This Personality Trait Is Vital To Success

People who are low on this trait can improve it over time.

People who are low on this trait can improve it over time.

Conscientiousness is the personality trait that tends to lead to satisfying and well-paid careers.

Conscientious people are disciplined, dutiful and good at planning ahead.

However, people who are not conscientious can develop the trait over time, the researchers found.

People who are most successful at changing a personality trait tend to actively change their behaviours to fit their goal.

In other words: find a way to act conscientious first so as to become more conscientious later.

The conclusions come from a study of almost 2,000 adolescents in Iceland who were tracked for 12 years, from around the age of 17 through to 29.

Researchers looked at personality and how it changed over time as well as how this was linked to their careers.

Dr Kevin Hoff, the study’s first author, said:

“Results revealed that certain patterns of personality growth predicted career outcomes over and above adolescent personality and ability.”

Young people who are conscientious and emotionally stable tend to have the most objective success through the early part of their careers, the results showed.

However, young people were able to change aspects of their personality, said Dr Hoff:

“The study showed you’re not just stuck with your personality traits, and if you change over time in positive ways, that can have a big impact on your career.”

Young people who felt they had become more conscientious, extraverted and emotionally stable were more likely to be satisfied with their careers and income.

Dr Hoff said:

“Adolescent trait levels also predicted career success, highlighting the long-term predictive power of personality.

Overall, the findings highlight the importance of personality development throughout childhood, adolescence and young adulthood for promoting different aspects of career success.”

The study was published in the journal Psychological Science (Hoff et al., 2020).

Get FREE email updates to PsyBlog

Hello, and welcome to PsyBlog. Thanks for dropping by.

This site is all about scientific research into how the mind works.

It’s mostly written by psychologist and author, Dr Jeremy Dean.

I try to dig up fascinating studies that tell us something about what it means to be human.

Get FREE email updates to PsyBlog. Join the mailing list.

Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book "Making Habits, Breaking Habits" (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks.