How Each Enneagram Type Can Reduce Attentional Biases


Attentional bias refers to how a person's perception is affected by selective factors in their attention. Attentional biases may explain an individual's failure to consider alternative possibilities when occupied with an existing train of thought. All of us have the capacity to notice and shift our attentional biases, helping us become more skilled and flexible in conducting our lives.

Below I share a set of insights from an extraordinary book - The Nine Keys by Lynn Roulo - on habits of attention for each Enneagram Type. These insights can help you identify your home base type, and learn about all nine types.

In addition to pointing out the attentional patterns for each type, Ruolo offers a powerful tip on how to remedy your attention biases. If you notice that the remedy for your type is challenging, don’t worry. It’s probably a sign that you’ve correctly identified your type. Keep in mind that transforming your habits of attention is a life-long project.


Enneagram Type One Reformer’s focus their attention on what needs improvement and correction.

          A remedy? Try to see the current state of things as good enough.


Enneagram Type Two Helper’s focus their attention on other’s needs. They want to be liked and likeable.

          A remedy? Move your attention to your own needs.


Enneagram Type Three’s focus their attention on being successful in the eyes of other people, seeking approval from others. They move away from anything that might be seen as failure by others.

          A remedy? Move your attention to how you feel on the inside. 


Enneagram Type Four’s focus their attention on what’s missing, distant or unavailable. They long for what they don’t have and turn away from what they do have. 

          A remedy? Notice and express gratitude for what you do have. Pay attention to feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment.   


Enneagram Type Five’s focus their attention on maintaining self-sufficiency and avoiding demands from the outside world. This leads to disengagement from others.

          A remedy? Seek ways to extend into the world solely for the sake of creating connections with others.


Enneagram Type Six’s focus their attention on potential danger and threats to security, stepping into worst case scenario thinking.

          A remedy? Focus on more moderate potential outcomes, and what could go right in a situation.


Enneagram Type Seven’s focus their attention on what is positive, new and could be fun. They seek freedom and multiple options, and move away from negativity, resisting rules/limitations. They fear being trapped in pain, and fixate on planning and imagining a better future.

          A remedy? Face into exactly what is here now and offer it your attention, whether you assess it to be positive or negative. 


Enneagram Type Eight’s focus their attention on power. They see hierarchy and power dynamics, will challenge power and stand up for the underdog.

          A remedy? Shift attention from noticing and expressing power to your personal feelings of vulnerability and softer emotions.


Enneagram Type Nine’s focus their attention on creating harmony to the detriment of their life purpose. They move away from conflict and want everyone to get along in a happy and relaxed environment.

          A remedy? Focus on what’s most important to you, and how you can align your actions to make your purpose happen in the world.



Which of the nine types do you identified as your home base type? Does its unique pattern of attention match your life experience?

What happens if you spend a little time each day focusing on the remedy and shifting your habitual ways of patterning your attention?


Here’s a powerful way to notice your attentional biases.

  1. Consciously divide yourself into two persons, one who acts/reacts in life and one who quietly observes in the background.
  2. Using the particular remedy for your type that is described above, begin to observe yourself in life. Quietly observe where your attention goes throughout the day.
  3. At the end of each day, scan through your day and notice what you observed about your habit of attention. Take notes so you can begin to notice patterns.


The Enneagram is a profound system for understanding personality type with deep psychological and spiritual roots. The Enneagram gives insights into motivation – why you do the things you do. Motivation is a powerful driving force, and, if properly understood, offers unfathomable possibilities for deep understanding, grounded compassion and skillful action. 

If you are interested in booking a coaching session to Determine Your Type, please click here. Prior to our coaching session, you will take three tests, and I will score two of them for you (the third is automatically scored). We will then hold an hour long coaching call online to help you differentiate your top types so we can determine your home base type. Sign up today to redeem this offer for a special price of only $149 (regularly priced at $199).


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