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Q:  I can't tell if I'm a Three or a Seven on the Enneagram.  They both seem to describe me.  How can I tell them apart?

A:  They are quite similar in outward appearance and behavior, but the motivation is quite different.  Three is far more competitive and focused on success, where Seven is far less competitive and focused on fun.  Three can stay at one activity for a long time, if it will get them to their goal.  Seven is more likely to get bored with one activity, and want to do other things, regardless of goals.

Threes push to succeed in activities, looking for external approval, which drives their self-esteem.  Sevens' self-esteem is usually already quite positive, and far more inner directed (not taking their cues from others) so the driving force behind activities is more about the sheer experiences themselves.

Threes are prepared to get in the trenches and do the work, as hard as it might be, in order to reap the rewards.  Sevens prefer to envision the work and have others perform it, while they move on to new ideas.

Threes are more linear thinkers; relating more to cause and effect.  Sevens are more inter-relational thinkers; relating more to synthesizing from diverse concepts.

Threes' linear thinking tends to make them more pragmatic and practical.  Sevens' inter-relational thinking tends to make them more impractical and pie-in-the-sky dreamers.

Threes tend to focus on the present and the task at hand.  Sevens tend to focus on the future and on fun plans for that future.

Threes are less likely to look back in anger about something and want vengeance. What is in the past doesn't serve their goals, or accomplish anything.  Sevens can combine their Six Wing's interest in making others safe, their own interest in fun plans for the future, and their Eight Wing's attitude toward vengeance, to spin fun, justifiable plots against the wrongdoers. It's not too likely these will be implemented, but it's fun to think about them.

Threes look at a commitment for completing a project or deadline as a positive, comfortable, absolute goal.  Sevens look at a commitment for completing a project or deadline as being locked down and limited. They really see the "dead" in deadline.

To potentially oversimplify: Threes go to the store to buy something.  Sevens go shopping.

 

 

 

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