Your Conscientiousness Determines Your Success

Rebecca Morgan quote
Photo: Rebecca Morgan, Sarihan Caravanserai, Nevsehir, Turkey


Your level of conscientiousness has more effect on your life than you might have thought. It can determine many success factors, including your income, job satisfaction, health and even marital happiness.

If you have a high conscientiousness level and those around you don’t, you’ll experience a lot of frustration. You’ll be continually faced with people who don’t meet deadlines, honor their agreements, are inconsiderate of your and others’ time, and have less commitment to quality output. I’m thinking “Big Five” personality traits test would be a helpful tool to ask potential employees (or mates!) to complete to know if you and they will be compatible.

The self-administered “Big Five” test assesses your conscientiousness level. It consists of fifty items you rate on how true they are about you on a five-point scale.

Conscientiousness is one of the “Big Five” – the others are agreeableness, extroversion, emotional stability (also called neuroticism), and intellect/imagination (also known as openness to experience). Each is important to one’s success, but there’s a tremendous amount of research linking conscientiousness with success in school and jobs – even higher income and job satisfaction.

University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth found conscientiousness traits to be more integral to children’s scholarly success than IQ.

  • Those who test high in conscientiousness are shown to:
    o get better grades in school and college
    o commit fewer crimes
    o stay married longer
    o have more self control and stick-to-itiveness
    o live longer
  • They tend to have
    o high levels of thoughtfulness
    o good impulse control
    o goal-directed behaviors
    o organizational skills
    o consideration for others
  • They tend to:
    o spend time preparing
    o finish important tasks right away
    o pay attention to details
    o enjoy having a set schedule
    o be punctual
  • Each of the Big Five characteristics has six sub-traits. For conscientiousness these are:
    o self-efficacy (ability to accomplish tasks)
    o orderliness (ability to organize)
    o dutifulness (sense of duty and obligation)
    o achievement-striving (commitment to achieving excellence)
    o self-discipline (level of willpower)
    o cautiousness (ability to think through possibilities before acting)

If you are not naturally conscientiousness you can learn to establish the habits to raise your conscientiousness. For example, if you are often late, you can learn to set an alarm on your phone or watch that alerts you of when to leave. If you tend to put off tasks, schedule them on your calendar so you’re less likely to forget. Enlist the ideas of a highly conscientious person to share their thinking and tools for you to adopt.

(PS: Take the free assessment)