The Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras believed that the essence of everything—from music to the cosmos—is expressible in numbers. In his continuing quest to measure life, he developed Western numerology. Simply stated, this practice is a way of understanding the world through numbers. A popular part of numerology is the Life Path number, which is derived from a formula that turns your birth date into a single digit. Numerology is kind of like astrology in that it is based on your bday.

It's called the Life Path number because it describes the nature of your journey through life. In addition to your personality traits, your life number can provide insight into how you think, what role you tend to play among family and friends, and the major lessons you're here to learn. Above all, your Life Number suggests what your life's greater purpose is, which is also where you'll find your greatest challenges.

How to Calculate Your Life Path Number

The correct way to calculate the Life Path number is to first add the month, day, and year individually. Add any double digits together to make a single before adding them all together.

For example, say your birthday is January 28th, 1984, or 01-28-1984. First add the month digits: 0+1=1. Then, add the day: 2+8=10. Since 10 is a double-digit, we add 1+0 to get another 1. Then we add the year: 1+9+8+4=22. Again, we want to reduce this double-digit number to single digits: 2+2=4. Finally, we take the single digits and add them all together (1+1+4) to get the Life Path number 6. If you get a double-digit number here, just reduce it again so you end up with a number between one and nine. Allergic to math? Use this numerology calculator. Like the Enneagram, no number is better than another—they're not ranked or anything.

Once you've done the calculations, read on to find out what your Life Path number means.

1 Life Path: The Leader

The pioneer, the innovator, the natural-born leader, Steve Jobs was a prime example of a 1 Life Path. You're a hardworking, action-oriented achiever who thrives in competitive situations. Self-motivated and autonomous, you value your independence as well as your individuality. Sometimes this energy can come off as narcissistic, self-serving, selfish, and egotistical. You tend to attract followers as business and romantic partners, but you really need an equal.

Your purpose as well as your challenge is to develop the self-confidence to let your creativity shine. When negative self-talk makes you feel unworthy, it can manifest as defensiveness, aggression, or anger. Honing your expertise will make you feel more self-assured.

2 Life Path: The Mediator

As intuitive as you are diplomatic, you're all about developing love, cooperation, and harmony. Your true gift is a strong sense of self, yet you're compelled to help out as part of a group. You shy away from the spotlight, preferring instead to work behind the scenes. Detail-oriented isn't BS on your resume.

Being this sensitive is draining, and is a constant battle for balance. Giving so much (sometimes without a "thank you") can make you resentful. Set boundaries to avoid over-giving and becoming withdrawn.

Instead of constantly seeking acknowledgment and approval from others, turn inward for that love, validation, and adoration. Speaking of love, you've been accused of looking for it in all the wrong places. This could be because of your unrealistic understanding of what love really is. Take care not to lose your identity when you do enter into a relationship. Your true purpose lies in service, loving-kindness, and healthy emotional and physical self-care. Stay centered in this purpose to avoid becoming childish, blunt, or combative.

3 Life Path: The Communicator

The 3 Life Path lives for creativity, communication, and connection. You love to perform for an audience, whether that be in the classroom or on stage. If you are a teacher, it's probably not in the traditional sense because you're not great with structure or supervision. You're so intelligent and good at everything you try that you have a hard time deciding what to do. Figure it out, because if you're not using your talents, you may become depressed and/or experience mood swings. Once you realize you have emotions, like intense self-doubt and insecurity, you have to learn how to express them.

You have a zest for life. Ever the entertainer, your witty cleverness makes you good company, while your natural nurturing side makes you a fabulous host. In relationships, you're a loyal romantic, but be wary of attracting "takers". You have a hard time letting go of past loves and can't help thinking about what could've, should've, would've been. Remember, no one wins the blame game. When you're vibing on your 3 Life Path you are not only dynamic and emotionally balanced, but you're also expressive, inspiring, joyful, and self-assured.

4 Life Path: The Rock

"Proper planning prevents poor performance" is the 4 Life Path's motto. Your innate ability to view things through the lens of practicality and common sense makes you amazingly organized. Honest, trustworthy, strong, and stable, Fours are some of the most down-to-earth people on the planet. Whether building or fixing something, hardworking Fours diligently focus on service. You dutifully carry out orders with dedication and perseverance, but that willpower can also come off as obstinacy. Make no mistake, once Fours have made up their minds they can be quite dogmatic. Shallow people are a big turnoff, and you have a hard time letting in anyone new. Once they're in though, they're a friend for life.

While proper has its place, Fours could learn to loosen up and have a little fun. They can get caught up in their day-to-day routines and miss the forest for the trees. Love and happiness are just as important as duty, dude.

