Mitt Romney Is an Enneagram Three – What That Means

I’ve been wondering what the Enneagram numbers are of our two candidates and what they means about our choices in the election. Although you’re not supposed to pin a number on another person, when someone is as much in the public eye as a presidential nominee, it’s pretty clear to Enneagram experts what number they are. So I asked around in the Enneagram community and found out that they’re a consensus on Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama’s numbers.

Mitt Romney is a Three. Other famous Threes in politics are George Washington, Bill Clinton, and Condoleezza Rice.

So I asked Suzanne Stabile*, my personal Enneagram guru, to write up something about Threes, and here’s what she sent in:

Thanks to Tony for the invite to share some Enneagram wisdom about Threes.  It is always a gift for me to talk about this great spiritual tool and all that it has to teach us about ourselves while challenging us to see others as they are rather than as we are.  Threes are ambitious, self-confident, success oriented, image conscious and focused.  The United States is the symbolic country of the Three so we all have a bit of Three in us and in some parts of the country; in Dallas, if one is a Three it’s like being an alcoholic who lives above the bar.  Dallas is consumed with image, media, status and success.

Threes along with Sixs and Nines are the primary types of the Enneagram. They represent the core fixations at the heart of the human condition.  In that sense they are universal.  Healthy Threes embody ideal qualities that most of us respect and hope to emulate. They are optimistic and generous and likeable, but they are hard to know. When they take on leadership roles they usually have no desire to dominate or enforce an abstract ideal; which is to say they generally lead from the heart and work for something they truly believe in.

Enneagram teaching connects each of the nine personality types to a passion. The passions are comprised of the seven deadly sins plus two. The passion of the Three is deceit, which is not actually lying. It is the Three’s desire to be the poster child for whatever organization they represent: the ideal candidate for a political party, the ideal father, the perfect multi-tasking mother, top insurance salesman, mega church pastor…the list is endless. Threes find out what is desired by their “audience” and then they become that.  To them it is about giving us what we want. The problem is they sometimes lose touch with who they really are.

This ability to alter again and again leads Threes to be more cynical and suspicious than other numbers. Since they are able to subtly and even unconsciously change their self-presentation to appeal to a particular person or audience, they naturally think we can do the same.

Threes pursue their goals with determination. They are good at networking and they are socially competent. When they are stressed and immersed in doing, they can become glib and superficial.

Success guides Threes, and without it they are unable to believe in themselves which renders them unable to believe in others as well. In these times there may be some confusion about image and substance and the relationship between reality and appearance. Their orientation to time is the future so they are always looking ahead to the next task and if there is no well-defined goal they find themselves without energy and direction. Threes are prone to self-promotion and interest promotion. They are good at selling what and who they believe in. In learning to make it their business to become what others find valuable they are the prototype of American success: aggressive, trendy, smart, efficient, effective and energetic. They would rather say too little than too much and while they sometimes make enemies in the forward rush, they apologize later.

Threes want to be affirmed. They like attention and want to distinguish themselves from others.  They want to be admired and they often are.

S0, as a voter, you can make of that what you will. Coming on Wednesday: Barack Obama’s Enneagram number.

*If you’re interested in learning more about the Enneagram, I strongly urge you to download Suzanne’s “Know Your Number” workshop, or any of her other teachings.

  • Marshall

    Anyagrams??? …. see you around ….

  • Frank

    Why not consult astrology, a psychic, some tarot cards and hold a seance?

  • Sofia

    The first two commenters clearly know nothing about the Enneagram, and, unfortunately for them, it sounds like they won’t even explore the topic. The Enneagram (though ancient) is of the Myers Briggs variety, not the tell-your-future realm. Many highly successful leaders in the business and faith worlds are well-versed in Enneagram knowledge.

    Thanks for this post, Tony and Suzanne. I look forward to the next.

    • Frank

      I understand completely. It has nothing to do with Christ.

      • Sofia

        The Enneagram actually pre-dates Jesus. Good luck in your world, Frank.

        • Ted Seeber

          And thus, wouldn’t it be pagan?

      • RickD

        Frank, I know you like to hang out here and stir up controversy (I think in your mind it’s ‘speak the truth’), but what are you talking about today? I share your passion for Christ, although we see the world quite differently. However, my commitment to Christ doesn’t mean that nothing else matters or is worth talking about. My car doesn’t have anything to do with Christ either, but I still would rather drive to work than walk 7 miles.

        In your mind, is there any value to anything other than Christ? Does the possibility exist that one might find truth in other places as well? Have you ever taken a personality test? Do you think there might be some value in learning about ourselves?

        • Frank

          Simply, no to the first two and yes to the last two. There is no basis in fact or science behind Enneagrams.

          Being a Christian is trusting Christ alone.

          • RickD

            You contradict yourself. You say, “There is no basis in fact or science behind Enneagrams.” The next words you say are “Being a Christian is trusting Christ alone.”

            If being a Christian means trusting Christ alone, then why appeal to fact or science? If Christ is the only source of truth, then who cares what science says?

        • Ted Seeber

          You drive 7 miles? Don’t you know how bad that is for global warming?

  • http://www.systemsthinker.com/interests/mind/enneagram.shtml Enneagram Writer

    I’ve always felt Obama is a 9. As for Romney, I can see him being a 3, though I also would consider if he might be a 6.

  • Marsha Gibbons

    Very interesting! It would be a great study to try and determine the number for all past presidents. Someone has probably done this. While on the subject, what number is Joe Biden?

  • Gary Lyn

    Uh, how do you know he is a 3. Is there a test or instrument that he has filled out and been scored to indicate where he falls on the Enneagram. Or has the author “filled out the instrument” for Mr. Romney, assigned him a number, and then proceeds to talk about what this reveals about him.
    I don’t know the Enneagram. I know people who do and find meaning in it. But this process of assigning a number and commenting on that person based on the number assigned is outlandish.

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  • Ted Seeber

    Why is it when people reject historical orthodox Christianity, they end up wandering in the waters of paganism?

  • http://www.marciglass.com Marci Glass

    Thanks for this. Very helpful.
    I had the privilege to take a workshop with Suzanne this summer and I highly recommend it. It was a delight to spend time with her and I learned so much about myself and others.

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