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Enneagram Type 3 - 'The Achiever'

A summary of what a Type 3 Enneagram means

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Type 3s are inherently industrious and self-motivated, spending tremendous energy in striving for achievement. They have high levels of drive and motivation, and work doggedly at achieving their goals. These goals however are unique to the individual and are not type cast to things such as 'acquiring money' or 'getting a promotion'. It is the striving for the achievement in itself that is indicative of a Type 3, not that the goal choice. Type 3s therefore work hard and put in the extra effort into what they do, making sure to give their best at their tasks - even if the reward may not be justified.


Key Personality Traits of an Enneagram Type 3

What are the core traits of a Type 3?

Here we summarize the main traits. In general:

  • Type Threes have considerable energy
  • Type Threes are exceedingly diligent
  • Type Threes are inherently industrious
  • Type Threes readily set goals in order to accomplish them
  • Type Threes have an innate fear of being unworthy and unloved
  • Type Threes seek validation via their achievements

Data: How Rare is Type 3?

How common is Enneagram Type 3 compared to the other types?

Figure 1: Global distribution of each Enneagram type.

how rate type two

What this chart shows

This chart shows percentage of the population who are each Enneagram type. We see that Type 4s are the most common and Type 6s are the most rare. Type 3s are in the middle at 10.2% of the population. So Type 3 Enneagram is neither rare or very common.

Notes:
  • 1. n=11,271
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Live dataset last updated:

Source: Personality Project, Enneagram data


Data: Which Country has the Highest Proportion of Type 3?

Survey data on global population frequency of Enneagram Type 3

Figure 2: Regions with highest percent of Type 3s

which country has the highest percent

What this chart shows

This chart shows countries with the five highest and five lowest percent of respondents with Enneagram Type 3 personality type. This helps identify which regions have an above or below average proportion of Type Threes. We see that of those reporting their country as 'Indonesia' there is an above average proportion of Type 3s, and of those reporting their country as 'Ireland' there is a below-average proportion of Type 3s.

Notes:
  • 1. n=11,271
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Dataset last updated:
  • 4. Data is derived from users' self-report responses to the question "What is your country of nationality?".
  • 5. Countries with insufficient sample sizes have been excluded from this study.

What it Means to be a Type 3

What is a Type 3 Enneagram? 'The Achiever' explained

Type Threes are always looking for ways to outperform those around them by achieving things greater than others. This desire to outperform is a large source of a motivation that drives them to action. This makes Type Threes competitive by nature, who become especially achievement-striving when facing competition. As a result, Type Threes tend to excel in roles where there is a degree of competition, and where effort and diligent has a direct correlation with the likelihood of success; such as roles with sales quotes or easily identifiable results.

Type Threes tend to be people of great energy, jumping into action readily and quickly. They enjoy being busy, and thrive off high levels of activity. But for many Type Threes, merely being industrious, diligent and hard-working isn't enough if no one is around to observe their achievements. Type Threes tend to be very image conscious, and make efforts to present themselves as ultra-driven, overachieving people. They wish to reinforce the image of themselves as being driven and this, in turn, pushes them to be driven.

Achieving or the appearance of achieving?

For many Type Threes, merely being industrious, diligent and hard-working isn't enough if no one is around to observe their achievements.

Type Threes need for output and achievement can lend to be more focused with quantity rather than quality, as they find periods of down time to be wasted rather than necessary moments of recuperation and recharge. This can also lead to a lower quality of life, as Threes could neglect their own personal needs with their excessive fixation on completing their objectives.

Type Threes have a consistent need for achievement and recognition from others of these achievements. This can be a strain on their personal relationships, from the Three finding competition with everyone around them, as well as their relentless need for validation. Likewise, Threes often feel uncomfortable around those who are not aiming for success or achievement. Worse still, if the Three is surrounded by someone whom they deem has achieved even greater success, they will feel discomfort and frustration, which in turn could spur them to act with even more competitive behavior as a means to compensate.


Dimensions of Type 3 - The Achiever

The three main dimensions of Enneagram Type 3

When we perform factor analysis on the core behaviors of each Enneagram type, we find that Type Threes exhibit positive correlations with five core traits (or 'Dimensions') as we shall call them. Dimensions are specific behavioral indicators that underpin a person's enneatype. Think of them as building blocks of a person's personality.

