Ones use anger to control anger – constrain it, tame it, civilize it. It’s anger against anger. It shows up as a relentless Inner Critic.
Ones are notoriously different when they “cut loose with friends" or travel on a truly relaxing vacation. A One touring Australia with no particular plan, except enjoying every day anew, excitedly emailed a friend back in the United States with a revelation. “I discovered the secret to a good life: make every day back home feel like vacation!”
For other Ones, anger gets directed at improving others. “Even when my wife is silent,” the partner of a One reported, “I can still feel the heat of her rising irritation with me. She's like a portable space heater toasting and tensing the area around us until I stop whatever it is I'm doing."
When Ones focus energy in the social realm, it can show up as an impassioned force for societal change. They tend to take public policy personally. It feels appropriate to express anger on behalf of others.
After quizzing a waitress about the biographies of the various fish in the dinner specials – where they were from, how they were caught – a Type One methodically scrolled through a new app on his smartphone. “None of these fish are acceptable by sustainable fishing standards,” he pointedly lectured. Without missing a beat, the waitress replied, "well none of these fish dinners are going to be sustainable if no one eats them!"
Crusading Ones strive to be the models of perfection. As a result, they struggle with hypocrisy. Twentieth Century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr – a likely Type One – famously observed, “hypocrisy [is] an inevitable byproduct of all virtuous endeavor.”
Ones transmute anger into the virtue of serenity – the cool wisdom of letting go and forgiving that which cannot be changed. Niebuhr is also credited with writing the Serenity Prayer, adopted by many in Alcoholics Anonymous.
Ones gift our collective consciousness with a moral compass. The One’s intuitive, gut-level wisdom of proper relating, proper consideration, proper boundaries, proper proportion, and proper spatial arrangement guides us all in evermore subtle, joyful flow as we continue the human journey of sharpening the edges of our uniqueness, that which makes each one of us special and beautiful.
Type One Interview
This clip is from an interview with a representative Type One. For the full set of interviews with all 9 types (about 20 minutes each), along with downloadable charts, check out this online course: Enneagram Interviews.