The desire to live a simple and joyful life is hardwired into all of us, but it manifests itself differently in different people—and that’s okay.
Recently I became aware of an awesome personality test called the Enneagram. In the past I have taken many other tests such as the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, the DISC Assessment, and Strengthsfinder.
The results of these tests have taught me a great deal about myself, and I am grateful for their impact on my life. The Enneagram, however, struck me as a unique approach to personality types that invites you to go deeper and discover your core fears, need and motivations. Not something that may sound like much fun, but it is most definitely worth looking into.
The astounding thing that sets that Enneagram apart is that it addresses your personality type on a spectrum, identifying your typical behaviors when you are healthy, average, and unhealthy.
This has been such a major eye-opener for me, as I can recognize when I am slipping into the more “unhealthy” side of my personality, and change course. Although we all have the same deep needs, the way we express them through our unique personality can vary in innumerable ways.
For example, I discovered I am an Enneagram Type Seven. This type is called the “Generalist”, or the “Enthusiast”. Sevens immerse themselves in activity and acquisition, whether it be of new experiences or new material items.
Sevens can also be quite impulsive. As you can imagine, this can be tricky for a minimalist. At times I have such a strong urge to purchase something with the idea that it will bring me true happiness, and it can be very difficult to talk myself out of it once I have decided that I “need” this item in my life.
Now that I have learned about personality types in general, it occurred to me that we all have different motivations and desires that we are trying to fulfill as minimalists or people seeking to simplify. We also approach minimalism in different ways based on these motivations and needs.
5 Types of Minimalist Personality
Below are five different minimalist “personality” types based on my simple observations. These are by no means scientific, but they may give you a better understanding of where you fit, what is driving you toward a more simple life, and how you may want to go about it.
The Sage Minimalist
This individual approaches life with a profound sense of spirituality and wisdom, and wants to make sure that everything in their life is something that they can appreciate and savor. They appreciate natural beauty and quality crafted items, but they know that the only way to truly be full of gratitude is to slow down and pay attention. You can usually find them hiking up a mountain, sitting in silence, or enjoying a slow, thoughtfully prepared meal with friends.
The Rebel Minimalist
This individual is motivated by a desire to snub their nose in the face of the materialistic, consumer culture. They have met the Jones’, and they have no interest in making friends or keeping up. They see their minimalist ideals as a way to make a statement about life as it is and as it should be, and hopefully shine a light on how much things need to change. You can find them living it up in a tiny house, traveling the country and enjoying a nomadic lifestyle, and following their passions wherever they may lead.
The Fed Up Minimalist
This minimalist is simply fed up with the piles of stuff and stress in their lives. They have tried the “typical” life, and have had enough of being exhausted, burnt out, and surrounded by a ton of stuff that they don’t want or need. These individuals usually decide to make a radical lifestyle change, one their friends and family may not fully understand. You can usually find them cleaning out rooms in their house, talking about downsizing and Marie Kondo, and selling as much of their stuff as possible in the front yard or on Craigslist.
The Ethical Minimalist
This individual cares a great deal about how their personal choices affect the world around them, and want to make decisions that have a positive impact. They have chosen a minimalist lifestyle to reduce their effect on the environment and free up their budget and time so they can help others and give to causes that mean something to them. You can usually find them organizing for their favorite cause, shopping for ethical items with local vendors, and maybe even tooling around in their own garden.
The Money Wise Minimalist
This individual sees how much good can be accomplished with money, and how much is needlessly spent trying to keep up with the constant demand of their own wants. They desire be free—from debt and any other financial obligations so that they can live the life of their dreams, and give to others. You will usually find these minimalists talking about the latest budgeting app, booking travel at unbelievable discounts, and sharing with you about their favorite charity.
No matter which type you most identify with, it’s important to remember that if it brings you joy, it is worth pursuing. Don’t give up! Remember why you chose this path, and move forward knowing you are doing the right thing for you.