Are You Conscientious?
Conscientiousness is not just about getting to a job interview or board meeting on time in a freshly ironed suit and polished shoes. It's a fundamental personality trait—one of the Big Five—that influences whether people set and keep long-range goals, deliberate over choices, behave cautiously or impulsively, and take obligations to others seriously. (The other Big Five personality traits are extraversion, agreeableness, openness, and neuroticism.) Conscientiousness is generally a key ingredient for success; people high in this trait are disciplined, high-achieving, and dependable. Yet the off-the-charts conscientious may court perfectionism because their sights are set too high. The extremely conscientious are less spontaneous, less flexible, and more stubborn. They may also suffer more than the less conscientious under conditions of extreme stress. How one fares as a conscientious person may be determined by how well they can stay in control of a stressful situation.