We've already discussed lateness, sleep preferences, and anxiety as they relate to success and intelligence—but a new article from Business Insider may have uncovered the holy grail of successful personality traits. Conscientiousness, or the quality of being thorough, vigilant, and careful, has been linked to a longer life span, better grades in school, larger paychecks, more leadership opportunities, and more successful careers in general. Some psychologists even believe conscientiousness to be the most important factor in finding and retaining employment.
"[Conscientiousness is] emerging as one of the primary dimensions of successful functioning across the lifespan," writes Paul Tough in his best-selling book, How Children Succeed. "It really goes cradle to grave in terms of how people do." Conscientiousness is actually one of the "Big 5" personality dimensions identified by psychologists and is the most accurate indicator of workplace outcomes, even above extroversion.
Waiting a few days before making a big purchase, taking written notes during a meeting, and planning for the future are just a few examples of conscientiousness. These individuals rarely miss a deadline, regularly set and achieve their goals, and have an innate sense of self-control—making them the ideal job candidate and successful, hardworking employees.
"Highly conscientious employees do a series of things better than the rest of us," said University of Illinois psychologist Brent Roberts, who studies this trait, as quoted by Inc. "Even if there is a failure, they're going to have a plan to deal with that failure."
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