The personality of success

"The only major personality trait that consistently leads to success is conscientiousness. People who test high in conscientiousness get better grades, commit fewer crimes and stay married longer. They earn higher salaries, have greater job satisfaction and live longer." - Paul Tough

The most significant predictor of success is a person's conscientiousness.

Conscientiousness can be broken down into;

- Organisation/Orderliness
- Diligence/Discipline
- Prudence/Deliberation
- Industriousness/Work-Ethic
- Perfectionism/Competence


Become More Organized

A lot of people find it hard to organize themselves. It’s as easy as creating a to-do list and organizing it in order of importance.

And it doesn’t take long either. Take 15 minutes out of your morning and write down what you want to accomplish for the day. Such a simple exercise can have a profound impact on your life.

We live in a world of declining attention spans. The average person has an attention span of 5 seconds (goldfish have 6 seconds). So organization has become NECESSARY for success in this day and age.

The second part of organization is being able to sit and focus. Charlie Munger calls this “assiduity”. Sit your ass in a chair and focus.


Become More Diligent

The New Year’s resolution tradition has become a joke. The average person who sets their “resolutions” on January 1st has already given up by January 30th.

Why? They have no staying power.

And that’s what diligence is. The ability to stick it out when the going gets tough. Most people can’t.

This is the exact reason why only 10% of people actually succeed in business. And why 50% give up after their first failure.

Remember, the temptation to give up is greatest right before you’re about to succeed.

Learn to embrace the pain. 


Be Prudent, Make Good Decisions

Prudence is the ability to think and make good decisions.

Most people don’t take time to think before making a choice.

Just think to yourself, “What would someone who is smarter than me do?”

That simple question can help you make the CORRECT decision. And in some situations, help you avoid an expensive mistake.


Become Industrious

Working Hard Or Smart?

Industriousness is the ability to work hard. To put in those long hours when necessary.

But here’s the caveat - you can’t rely on working hard alone.

Success is multi-faceted. You need to work both hard and smart. Working hard alone is not enough.

By now you should know there’s no such thing as ONE THING to be successful.

The one thing is conscientiousness - but it breaks down into 5 parts. And you need all 5.

You can’t be a good basketball player by only knowing how to shoot. You also need to learn how to pass, defend, and dribble. Success depends on more than one thing.


Become a perfectionist

And lastly we have the most important aspect of conscientiousness…

Perfectionism Is Not WRONG

Perfectionism is looked at in a negative light. Mostly because people say that perfectionism leads to procrastination and lack of execution…

But here's a question…

If you’re flying somewhere to your next vacation…

Would you feel safer knowing the engineer who built that plane’s engine was conscientious enough to check all the small details?

Would you feel better knowing the pilot went through his entire checklist and double checked to make sure? Instead of just flying off?

Small details can make a world of difference. In some cases, the difference between life or death.

Now you understand the “one thing” you need for success. Be more conscientious.

And understand that success is multi-faceted.

Some more reading here

Take the Five Five Traits Personality Test

1 comment

Good read. I searched for this thanks to Tai Lopez who briefly stretched in one of his video. And here I got a better take on what each component means.
Does a contradictory research exist regarding personality of success?

Ludovic February 26, 2023

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published