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Enneagram

Enneagram Type 8 - 'The Challenger'

A summary of what it means to be an Enneagram Type 8

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An Enneagram Type 8 is confident, direct, and in control. They are the most comfortable with anger out of all the types. Driven by a fear of being controlled, being harmed, or seeing harm come to those they love, they fortify their defences while taking charge of situations. Type 8s are sometimes referred to as the Challengers, and can often be found in positions of authority.


Key Personality Traits of an Enneagram Type 8

What are the core traits of a Type 8?

From studying the Enneagram Type 8, we have found common key personality traits that this type hold. In general Type 8s:

  • Type Eights can be quick to express anger, but just as quick to forgive.
  • Type Eights believe honesty is the best policy.
  • Type Eights see themselves as protectors of innocence.
  • Type Eights respect displays of strength.
  • Type Eights have low tolerance for weakness in self and others.

Data: How Common is Enneagram Type 8?

Which Enneagram type is the rarest and which is the most common?

Figure 1: Global distribution of each Enneagram type.

how rare type eight

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. Enneagram Type 8 is the third rarest at 6.9% of the population.

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

Data: Which Country has the Highest Proportion of Type 8?

Survey data on global population frequency of Enneagram Type 8

Figure 2: Regions with highest percent of Type 8s

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 8 personality type. This helps identify which regions have an above or below average proportion of Type Eights. We see that of those reporting their country as 'Pakistan' there is an above average proportion of Type 8s, and of those reporting their country as 'Ireland' there a below-average proportion of Type 8s.

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 an Enneagram Type 8

An outline of what it means to be a Type 8 - The Challenger

Type 8s value personal strength and independence. They stand by their opinions, trusting gut feelings and first intuitions over convoluted thought processes. Wary of deception, they place their faith in people who can express immediate, raw emotions, including anger, rather than people who conceal or downplay messy feelings.

Challengers like Type Eights don't shy away from conflicts. Speaking forcibly doesn't mean a Type Eight has lost control; they rarely loose control. Type Eights can easily forgive and forget following a heated battle of wills. In fact, a good fight is often what cements their closest relationships. Provoking raw emotional responses is a way to speed up getting to know a person so that there will be no surprising disappointments later.

Small talk or straight to the point?

Provoking raw emotional responses is a way to speed up getting to know a person so that there will be no surprising disappointments later.

Type Eights might explain that they had to learn to be tough and to fight back against cruel people who manipulated, abused or took advantage of them early in childhood. They mourn their lost innocence, and they like to see themselves as protectors and defenders of other innocents such as abused animals and children living in poverty. Many devote their energy and resources to philanthropic causes.

One of the core fears of a Type Eight is to be controlled. At lower levels of health, Type Eights may adopt a “dog eat dog” world view and believe that they must either dominate or be dominated and so they are sometimes domineering in their relationships. Although they mean well, they have a tendency to micromanage subordinates or act as overbearing parents in their efforts to protect people for whom they feel responsible.


Dimensions of Type 8 - The Challenger

The five main dimensions of Enneagram Type 8

When we perform factor analysis on the core behaviors of each Enneagram type, we find that Type Eights 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 8 personality type, and it helps to understand what underpins a Type Eight's behavior.

self-efficacy icon

Self-Efficacy

An Enneagram Type 8 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

industriousness icon

Industriousness

An Enneagram Type 8 tends to be particularly industrious. Type Eights are very motivated and want to improve their own conditions as well as others. This pursuit of improvement and achievement is what underpins their industriousness.

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Competitiveness

An Enneagram Type 8 is highly competitive. Type Eights have a fear of being dominated or beaten, which fuels this competitiveness. Although not wanting to lose, a Type 8 will always welcome competition as opposed to not encountering any challenging scenarios.

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Volatile

An Enneagram Type 8 tends to have high volatility as they stand up for themselves and others. A Type Eight will not be one to stand idle as matters occur that they disagree with.

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Assertive

An Enneagram Type 8 tends to be very assertive. This assertiveness is part of what makes them 'Challengers'. Standing up for what they believe in, and others, Type Eight's rely on their assertiveness to command control. A lack of assertiveness would unravel everything that makes a Type Eight.

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Cooperative (Reversed)

An Enneagram Type Eight is less cooperative than other Enneatypes. Rarely will a Type Eight capitulate to the demands of other people, and will fiercely defend their autonomy at any cost.


Data: Enneagram Type 8 Dimensions Profile

The dimensions of Type 8

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

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

dimensions

What this chart shows

This chart shows how an Enneagram Type 8 scores 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 8 personality profile. For example we see that Type 8s score high on Assertive and Industrious but low on Cooperative.

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

Type 8: Heart Type, Head Type, or Body Type?

