Why is it that a conscientious person becomes successful?
I often encounter people who have tremendous dreams. For instance, I asked my students if they want a high grade. The majority, if not all of them raised their hands. The message was clear – they all want academic success.
Unfortunately, at the end of the semester, only about 1 percent of my 225 students in Introduction to Psychological Research subject had completed their research papers.
So what happened to the 99 percent? Of course, there were a number of reasons why they failed to complete their requirements. One of which is procrastination. But the greater factor which I think had greatly impacted the students’ grade was the lack of conscientiousness.
My students are like most millennials who are more optimistic about their futures than the older generation. In fact, a study by Pew Research Center found that millennials believe they will achieve financial success in the future.
Although hope is an important ingredient of success, it can’t make anyone successful without hard work. But the problem is that human nature hates hardships. As a result, only a few who really achieved success and revolutionize the industrial world.
When you look at successful people, they have more than hope. In fact, a successful person is a conscientious person.
Conscientiousness, therefore, is another reason why successful people become successful. They tend to outlive the average ones, become a valuable member of the society, have happy relationships, and successful family.
Through conscientiousness, successful people learned to avoid many things that the average ones do. On the other hand, they develop habits that make them who they are.
Here are the 7 practices that a conscientious person does:
1. A conscientious person never wastes resources.
This is a common trait of successful people. They value their possessions more than anybody. A conscientious person always calculates his decisions. He never buys something that is not necessary. Thus, he is free from any impulsive buying tendencies.
2. A conscientious person does not rely on his memory.
Successful people always have a pocket note or something which they can use to take down notes. The reason is that they don’t trust their memory. They know that their brain can not hold and store information for a long period of time. The brain has its own bad habit of forgetting.
Almost all successful people have their personal notebook at all times. Why? Because “Writing it down will make you act upon it. If you don’t write it down, you will forget it. That is a million-dollar lesson they don’t teach you in business school,” said Aristotle Onassis.
So if you want to grasp important information such as class lectures or meeting agenda, you better take a note. Develop that habit and you also become successful. People who practice note-taking are more likely to achieve personal development than their counterparts.
3. A conscientious person has self-efficacy.
Conscientiousness will make you a self-believer. Successful people have a tremendous amount of belief in their own abilities. As a result, they always solve the problems they encounter. And because they believe they can achieve virtually anything, their work performance is high.
4. A conscientious person values time.
As mentioned, successful people often live longer than those who are not successful. One of the reasons is that conscientious people do not waste time sleeping, eating and watching television too much. These activities often affect health and financial situations of many people.
Conscientiousness has a great impact on health. In fact, Jennifer Lodi-Smith, a postdoctoral student at the Center of Vital Longevity says that “Being conscientious predicts good health because a conscientious individual is actually going to go out and do things their doctor says they should be going to stay healthy.” Because conscientious people value time, they don’t waste it experimenting things on their own.
5. A conscientious person does not break a promise.
Another trait of a successful person is that he never makes promises if he can’t abide his own words. Honesty is a virtue that only a brave and dependable person has. He is committed to his promise. And through that commitment, he will build trust and good relationship with others.
6. A conscientious person never gives up.
The reason why companies love to hire conscientious people is that managers know how valuable these people are to the organization. Conscientious people have more grit than others. They are more willing to perform a difficult task. And if they fail, they always find solutions and make better decisions. They never leave a challenge unsolved. This is also the observation of Brent Roberts, a psychologist at the University of Illinois. “Highly conscientious employees do a series of things better than the rest of us.”
7. A conscientious person never avoids a problem.
Successful people understand that success does not come without challenges. But instead of ignoring problems, they develop a high sense of internal locus of control. That is becoming responsible for their actions. If something goes wrong, they don’t run away – they will face and fix it.
A conscientious person understands that problems can’t solve themselves. In order to get things work again, one should have a strong sense of responsibility to settle the situation.
In summary, conscientiousness plays a significant role in success. However, in order to become a conscientious person, you don’t need to make a radical change in yourself. Maybe you can start small. Start fixing your own mess. Doing small but significant steps will ultimately lead you to develop a sense of responsibility throughout your life.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.