The Most Valuable Personality Trait To Have, Says Study

Photo: Nick Starichenko / Shutterstock

Have you ever been described as conscientious? Maybe in a job review or a parent/teacher conference?

If so, that's a great thing.

It turns out that conscientiousness is the only major personality trait that leads to success.

Merriam-Webster defines conscientiousness as "very careful about doing what you're supposed to do."

Also concerned with doing something correctly. Scrupulous, meticulous, and careful."

RELATED: This Personality Trait Makes You Healthier, Says Science

But really, conscientiousness is so much more.

Conscientious is vigilant and thorough.

It's also one trait of the five-factor model personality, which includes extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience. 

People who are conscientious are self-disciplined, organized, deliberate, and have a need for achievement. So, it stands to reason that people who display conscientiousness do better in school, stay married longer, and get better jobs.

Conscientious people might not consider themselves conscientious, as they are typically selfless.

Also, conscientious people "have fewer strokes, lower blood pressure, and a lower incidence of Alzheimer's disease."

Additionally, "conscientious men earn higher salaries. The National Institute on Aging also found that conscientiousness is linked to income and job satisfaction. Other studies show that conscientiousness is the most important factor for finding and retaining employment."

Pretty good deal, if you ask me. 

RELATED: The Secret To A Long Life? Having Awesome Friends (Says Science)

In a study published in the European Journal of Personality, researchers found that emotionally stable and conscientious participants had higher incomes and job satisfaction.

Conscientious people arrive on time, are super organized, focused on completing their tasks, and are helpful to their co-workers.


A post shared by Peter Gienow (@tsoraat) on Apr 15, 2019 at 1:29pm PDT

Conscientious is a character trait that every employer looks for in a potential new employee, and conscientious students do well in school because they like to follow rules.

In another study from Yale, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, conscientiousness emerged as the personality trait most consistently and strongly correlated to academic success.

Wow, conscientiousness is like a superpower (or chocolate): it just makes every situation better.

Now of course you can't just decide to be conscientious one day and all of these things will happen to you.

Being conscientious is a cultivated personality trait that can't just develop overnight. 

It takes time, patience, and a lot of smarts, apparently.

Though, if you are one of the lucky ones who are naturally conscientious, good for you! You're doing better than the rest of us. 

If your child has a conscientious personality, you can be a little less diligent; being conscientious predicts big things for them. 

RELATED: How To Know For Sure If Your Marriage Is Just Unhealthy Or Completely Toxic

Christine Schoenwald is a writer, performer, and teacher who loves writing and performing personal narratives. She's had pieces in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Woman's Day, Purple Clover, Bustle, and is a regular contributor to YourTango. Check out her website or her Facebook page.

Sign up for YourTango's free newsletter!