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Why the Conscientious Mind Is a Successful Mind

Why the Conscientious Mind Is a Successful Mind

Douglas Hostetter was a conscientious objector to war who found himself faced with the dilemma of having to fulfill his military obligation during the Vietnam War in 1966. As a conscientious objector to war, Douglas refused to carry or use a weapon or participate in any of the violence of war. Instead, he opted to serve by teaching English to Vietnamese children. He also opted to live outside the heavily guarded walls of the American camps. He lived in a bungalow completely exposed to enemy forces. He had no gate, walls or weapons to defend himself. He insisted on fulfilling his service in a non-violent manner and was able to dedicate himself to providing quality education to surrounding Vietnamese villages on his terms.[1]

    Being tagged a conscientious person, on the surface, seems to like it would be a pretty good way to be classified. But the truth is that those who truly commit to living a life of conscientiousness subject themselves to a lifetime of sacrifice and to the possibilities of being ostracized and misunderstood.

    A Conscientious Life Is a Fulfilled Life—but Not Necessarily a Happy One

    Many personality psychologists believe that there are five basic dimensions that comprise a person’s personality. Experts call them the “Big 5”.[2] These are a set of five broad personality traits and include: extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism.

    Conscientiousness as defined by Psychology Today is:[3]

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    “…a fundamental personality trait that influences whether people set and keep long-range goals, deliberate over choices or behave impulsively, and take seriously obligations to others.”

    Conscientiousness is the character trait of being deliberate, careful, meticulous and vigilant. The presence of conscientiousness is the fundamental personality trait and determinant that influences people to set and systematically chase goals. It is what makes people keep their word, fulfill their obligations and remain steadfast and loyal in the face of opposition.

    In other words, it is the ability to live intentionally.

    The Conscientious Mind Is a Strong Mind

    How do you know if you are conscientious or not? A person with low levels of conscientiousness can be described as easily distracted, unfocused, unmotivated, spontaneous and is often called “flighty” and “all over the place.” If you find yourself constantly failing to achieve your personal goals or quitting projects midway through—you may need to work to live a more conscientious fashion.

    The absence of conscientiousness is a key contributor to the absence of success. Becoming more conscientious requires an organized and industrious mind.

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    Organization and living an orderly life is a predictor in whether or not you achieve what it is you want in life. Having things neat, tidy and well organized keeps your mind neat, tidy, organized and focused. Establishing routines and sticking to them as much as possible is a great way to bring order to your life.

    When working to become more organized, be careful not to over do it. Placing routine and order as a top priority leads to perfectionism, anxiety and other counterproductive attitudes. Put yourself on a schedule and get organized—but don’t go overboard.

    Industriousness is associated with tenacity and grit. It is the passion and perseverance needed to achieve long-term goals. Industrious people are often described as achievement/goal-oriented, disciplined, efficient, purposeful, and competent. They are productive, not busy. They chase their goals and live life intentionally and methodically work hard to achieve their destiny.

    Equipping with the Conscientious Mind

    Conscientious people have several common habits that are worth studying. Here are five lessons we can learn from the masters of conscientiousness:

    1. Think Deeper Before You Act

    The conscientious mind always evaluates the pros and cons of a situation and considers the consequences of their actions. They exercise impulse control and work to act versus merely reacting. They count the cost before they undertake an endeavor and give their word.

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    Before launching a business, a conscientious person will do extensive amounts of research and ensure they have the appropriate capital and resources in place before they dive in and begin. They understand the market space, their brand, their customers and know the type of people they need to hire in order to be successful. Their business succeeds and thrives because of preparation, planning and diligence; not luck.

    2. Commit to Promises

    Because the conscientious think before they act, they are able to commit to things they know they can deliver. They provide exactly what they promise. They consider the cost before they make a promise and then dogmatically work to do what they say they are going to do.

    If you promise your best friend you are going to help them move on a specific weekend, that is precisely what you should do. But before you commit to helping your friend, you should first ensure that you are available for the date and duration of time they need you. You should add it to your calendar and consider that date, time and task non-negotiable. You should show up when you said you would, work hard and fully deliver on that promise.

    3. Don’t Rely on Mental Notes

    Taking mental notes is great and we all do it. But there is one major problem with using your mental notes to recall information—you won’t remember it. Conscientious people write things down. They add dates to their calendar. They are schedulers and note takers. They intentionally make jotting notes a part of their routine and standard operating procedure. Read more about why Human Brains Aren’t Designed To Remember Things.

    4. Take Breaks and Carry On

    Take rest, regroup and restart. But don’t ever quit. Quitting is not an option. Remember, in order to be successful you need drive, determination and a stubborn will. You have to have fight, grit and a scrappy attitude to be who you truly can be.[4]

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    If you have watched The Hacksaw Ridge, you would have heard of Desmond T. Doss. He epitomizes the type of fight, tenacity and strength of will the truly conscientious have. Desmond was a combat medic serving in WWII and his heroic actions, driven by his value system, led him to perform acts of heroism during the Battle of Okinawa. He became the first ever conscientious objector in US history to win the medal of honor. And he did it without ever firing a shot.

    5. Take Responsibility for Problems

    A conscientious person is not a coward nor a victim. They take responsibility for their part in failures and don’t run from problems. They stand flat-footed and stare issues in the eye. And then they devise a plan and attack. They are brave, tough and resourceful. They seek out solutions to their problems and refuse to “sweep things under the rug” and blame others.

    Say if you have a report due at work and you realize it’s going to be late because you don’t have the necessary input from your colleagues. You apologize to your boss and give him a new time that the report will be due while taking full responsibility for not getting the input on time. You work with your colleagues to expeditiously get the input you need, and do whatever you have to do to ensure that you deliver on your promise and meet the new deadline.

