Eights are defined by their desire to be powerful and to avoid any vulnerability. They present a confident, assertive, and decisive image to others. Eights can be argumentative and intimidating; it is important to them to stand up for what they believe in and to protect those who are weaker than themselves.

Eights fear being vulnerable and powerless more than anything, and cope with this fear by always being strong and in control.

Defining Characteristics of the Enneagram Type 8

  • Independent and self-sufficient
  • Fierce and certain look
  • Determination and stamina
  • Very energetic and busy
  • Fiery passions and power
  • Stubborn and headstrong
  • Serious about control over environment

Not sure if you're an Enneagram Type 8? Take our free Enneagram test.

What are Challengers like?

Goal-oriented and self-competent, challengers trail blaze boldly through all walks of life and take great pride in their independence and sharp minds. They hold their heads up high and will pick themselves right back up after each stumble—stronger than before. As children, they may have been called ‘bossy’ by peers. They typically take charge during group projects or meetings and find themselves at ease in leadership positions. The opinions of others will have absolutely no effect on their standings upon an issue, as they pride themselves on being fully capable and self-sufficient.

What are the Challenger’s core values?

Competence, influence, power and control—Challengers crave respect as opposed to status or being liked by the group. Challengers are set to make an impact, and won’t back down. They pride themselves on their strength, honesty and the truth. Challengers also possess an extremely strong inner sense of justice. Loyalty also plays a major role in Challengers’ value system. They’re devoted to those who have proven themselves over time and will stand by them until the end—through hell and high water. When danger comes and their loved ones are in trouble, the Challenger will confidently stretch their wings to protect them.

How can I recognize a Type 8?

Naturally accustomed to leadership roles, the Challenger makes their presence known and carries an aura of confidence and self-assuredness in their speech and walk. They typically believe in the mantra of creating your own luck and work very hard to make things happen, no questions asked. Challengers are ruthlessly independent are unafraid of confrontation, which can get them into major trouble at times. They naturally butt heads with authority, especially when met with the classic, “You must do this, because I told you so.” Respect is earned through reason and competency, and not through age or status.

What are Challengers like under different levels of health?

At healthy levels: Challengers can be a champion of ideas for those who are oppressed. They’re strong and confident leaders who can be the backbone and driving force for causes and communities. Their energy and commitment to improve upon society and themselves blossoms into new gardens where Challengers can sow their seeds with care. To close friends and family members, Challengers are generous and intensely loving individuals who freely offer refuge and advice. When they learn to develop their caring side, gratitude and joy emerges from their core selves. With this newfound sense of tenderness, Challengers become aware of others’ needs and will freely drop the ‘tough’ persona.

At average levels: Challengers are competitive and may view friendships or business relations as a battlefield, always looking for the next challenge to win. They’re assertive and stubborn, but also self-confident and competent. During their down time, they critically evaluate their actions and work towards self-improvement. They avoid showing vulnerability, which can be a roadblock for connection and intimacy. Doing so would demonstrate weakness, which is absolutely unacceptable in their books. As a result, they can be seen as highly ambitious yet intimidating by peers. Their confidence and stamina lifts them to new heights, with each failure serving as a kick for more effort.

At unhealthy levels: Challengers can become tyrannical and intimidating, scaring others off at first glance. They become addicted to the pursuit of power, and will destroy anything blocking their way with fury. The feelings and emotions of others become insignificant, as they become blindfolded to the softer side of the human psyche. When their delusions of power get out of hand, Challengers become stone-cold and take an antagonistic stand to anyone who dares to question them and their motives. They may use empty threats to regain power over others and turn existing relationships into tests—where one can only pass or fail. Others may turn their backs on Challengers, who will reason that they were better off working alone. In the end, they may force themselves into loneliness.