Before you start to #WinAtLife, experts say there is one personality trait you must possess: conscientiousness. In different aspects of your life, this value can help spell the difference between your successes and your failures.

Basically, being conscientious means leading an organized and efficient way of life. It is the act of being mindful and vigilant in performing a task, with the goal of doing well. As defined by Merriam-Webster, being conscientious means being "very careful about doing what you're supposed to do, and doing it correctly."

Your Personality Traits

Conscientiousness is also one of the dimensions found in the five-factor model (FFM), a widely studied theory that describes the human psyche and personality, and is more commonly known as the Big Five personality traits.

Aside from conscientiousness, the Big Five includes openness to experience, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. There also seems to be a new trait. As reported by Tech Times in June last year, scientists found a sixth personality trait that measures a person's darker impulses such as dishonesty, greed and others.

Although we won't be talking about the Big Five in particular, it helps to know that people have complex personalities. According to the American Psychological Association, personalities are the "individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving."

This means that personality types or traits such as the Big Five are dimensions that can be used to further understand and know a person beyond the surface. Mostly, personality theories such as the Big Five and the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI) help companies decide if they're going to hire a certain applicant.

How Conscientiousness Can Help You #WinAtLife

In the book "How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character" written by Paul Tough, the author interviewed long-time conscientiousness expert Professor Brent Roberts. The professor mentioned that how conscientiousness plays a role in success greatly depends on the person.

"It would actually be nice if there were some negative things that went along with conscientiousness," said Roberts. "But at this point it's emerging as one of the primary dimensions of successful functioning across the lifespan. It really goes cradle to grave in terms of how people do."

1. Conscientiousness Can Affect Your Income

In a study featured in the European Journal Personality, people who are emotionally stable and highly conscientious have been found to have greater incomes and better levels of satisfaction with their jobs.

2. Conscientiousness Can Affect Your Job Opportunities

For job-seekers, being conscientious and scoring low in neuroticism – the trait that characterizes anxiety, worry, fear, envy, and moodiness – can help a person immediately get a job. The study is published [pdf] in the Journal of Economic Psychology.

3. Conscientiousness Can Affect Your Love Life

If you've been married for a long time or are planning to do so in the near future, then you should take note that conscientiousness is a valuable trait in long-lasting marriages. According to research issued in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, being careful and always trying to think of what's right is mostly associated with marital satisfaction.

4. Conscientiousness Can Affect Your Health

According to the book "The Longevity Project" written by Dr. Howard Friedman and Dr. Leslie Martin, being conscientious best predicts long life among children and adults. After a heart attack, people who were highly careful and mindful were more likely to recover than those who were not, the book said.

Creativity And Conscientiousness

Let's face it: most people would never describe themselves as systematic or neat. In fact, some people take pride in being free-spirited, in embracing "recklessness" and letting loose of inhibitions.

As people's personalities are complex and intricate, the structure of conscientiousness doesn't seem to apply to all, especially in terms of creativity.

Paul Tough's book also looks into how schools treat children who are more conscientiousness and those who are not. According to Tough's book, teachers preferred those with higher GPAs who scored lower in levels of creativity, and higher in punctuality, predictability and dependability. Past studies have shown that teachers generally dislike creative students.

In the end, there is still a fine line between the qualities that society values as a whole and the sense of individuality in each person. Being conscientious is definitely a respectable trait, but it doesn't mean creative traits should be shunned in consequence.

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