Conscientiousness is one of the five personalities listed in the Big Five personality traits. It sits alongside openenss, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism and is thought to be an important aspect to ones personality.
As with all of the other personality traits listed above, it is a spectrum trait. That means that we are all to some degree conscientious, although for some it might barely be noticeable. That also means that it can be build up over time. More on that later in the article!
Conscientiousness also has several aspects accociated with it. These are namely industriousness, self-control and orderliness.
Despite being a personality trait that is a high predictor of success, it is often misundersood by people. What does it actually mean to be a conscientiousness person?
A conscientiousness individual is characterized by their ability to plan their goals, and havev the self-discipline necessary to ensure they achieve those goals. They are excellent at self regulating and organizing themselves.
They are the opposite of those who are impulsive and live a life filled with chaos. A conscientiousness person won’t just set a goal, they will set a deadline for each step required to achieve that goal. They are able to forgo short term pleasures, and instead work towards long term gains!
I myself am not necessarily an organized person, and to people like me those with a high degree of conscientiousness might be seen as superhuman workmachines. It is their incredible ability to be so productive and work so efficiently that make them seem almost alien.
As I have mentioned before, conscientiousness is a good indicator of long term success. There are several reasons for this.
Why Is Conscientiousness A Success Oriented Personality Trait?
Responsibility plays a big factor in the life of a conscientiousness person. Having some personal responsibility will get you a long way in life. Personal responsibility doesn’t just mean that we pay our bills on time or get out of bed at the correct hour.
Instead it is found in every aspect of life. Make sure that you are punctual when you have a meeting with colleagues or clients. Make sure that you own up to the mistakes that you made. Be flexible and be open to change. Don’t rely on other people all the time.
They are typically persistent people. A persistent person is someone who continues their course of action despite the fact that they face difficulty and opposition or fail. They will keep at it no matter what!
I think this is a somewhat oversimplified way of explaining what a smart persistant individual is. I believe that persistence is all about having a vision or a goal, and you work relentlessly to achieve that goal. That said, being persistence is not about the path you take, but about reaching your end goal!
Often times we take courses of action that do not get us any closer to our dreams. It would be unwise to keep following that plan of action! Instead we find another method to reach our goals! That is what persistance is!
Be relentless in pursuing your goal, but be flexible in your path to get there!
A conscientiousness person will make use of the 4 types of goals. As I have mentioned above, they are excellent planners, and simply cannot live without it! Of course this means that they know what they want out of life, and the only way to plan for this is to set all the types of goals there are.
They set liftime goals, which are goals that your entire lifes work builds towards. It is the last goal you wish to accomplish, like becoming CEO of a company, or retiring while healthy! A conscientiousness person will also set milestone goals, which are very long term goals that have to be reached in order to achieve your lifetime goals.
Then there are the classic short and long term goals, which I am sure you are familiar with.
I wrote a dedicated article going much more in depth of these 4 types of goals. if you feel like this information could help you out in anyway, make sure to check it our here!
They are able to forgo short term pleasure for long term gain! There is nothing in life that will waste your time more and set your progress back further than short term pleasure. A conscientiousness person is very aware of this fact. Hence they will chose to avoid short term rewards in favour of long term benefits.
They are the type of people who will skip out on a party to study more, or work on another hobby. For them that party has no added benefit to the future in any way. Since it doesn’t help them reach their goals, they avoid it. Instead they will spend their time and effort on activities that will have a positive influencee on them later in life.
A conscientiousness individual is focused on their purpose and passions. Focus is an integral part of success. Like persistancy, having focus ensures that you are always working on tasks that benefit you. It is impossible to achieve your goals if you don’t focus on them.
Make sure you check out my guide to increasing your focus!
How To Increase Conscientiousness?
1. Determine Your Current Level Of Conscientiousness
Whenever you try to improve something in life, you must have an idea of the skills and knowledge that you already possess. Once we know this, we can start to build upon our foundation.
Figuring out exactly how conscientious you are isn’t difficult, and can be determined via a set of questions. Ask questions like:
- Do you plan your day?
- Is your room clean and organized?
- Do you make analyzed situations before you make an important decision or do you go with your feelings?
- Do you forgo short term pleasure in favor of long term reward?
If you have answered yes to all of those questions, then chances are that you rank quite high on the conscientiousness scale! Maybe you were able to answer yes to most, but not all. In that case you know exaclty what area you need to put focus on!
2. Get Organized
As I mentioned in the introduction, one aspect of conscientiousness is orderliness. The idea behind this is if your life is in order, you are able to focus all your time and effort on that which gets you to achieve your goals.
On the contrary, if you live your life in chaos, then productivity will suffer, you will be more prone to procrastination and a lot of other negative effects.
Getting organized doesn’t have to be as difficult as it might seem.
Plan your upcoming day. One of the easiest ways to give some structure to your life is to make sure that you have your days planned out. That way you can immediatly get to work doing something productive. Giving yourself some kind of direction is a great way to start to the day and will ensure you get the things done that you need and want!
Create personal deadlines for yourself. It is no secret that a lot of people work better when they are under the stress of a deadline. If you are able to set deadlines for yourself, then chances are you will not only work harder, but you will naturally gravitate towards a more organized lifestyle. After all, how will you set and keep track of these deadlines? You will have to create an organized schedule so you make sure that you don’t lose track!
In the near future I will write a dedicated article on all the best ways to organize yourself and how to stay organized! If you are interested in such an article, make sure you keep an eye on my most recent posts and archived articles!
3. Create Conscientious Habits
Whenever we try to learn something new, we have to make sure we stick to it! This is arguably the hardest aspect of improving on a personality trait!
One of the best ways to become a more conscientious individual is to create conscientious habits! Since once these habits are formed, they will stay with you for a long time without much effort on your part.
Getting in the habit of cleaning up after yourself is a great one to start with! Not only will it keep your environment more clean and organized, it will also cause you to have an easier time to clean your place once you decide to do so. Another great habit is to think before you make a decision. Ask yourself how it will impact your future and those around you. Then make the best choice based on your analysis.
The whole point is to make sure that these conscientiousn habits become regular and repeated actions. So that in a months time you won’t even have to think about doing them!
4. Become Disciplined
Becoming disciplined is a necessary step in becoming a conscientious person. It is not an easy thing to switch from being lazy to becoming organized, and a little bit of discipline will go a long way in helping you get there.
Discipline will also help you stay more organized, and it will ensure you stick to your habits! Overall it is an important quality to have if you wish to improve in any area of life!
Downside Of Being Too Conscientiousness
As we have seen in most of this article, being a conscientiousness person is seen as a good thing, as there are many reasons why it is a success oriented trait. But just as anything in life, too much of somethings simply isn’t good, and the same is true for conscientiousness.
Individuals that exhibit extreme amounts of conscientiousness are typically at risk of developing obsessive compulsive disorder research suggests. In work environments where a high degree of conscientiousness is required, we typically see much larger rates of burnout than in other fields.
It is safe to say that while we should aim to be high on the conscientious spectrum, we need to keep it within realisitic limits.
If you hope to achieve all of the big goals you have set for yourself, then adopting conscientiousness into your character traits is a safe way to achieve those dreams. It is a proven personality trait for success, and it is not that difficult to increase.
Just make sure you do not take it to the extreme, as it will have adverse consequences for your health!
I hope you enjoyed and learned something from reading this article. I wish you all the best on your future endeavours! Until next time!