Consider the five Dimensions which came out as having strong correlation with Type Three personality type, and it helps to understand what underpins a Type Three's behavior.

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Self-Efficacy

An Enneagram Type 3 tends to have high levels of self-efficacy. They have confidence in their ability to achieve their goals, affect the world around them, and meaningfully control their life’s direction.

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Industriousness

An Enneagram Type 3 tend to be inherently industrious, readily devoting great time and effort into their task at hand. They are diligent and hard-working.

Competitiveness icon

Competitiveness

An Enneagram Type 3 tend to be competitive, readily seeking to outperform their colleagues or opponents. These activities range from the important such as job promotion, to the trivial such as playing a competitive video-game.

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Perfectionism

An Enneagram Type 3 tends to look for perfectionism within systems and with behaviors. They advocate change through moral principles, readily finding fault with imperfection. Threes can sometimes be perfectionists and overly critical.

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Need for Achievement

An Enneagram Type 3 tends to engage in causes with discipline. This can make them high achievers as they hold themselves to high standards.


Data: Enneagram Type 3 Dimensions Profile

The dimensions of Type 3

We studied the core personality traits (dimensions) of Enneagram Type Threes. The radar chart below shows the results of our survey.

Figure 3: Radar chart of core personality traits (dimensions) of Type Threes

dimensions

What this chart shows

This chart shows how Type 3s score on 14 key personality traits. The scores on each scale are derived from our internal research and present a helpful shorthand to describe the Enneagram Type 3 personality profile. For example we see that Type 3s score very high on Industrious and Competitive.

Notes:
  • 1. n=11,271
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Live dataset last updated:

Type 3: Heart Type, Head Type, or Body Type?

Why is Enneagram 3 a heart type?
  • heart type icon Heart type

The nine Enneagram types are grouped into three centers of intelligence according to how they fundamentally approach the world: Body Types; Heart Types; and Head Types. There are three Enneagram types in each center of intelligence and Type Threes are a Heart Type.

 

heart type enneagram

 

Type Threes are Achievers. They are diligent, hard-working, and competitive. They respond to needing validation from others, rather than concentrating on facts and figures, they tend to focus their energy on what will make others recognize them as achieving and successful.

Type Threes are Heart Types. Heart Types make decisions based on feelings and emotions.


Data: Type 3 Genders

Survey data on Type 3 by genders

Type 3s are mostly male (57.2%) with 42.4% female and 0.2% non-binary.

Figure 4: Type 3s by gender

genders

What this chart shows

The split between genders across the Type 3 population was 42.4% female, 57.2% male, 0.2% non-binary.

Notes:
  • 1. n=1,153
  • 2. Population: Global Type Threes
  • 3. Dataset last updated:
  • 4. Data is derived from users' self-report responses to the question "What is your gender?"

Data: Proportion of Enneagram Type 3s in each Religion

Percent of people who are Type 3 by major religion

Are Type 3s more inclined towards certain religions? From our research we see that Muslims are more likely to be Type 3 than Sikhs are.

Figure 5: Percent of Type Threes in each major religion

religions

What this chart shows

This chart shows what percentage of eight religions are Type 3, and the global average percent of people who are Type 3. This helps identify whether a particular religion has an above-average or below-average proportion of Type 3s.

Notes:
  • 1. n=11,271
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Dataset last updated:
  • 4. Religions without a sufficient sample size were not included.
  • 5. Data is derived from users' self-report responses to the question "Which religion do you most identify with?"

Enneagram Type 3 Strengths and Weaknesses

What are the positive attributes of Enneagram Type 3

Every Enneagram type has strengths and weaknesses, personality traits that stand out and others that can be unhelpful. Here we will answer the question of 'what are the main strengths and weaknesses of being a Type 3 Enneagram?'

Info Table
Strengths Weaknesses
Bolster those around them Too image conscious
Industrious and diligent Obsessively and at times unnecessarily competitive
Very high energy levels Difficulty in accepting failure
Showcasing charisma and confidence Can neglect personal needs for the sake of the goal
star note

Note: The strengths accentuated when the Type Three has an healthy level of development. Likewise, the weaknesses will occur most when the Type Three has an unhealthy level of development.