Which center of intelligence is an Enneagram Type 8?
  • body type icon Body type

Type Eights are body types. They are comfortable taking action based on gut feelings, instincts and intuitions. They believe that overthinking makes one vulnerable to self-deception.

 

body type enneagram

 

Type Eights are body types. Body Types trust their instinct and gut feeling for decision-making.


Data: Type 8 Genders

Survey data on Enneagram Type 8 by genders

Type 8s are roughly evenly split between male and female, with 0.3% non-binary.

Figure 4: Type 8s by gender

genders

What this chart shows

The split between genders across the Type 8 population is quite even, with 0.3% reporting as non-binary.

Notes:
  • 1. n=782
  • 2. Population: Global Type Eights
  • 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 8 in each Religion

Percent of people who are Type 8 by major religion

Are Type 8s more inclined towards certain religions? From our research we see that Muslims are more likely to be Type 8s than Christians are.

Figure 5: Percent of Type Eights in each major religion

religions

What this chart shows

This chart shows what percentage of eight religions are Type 8, and the global average percent of people who are Type 8. This helps identify whether a particular religion has an above-average or below-average proportion of Type 8s.

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?"

Type 8 Strengths and Weaknesses

What are the positive and negative attributes of an Enneagram 8?

Each Enneagram type has its unique 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 8 Enneagram?'

Info Table
Strengths Weaknesses
Protective Domineering
Honourable Provocative
Confident Dismissive of those perceived as weak
Forthright Control others through intimidation
star note

Note: Once an Enneagram Type 8 has made up their mind who is in need of their protection and who is a threat, their thinking risks becoming black and white.


Enneagram Type 8 Fears and Desires

A list of the core fears and desires of Type 8s

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

Fears

Things Enneagram Type 8 should avoid

Core fear: To be powerless against cruel people who want to manipulate, harm, and use them.

  • Lacking strength or personal defences.
  • Having to rely on others for protection.
  • Uncovering deception or weakness within their inner circle.

Desires

Things Enneagram Type 8 should seek

Core Desire: To preserve the innocence of those who depend on them and to be seen as a strong protector and provider.

  • To be respected and obeyed by subordinates.
  • To protect and defend the innocent.
  • To intimidate and control those who would harm them or the people they care about.

Data: Type 8 Age Distribution

Grouped survey data on Type 8 ages

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

Figure 6: Enneagram Type 8 by age

ages

What this chart shows

This chart shows that the probability of being a Type Eight declines with age, but then increases significantly at the 60+ age bracket. We suspect that people are less likely to become Type Eights as they progress through adulthood due to the workforce demands of cooperativeness. As individuals get more acclimatised to workforce dynamics, they become less standoffish and confrontational, preferring instead to cooperate. However, upon retirement, this requirement is not longer valid, allowing people to assert themselves more often.

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

Type 8 Arrows: Type 8s at Their Best and Their Worst

What are Enneagram arrows and how do they work?

Under stress, Type Eights withdraw into Five-like solitude. This solitude can be a nurturing cocoon like place where they adapt to a more trusting and accepting world view, or it can be a fearful place where they nurse their fears.

When Type Eights let down their guard, they expand along their arrow of integration to Type Two where they express their warmth, tenderness, and generosity.

arrow image type 6

Type Eight arrow

Type Eight arrow chart

Under stress, Type Eights withdraw into Five-like solitude. This solitude can be a nurturing cocoon like place where they adapt to a more trusting and accepting world view, or it can be a fearful place where they nurse their fears. When Type Eights let down their guard, they expand along their arrow of integration to Type Two where they express their warmth, tenderness, and generosity.

  • Direction of Integration = Healthy Type 2
  • Direction of Disintegration = Unhealthy Type 5

What wings can a Type 8 have?

Type 8s can also exhibit traits associated with their adjacent Enneatype. For Type 8 the adjacent Enneatypes are 7 and 9. A Type 8 can either have a Seven-wing (8w7) or a Nine-wing (8w9). With either of these wings, the Type 8 would then exhibit certain traits of that wing type.


Data: Type 8 Sexual Orientation

Survey data on Type 8 sexual orientation

We surveyed sexual orientation amongst Enneagram Type Eights.

Figure 7: Enneagram Type 8 by sexual orientation

sexual orientation

What this chart shows

This chart shows what percentage of each a particular sexual preference are Type 8. For example 7.8% of people reporting as homosexual are Type 8. This compares with 6.9% of all people who are Type 8. Homosexuals are more likely to be Type 8 than lesbians are.

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

Data: Type 8 Qualifications

Survey data on Type 8 academic qualifications

We surveyed Type 8s on their highest level of academic qualification.

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

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 8 and all types, we can see whether Type 8s are more or less likely to hold a particular qualification. We see that Type 8s are more likely than the average population to hold as their highest qualification "Degree 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.