5 Life Path: The Freedom Seeker

Fives aren't on a path, they're on an adventure! You crave unrestrained freedom, not just for you, but for everyone else. As compassionate as they are curious, Fives crave constant change. Variety is the spice of life, and Fives will not be caught dead eating a bland dish of same, routine, or boring. Your good communication skills and an innate ability to motivate others are your strongest assets. You could sell ice to an Eskimo.

While you have many talents, your lack of direction results in confused ambition. Restless, discontent, and impulsive, Fives may bounce from job to job without really accomplishing anything. In your pursuit of the next thing, you may ignore responsibilities at work or at home. Indulging yourself in an unhealthy, hedonistic way can lead you to become completely unaware of how others feel. In order to truly be fulfilled, you will have to learn how to commit.

6 Life Path: The Nurturer

You've got a huge, sympathetic, and kind heart that you use to spread love all over the place. In order to be happy, you must feel useful. Six is the domestic number and your role is to serve others, starting at home. Compassionate, reliable, and trustworthy, you live for family and friends. As a natural nurturer, your maternal/paternal instincts make you the default caretaker at home and at work. You're always there with advice, support, or a helping hand. Those on the 6 Life Path are also known as protectors and humanitarians, acting as a beacon of truth, justice, and righteousness. This can express itself as self-righteousness as Sixes expose and impose their viewpoints on unsuspecting innocents. Part perfectionist, part visionary, you must find ways to constructively channel your exceptional creativity. Although critical of themselves and others, modesty and humility don't come easily to Sixes.

Compassionate, reliable, and trustworthy, people on this Life Path make loyal and devoted partners. As a caregiver, you attract weaker partners who need you. That's fine as long as they don't rock the boat. All you need is a stress-free, harmonious relationship. You approach life with wisdom, balance, and understanding. Watch out for toxic users who will exploit your kindness and generosity!

Your life's purpose (and therefore challenge) is to assume responsibility and lead by example, but you have a tendency to become controlling and to get overwhelmed. You are such a control freak that you have a hard time taking instructions from others, so most likely work for yourself. Recognize that your needs are just as important as others' and practice some self-love!

7 Life Path: The Thinker

Ever the detective, you have a gift for investigation, analysis, and keen observation. You evaluate situations swiftly and accurately. The number 7 represents contemplation and being alone, and you are quite happy with your own company. Insatiably inquisitive, you enjoy getting to the bottom of life's mysteries. You're a highly intelligent perfectionist who won't accept any less from others. You may appear aloof, but really you're in observation mode. However, you can come off as shallow when you focus on the petty.

While you may be great at understanding life's mysteries, human desires are a whole other story. Read some Brené Brown because you are missing out on the magic of vulnerability, my friend. Your communication style could use some work, too. We're not all as cerebral as you!

Since you live in your head, you tend to overthink everything. Because you are so analytical, you may have trouble embracing your intuition. As you seek truth and knowledge, learn to have faith in yourself and in others. Your path is to get to know yourself. For this, your prescription is meditation, nature, and self-care.

8 Life Path: The Executive

Money money money money, money! We are living in a material world and you are a material girl. Often involved in business and politics (since that's where they keep the moolah and power) Life Path Eights are often very successful. Ambitious and goal-oriented, your achievements are all due to your hard work. It's not all about financial security though, it's also about recognition, status, control, and authority.

You know how to manage yourself and others, which makes you an inspirational leader. Avoid becoming a dictator by listening to other's opinions.

Even if you're head-over-heels in love you have to be mindful and make an effort to show affection. Eights can be workaholics to the point of neglecting their relationships and mental health. Stress and addiction can cause physical problems too. You've got to be resilient on the path to financial abundance—it's an intense journey that requires discipline, wisdom, and fortitude. Use your power for good and give some of that money away!

9 Life Path: The Humanitarian

Trustworthy, honorable, tolerant, loving, and deeply connected to their inner wisdom, this path is an amalgamation of the rest. Your life's purpose is to inspire others with your compassion for humanity. Your philosophical journey involves learning how to give and receive. Let others when you need help—no one can tell because you're doing such a good job of holding it together.

Nines are incredibly charismatic. You make friends easily thanks to your open, upbeat, gregarious, and magnetic personality. You do tend to get in your feelings though. You may express these emotions through the arts as a painter, writer, actor, comedian, or musician. You're probably not stacking bills since you have a lackadaisical, easy-come, easy-go attitude about money. Don't date a Life Path 8—your generosity will just piss them off.

Do you feel out of place? Life Path Nines often have issues with their original families that require emotional and physical boundaries. Let it go! Engage your spiritual side and listen to your intuition. Strive to achieve and maintain a sense of balance and perspective.

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