Type 3 Fears and Desires

A list of the core fears and desires of Enneagram Type 3

Each Enneagram type has fears and desires; things to avoid and things to seek out.

Fears

Things type 3s should avoid

Core fear: Not being appreciated or appropriately recognized for their efforts.

  • Feeling incompetence
  • Failing to complete a goal that they set themselves
  • Being outperformed by a competitor

Desires

Things Type 3s should seek

Core desire: Being recognized by others as an ambitious achiever with a hard work ethic

  • Accomplishing the goals they set themselves
  • Giving themselves new goals to achieve
  • Feeling appreciated and recognized by others

Data: Type 3 Age Distribution

Grouped survey data on Type 3 ages

We surveyed the age of Type Threes and grouped the data.

Figure 6: Enneagram Type 3 by age

ages

What this chart shows

This chart shows that Type Threes tend to be more common in young adults, showing highest frequencies in the 20-40 age bracket. We suspect this is because young adults tend to have the most energy and drive, displaying a heightened probability of becoming a Type Three. However, as people get older and their energy levels decline, they appear to show a lower probability of becoming a Type 3. Similarly, the youngest people show a low probability of becoming a Type Three, likely due to uncertainty about goals and life direction.

Notes:
  • 1. n=11,271
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Dataset last updated:

Type 3 Arrows: Type 3s at Their Best and Their Worst

What are Enneagram arrows and how do they work?

Every Enneagram type has two potential arrow types that they can achieve according to their state of stress or state of growth. None of us are static personalities, and sometimes we are better versions of ourselves and other times we are not achieving our potential.

Both arrows are important influences. To obtain a complete picture of the Type Three personality, you must take into consideration the basic overview, the two arrows, and the wings. Understanding this can help you in how to become a healthy Type 3 Enneagram.

arrow image type 3

Type Three arrow

Type Three arrow chart

When a Type Three is in flow, what is called Direction of Integration, Type Threes become more magnanimous, competent and have a greater self-esteem as if they were healthy Type Sixes.

  • Direction of Integration = Healthy Type 6
  • Direction of Disintegration = Unhealthy Type 9
face reading open book

Tip: Making sure you look after yourself can help Type Threes become better integrated with Type Sixes.

What wings can a Type 3 have?

Type 3s can also exhibit traits associated with their adjacent Enneatype. For Type 3 the adjacent Enneatypes are 2 and 4. A Type 3 can either have a Two-wing (3w2) or a Four-wing (3w4). With either of these wings, the Type 3 would then exhibit certain traits of that wing type.


Data: Type 3 Sexual Orientation

Survey data on Type 3 sexual orientation

We surveyed sexual orientation amongst Enneagram Type Threes.

Figure 7: Enneagram Type 3 by sexual orientation

sexual orientation

What this chart shows

This chart shows what percentage of each a particular sexual preference are Type 3. For example 11.3% of people reporting as asexual are Type 3. This compares with 10.2% of all people who are Type 3. Asexuals are more likely to be Type 3 than lesbians are.

Notes:
  • 1. n=11,271
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Dataset last updated:

Data: Type 3 Qualifications

Survey data on Type 3 academic qualifications

We surveyed Type 3s on their highest level of academic qualification.

Figure 8: Highest level of qualification held by Type 3s

qualifications

What this chart shows

This chart shows the percent of the population who reported holding a particular qualification as their highest qualification. By comparing data for Type 3 and all types, we can see whether Type 3s are more or less likely to hold a particular qualification. We see that Type 3s are more likely than the average population to hold as their highest qualification "Postgraduate Degree, Doctorate or equivalent qualification".

Notes:
  • 1. n=11,271
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Dataset last updated:
  • 4. Data is derived from users' self-report responses to the question "Your highest level of qualification".

 


page author ben

Chloe Yarwood, MSc

University of Chichester, Advanced Applied Psychology

Chloe Yarwood, MSc in Advanced Applied Psychology from University of Chichester. Specialist in personality type theory and developing valid personality questionnaires.