If success isn’t falling into your lap, don’t give up hope — pessimism impairs your ability to study or do your job. But it may be time to prioritise an underrated personality trait: conscientiousness.
Conscientious people live longer, get better grades, earn more, have greater influence, are more likely to lead companies that succeed long-term, are happier at work, and have better marriages. So, what does it take to be a conscientious person? Better yet, here’s what not to do:
Don’t buy stuff impulsively
Conscientious people tend to fix a budget and anticipate purchases, and are less likely to exceed their credit limit. That’s because they tend to think ahead, and assess if they need to buy or not.
Don’t take mental notes
Conscientious people know they won’t remember everything, so everything is written down on paper. This means everything from schedules, to plans, and ideas – because if you don’t write them down, you’ll forget them. Highly successful folk usually keep a notebook on them at all times.
Conscientious people have good posture, so they stand up straight because they care about others’ perceptions of them. This also translates to work/study performance – how do you show up at classes or to your workouts? Bad posture can make you feel stressed and afraid, so it’s not a good overall approach to life.
Conscientious people value good health, so they’re more likely have healthier behaviors when it comes to diet and exercise. Being conscientious predicts good health because they don’t binge – they do deliberate things to improve their well-being.
Don’t break promises
Conscientious people are dependable, so they’re much less likely to back out of (or forget) appointments or even show up late. They know that good things take time and work, and don’t take the easy way out. Being dependable builds trust in your relationships.
Conscientious people have grit in solving the problem, even if they’ve failed multiple times. Whether it’s getting six-pack abs or an A in a subject, they have the perseverance to continue no matter how hard it is. This combination of passion and perseverance is, in fact, more important to academic success than a high IQ.
Don’t ignore problems
Conscientious people display high levels of autonomy, and take responsibility for what goes wrong – and fix it. Unsurprisingly, they tend to be the most trusted and perform better at work and in school settings. They pay attention well, so they can anticipate problems before they arise – they know that smaller problems become bigger problems, they don’t procrastinate.
Ultimately, they are being more responsible people.
All of these traits could be the key to a successful, happy adulthood. You can start with small steps and remember that it’s not too late to change: Research shows that conscientiousness continues to develop into old age.