    A Conscientious Life Is Not Easy, but Is Worth It

    Conscientiousness is an act of one’s will. It is intentional and requires purposeful actions, an organized mind and an industrious attitude.

    By internalizing and embracing the five key habits of conscientious people, you set yourself up to be a reliable, productive and wildly successful best version of yourself.

    Reference

    [1] Civilian Public Service.org: Doug Hostetter
    [2] Very Well: The Big 5 Personality Traits
    [3] Psychology Today: Conscientiousness
    [4] YouTube: Conscientiousness

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    Anna Chui

    Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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    Last Updated on April 7, 2020

    How to Use the Law of Attraction to Make Your Dreams Happen

    How to Use the Law of Attraction to Make Your Dreams Happen

    People seem to believe that they can simply think their way straight to success. They mistakenly believe that if they just think about their dreams often enough and vividly enough that–poof!–They’ll just seem to come true.

    But life is not a magic trick.

    If you told a starving child in Africa who had not had a single meal in five days to use the Law of Attraction to manifest a meal for themselves, how well do you think it would work out for them?

    Clearly, there’s more to it than envisioning what you want.

    If you want to know what it really takes to achieve your greatest goals and ambitions, then here’s a list of steps that will outline how to use the Law of Attraction the proper way.

    1. Focus Your Thoughts in the Direction of Your Dreams

    If you were to take a pebble and toss it into a pond, what happens?

    As soon as the pebble strikes the surface of the water, you get a series of ripples or waves, which spread outwards in a circular direction, until they get to the shoreline and seem to stop.

    The larger the pebble, the larger the ripples. The larger the pebble, the higher the waves.

    Two stones of different sizes and weights tossed in at the same time, at different places but in close proximity, will both create a series of ripples, which will eventually merge with one another…

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    When the two sets of ripples converge, there seems to be a bit of a struggle as to which one overcomes or passes the other.

    As far as the human eye can see, if the ripples are the same size, both seem to stop or merge when they collide.

    But if one set of ripples is larger than the other, the larger set sweeps over the smaller set and creates waves in the wake of the smaller ripples.

    Let’s consider this analogy in relation to our own thought-patterns and mental impulses…

    Imagine you’ve got two stones in each hand.

    • The stone in your left hand is labeled, “failure”
    • The stone in your right hand is labeled, “success”

    The weight of each stone is in direct proportion to the amount of *thought* you give its label.

    So… How heavy are your stones?

    If your “failure” stone is heavier, then its ripples will simply stop or take over the ripples created by your stone labeled “success.”

    But if your “success” stone is heavier, then that will be the one that takes over.

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    It’s important to keep this in mind as you put the Law of Attraction to use towards making your dreams happen: ensure that you focus your thoughts on successfully achieving those dreams more often than you focus on the fear of failure that you might experience if you don’t.

    2. Get Specific

    What do you want? What do your dreams look like, specifically?

    The other day, my three-year-old daughter lost one of her toys. It was a little brown tiger with a red sweater. When she couldn’t find it, she freaked out. She loved that little tiger with a red sweater.

    Of course, being a loving dad, I tried helping her find it – but to no avail. We looked all over the place, and it was nowhere to be found.

    Eventually, I stumbled upon a little tiger. Yes!

    I ran over to my daughter, Nora, and enthusiastically said, “I found it! I found it!”

    She popped her head up from looking under the couch and joyfully ran over to me with her hands extended…

    But then, as she got closer, the glimmer in her eyes disappeared. “That’s not it, Dada!” she whined.

    Then she took the tiger and held it up for me, “This tiger is wearing a pink sweater, it’s a girl-tiger, and her fur is light brown. My favorite tiger is lost and it wears a red sweater, it’s a boy-tiger, and he’s dark brown!”

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    So, we searched and searched, and searched some more.

    And eventually, we found that tiger.

    Nora found exactly what she was looking for, because she refused to settle for anything less.

    And even though this can be annoying sometimes, even though it doesn’t always make sense to be so exacting about what you want, I can’t help but respect the hustle.

    The key take-away from the story is this: if you want to make the Law of Attraction work for you, you have got to get specific. What is it, exactly that you want? Figure it out down to every specific detail and write it down.

    Once you’ve done that, it’s time to start taking action towards making it happen.

    3. Put Some Actions Where Your Thoughts Are

    Many people make the mistake of looking at the Law of Attraction as if it were a stand-alone solution to making their dreams a reality. They believe that they can make a vision board and use positive thinking to achieve success.

    But these folks need a wake-up call, because positive thinking is not enough. It will never be enough.

    If we THINK positive, but we still FEEL negative, then how will we ACT?

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    Your thoughts, actions and feelings are like a three-legged stool. Positive thinking is powerful, but only when we think of it as one of the three necessary legs that reinforces the stool we’re sitting on.

    If we don’t want the stool to wobble or break, we’ve got to make sure we give each leg the care it needs to keep us from falling down and getting hurt.

    The key here, with making the Law of Attraction work for you, is to focus on being as congruent as possible between your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

    What’s the best way to do that?

    First, remember that the way you THINK has got to be in line with the way you ACT. Because the way you act is going to have an impact on the way you FEEL.

    And the way you feel is going to help reinforce the way you think, or it’s going to help you re-examine the way you think. Which is going to circle right back around into helping you decide the way you choose to act in any given situation.

    See the feedback loop these three end up creating?

    The Bottom Line

    It’s not the Law of Attraction or positive thinking alone that drives our success in life — it’s about being in positive congruence between the way we think, act, and feel that drives our success in life… And at the very least, keeps us from falling off the stool.

    If we want to make big things happen, we’ve got to take action.

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    Featured photo credit: Nathan McBride via unsplash.com

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