The Type 1 is called the Perfectionist or the Reformer. If this is your habit of attention, you already know you are the person we turn to when we need practical solutions. 

Efficient, no-nonsense, and action-oriented, you solve tangible problems by implementing structure, planning, and organization. Fair-minded and inclusive, you are often the force behind social change and issues of equality. When in balance, your primary values are truth and justice, and we appreciate that you have a deep sense of personal responsibility and act as though you answer to a higher authority. Your personal integrity, diligence, and determination are observable, and we love you for it. 

But when operating in the mid and low levels of self-awareness, you can become rigid in your thinking and inflexible in your opinions. You become emotionally contained, close-minded, detached, and at times robotic with workaholic tendencies. You lose touch with your kindness and compassion, and as your inner critic becomes louder and harsher, you respond by becoming even more hard-working and serious. 

Relaxing can be hard and that’s why it may be a surprise to hear, we don’t just need you to relax. To be your highest and best version of yourself, we need you to play. 

What is play?

“Play” is engaging in an activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than for a serious or practical purpose. 

Why play?

Let’s explore 5 reasons Type 1s can benefit from less work and more play.

1. It helps to quiet down your inner critic.

Your inner critic is loud, and it is probably the central obstacle that blocks you from sustained happiness. From how you make the bed in the morning to how you craft an email to your boss, that voice in your head is relentless, beating you up for all the things you could be doing more “correctly.”  The rest of us don’t really appreciate how harsh your self-talk can be.  

But when you play, the critic has nothing to say. Play can’t be done correctly because if you are doing it right, it is goofy, pointless, and enjoyable. You remove the ammunition from your inner critic when you engage in proper play.  

If you need help remembering how to play, let toddlers be your teachers. Scooping sand, playing with clay, stacking blocks and watching them fall - this is all play. Play can be more sophisticated  too, like a free-form pottery class, throwing paint on a blank canvas or flying a kite. Just make sure it isn't too intellectual or skill oriented. The play we ask from you is messy, pointless, and lots of fun.

2. It is a form of meditation.

Did you know that belly laughter can have the same neurological effects as meditation? When you laugh so hard your belly hurts, your mind can’t actually process thoughts, and you enter what is equivalent to a meditative state. Book a “laughter yoga” or “laughter meditation” class and try it for yourself. Or go the more traditional route and go to a comedy club with an entertainer you know you like. Laughter is good for your health and if you are a Type 1, it is extra important for you to shut down your relentlessly noisy mind.

3. It helps you access your feelings.

If you are like most Type 1s, you are a deeply compassionate person who truly cares about others. But not everyone experiences you this way because in your drive to be efficient and correct, you inadvertently push the emotional world to the side. Like a freeway on-ramp with limited space for merging cars, until efficiency and correctness are flowing smoothly, the emotional world is forced to wait in line. This makes you unavailable for emotional issues and that’s a shame. We know you have a big heart. When you play, you soften a bit and relax some of your rigid thinking. The need for efficiency won’t feel so dire, and a bit of daily play can bump the world of feelings up a few spaces in the traffic line. Improvement still might get first position, but the emotional world won’t be left far behind.

4. It helps foster connection with others.

While we love your ability to solve problems, sometimes you seem remote, distracted, and unavailable for the human side of life. When you goof around with us, we see your humanity and connect with you on a deeper level. Wrestling with the dog, playing tag with the kids, dancing around the house with your boyfriend, these are all ways to play that help you connect to us on a more heartfelt level. We already know you care but when you play with us, we feel seen.

5. Play helps you access the best version of you.

Your growth path is to go from critical mind to curious mind, and eventually to compassionate mind. In your compassionate state of being, you see perfection in imperfection and are able to leave things just as they are. It’s a long journey, but you can accelerate the process by adding more play to your life. With play in all its various forms comes curiosity which is often the first step towards compassion.

For a serious minded Type 1, play can feel like a challenging task. But the Enneagram reminds us, Type 1 has a connection to Type 7, the Enthusiast. In an expansive state, Type 1s move towards Type 7 and adopt some of the Type 7 traits like playfulness, positivity, and enthusiasm. Many Type 1s have this experience when they go on vacation and leave their normal life behind. They give themselves permission to have fun, sleep late, eat wrong, and so forth. If you are a Type 1 struggling with play, try to remember all the times in your past when you’ve let your hair down, laughed until you cried, or had an adventure you didn’t plan. This is all play. 

Now, go have fun!

Go here to learn more about the growth path for Type 1.

Lynn Roulo
Lynn Roulo is an Enneagram instructor and Kundalini Yoga teacher who teaches a unique combination of the two systems, combining the physical benefits of Kundalini Yoga with the psychological growth tools of the Enneagram. She has written two books combining the two systems. Headstart for Happiness, her first book is an introduction to the systems. The Nine Keys, her second book, focuses on the two systems in intimate relationships. Learn more about Lynn and her work here at