Self Preservation 3 (A Comprehensive Guide)

This article will explain how a self preservation 3 behaves and also introduce this enneagram along with its fears and desires so the readers have a complete understanding of the topic with enough background context.

Self Preservation 3s – What Are They Like?

The self preservation 3 has the following habits or traits:

  • Financial Success
  • Aware Of Inner Deficiencies
  • Impress People – Workaholic
  • Conditional Self Esteem

Just like their wings, the type 3 enneagram has the above behaviours when they are in self preservation mode!

Who Is A Type 3 Enneagram?

A type 3 enneagram is also called the ‘Achiever’ because of their desire that drives them to accomplish the big things in life. They are very hard working; putting in much time and energy in their work in order to achieve the success they desire!

These individuals are known to be very confident and have high levels of self efficacy, determination and the will to compete with others. However, they are also concerned about how others think of them and their image in the public which is sometimes very stressful.

However, there is a dark side to these enneagrams as well! When their personality integrates, usually because their fear has taken over or they are experiencing failure at multiple fronts, the type 3 enneagram’s darker traits come to life.

If they are insecure and feel humiliated, they will try to ensure that others do not succeed either so that others feel it was the situation that caused the failure and not the person themself. If it gets serious, they can become obsessive with ruining things for others especially if it reminds them of what they could not achieve. If they can’t have happiness then no one should!

These individuals are extremely conscious of how they appear to others and if they feel under-recognized they will make desperate attempts to grab the attention of others. They will develop a habit of exhibitionisn and arrogant talk that is centered around their strengths and successes.

These people love when they have to meet new people and win over them! They are the ideal influencers you want on your team and this is because they are not only self aware but very ambitious to achieve what they have set out for! These people possess the traits that are necessary to be someone who is persuasive and compelling.

Basic Desire.

The basic desire of an Achiever is to feel valuable and worthy of attention. They want others to know about their achievements and appreciate them or show them recognition in some way. People with this type usually define the term success according to others views and opinions and they work towards this so called success to gain respect and status in the society. At their best, fulfilling their desire of being the top performer, type 3s are well known and regarded amongst their peers and they are considered sources of inspiration. This is exactly what the achiever desires. At this point, they encourage others and help them move towards their dreams.

Basic Fear.

The basic fear of type 3 enneagrams arises from not achieving what they desire deeply. They want to be worthy of the love and recognition of others; they want to achieve great things that benefit or impress people and hence be celebrated by them. However, deep down, they have this fear that they may fail and not achieve their dreams or successes and this scares and depresses them especially when others are excelling in their life and the eyes of others. This inculcates a sense of jealousy in type 3 enneagrams.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Self Preservation 3s – What Are They Like?

The self preservation 3 has the following habits or traits:

Financial Success

One of the most important things for the type 3 enneagram when they are in self preservation mode is the material success that surrounds them; to be more specific they are relieved when they have earned financial success and believe that is the only way to protect themself. People will love them if they can prove they are financially successful and hence they are under this delusion. 

They will work very hard and focus all their energies and time either in their business or job that can generate financial returns for them. They often lose their health and important relations in such a lifestyle and hence they later attract people who love their achievements and not them actually.

However, as stated by a number of researchers, it is now difficult to differentiate between an individual who is another type and a type 3 enneagram because nowadays due to the new culture especially existing in the United States, every other person is in the rat race for making more and more money. Everyone is becoming extremely materialistic and that is how they judge themselves and others.

Aware Of Inner Deficiencies

The drive to be financially successful is because the type 3 enneagram is aware of the deficiencies in them; they may have grown up in an environment where they were financially unstable or grew up in much poverty and hence developed a need and desire for money. They may have associated their undesirable situation with a lack of money and not a lack of opportunities and hard work.

Hence, these individuals may be outwardly successful in terms of wealth but inside they are being controlled by the poverty they once went through and that is one of the major driving forces that compels them to work more and more to earn more and more.

This can be seen in many people who go on to achieve much in their later life but they rethink about their past problems and focus much of their attention on them; some people may work towards the diseases they saw in their past that created hardships for them and open a charity or hospital to treat such diseases. Hence, they are powered by the past events of their life that put them into misery or difficulty.

Impress People – Workaholic

One belief that the enneagram type 3 has is that once they are successful and have financial proof then people will love them and not their financial achievements – this is a delusional belief that they and many other people have.

Both men and women suffer from this problem especially if they become aware of the other possibility where the people in their life may not love them but their achievements. When it comes to women, they are either suspicious or confused because they generally are made to believe that men are intimidated by strong and powerful women – this is worsened if a woman is made to doubt her worth and focus more on her sexuality rather than her individuality.

Men, on the other hand, often face the issue where women are attracted more to their achievements rather than the man himself. Hence, if he ever loses the material wealth that does surround him then he also loses the woman or people in his life that came along with it. Though this is true, some men may become more than needed paranoid!

Conditional Self Esteem

The type 3 enneagram pushes themself to work more and more because they have developed a conditional self concept where they will only consider good of themself if they are earning a certain amount or have amassed a certain amount of wealth.

Become Distracted

Type 3 enneagrams may be seen to start losing their health as well as the people who were once in their life and this is because they are distracted by their end goal of making more and more money so they become independent and worthy of love and recognition. 

Over time they will lose the energy and strength they once had to work hard enough to earn the money they always wanted to have but they will be left helpless – unless they take care of their health and make the time for it. Furthermore, they may later realize that they do not have the same people in their life; it is possible they may be surrounded by new people however it is likely that most of these people are after wealth and not the person.


This article took a look at the self preservation 3 enneagram and discussed the traits it exhibits. The article also highlighted this enneagram’s fears and desires and introduced it in detail to the readers.


Enneagram Central – Self Preservation Threes

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