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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

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

    More by this author

    Anna Chui

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

    How to Live Life to the Fullest and Enjoy Each Day How Self-Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It) 30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives Why Hard Work is Better Than Talent It’s Okay To Be Envious As Long As You’re Not Jealous

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2021

    How to Overcome Fear and Find Success (The Ultimate Guide)

    How to Overcome Fear and Find Success (The Ultimate Guide)

    Take a moment and imagine what your life would be like if you had no fear. What would you do if you knew how to overcome fear? It’s not difficult to imagine that it would alter your life significantly.

    I believe that fear is the single biggest obstacle that holds people back from fulfilling their potential and becoming the best version of themselves. Fear of failure, fear of abandonment, fear of success, fear of not being good enough

    The question is, where does it come from?

    Neuroscientists claim that humans are the most fearful creatures on the planet because of our ability to learn, think, and create fear in our minds. We scare ourselves by imagining the worst possible outcomes, assuming that we are protecting ourselves from imminent danger.

    You make the choice to be a victim of your fear and anxiety or to push them aside and be courageous.

    In this article, we’ll look into the root cause of fear and how to conquer fear to realize our potential.

    What Is Fear, Really?

    This acronym best reflects what fear is[1]:

    Learn how to overcome fear with the fear acronym

      Fear is an emotion created by your mind based on real or imagined threats. Fear may be completely founded in reality, or not. It may also manifest as anxiety disorders in some cases, as anxiety is based on worries or fears about the future.

      These imagined scenarios of perceived threats end up feeding your fear to the point where it becomes all-consuming. Often, these scenarios never happen.

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      The real issue is not the fear itself, but rather how we hold it in our minds.

      How to Overcome Fear

      Overcoming fear may sound easier said than done. When you are in the thick of fear, it’s hard to see a way out. The good news is that, because you are the root cause of your fears, you are also the solution to them.

      1. Identify Your Fears Through Writing

      There are times when I’ve felt afraid but couldn’t identify why. If you keep your fears inside, you allow your mind to control how you feel.

      In order to prevent this confusion from happening in the first place, identify what your fears are before moving on to learning how to deal with fear.

      What makes you feel afraid?

      Instead of just thinking about these things, write them down. When you write down your fears on paper and actually question them, it forces you to analyze why you are afraid. Questions are designed to trigger your fears and bring them to the surface.

      This isn’t a comfortable process, but deep inner work never is. However, if you continue to keep your feelings in the dark, the scarier they will be, and the more disempowered you will become.

      Once you identify the type of fear and the experience that you associate with your fears, you become armed with the power to take action to change them. Eventually, your fears become smaller and smaller, and your strength gets bigger and bigger.

      As you’re identifying what your fears are, you can try Lifehack’s Free Life Assessment. It will help you identify which areas may be causing you more fear and which you can fall back on as strengths.

      2. Practice Gratitude

      If you want to learn how to overcome fear, gratitude is key. From personal experience, I have learned that it’s difficult to experience fear and gratitude at the same time. They are literally on opposite ends of the continuum of the human experience.

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      When you are experiencing difficult times in life, it’s easy to drop into fear and overwhelm. In that energetic space, it can be hard to stay grounded.

      Developing a gratitude practice allows you to not drown in fear. It doesn’t mean that you won’t still feel it, but the blow will be lessened, thereby allowing you to see the brighter side of struggle.

      In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their physical and mental health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships[2].

      Anyone who experiences fear knows that there is almost always a story attached to whatever it is that you’re fearful of.  Fear loves to hang out with your inner critic and come up with worst-case scenarios about what could happen.

      Gratitude helps keep these limiting stories at bay when you’re learning how to overcome fear. When you practice gratitude, your brain shifts to what is currently working instead of what isn’t working.

      The act of being fearful is a future-oriented process, while gratitude is a present-oriented one. The next time that fear tries to creep its way into your head, replace that disempowering thought with an empowering one.

      You can learn more about how to replace fear based practices with more positive ones in this video:

      3. Release Control

      Being a control freak is how a lot of people manage their fears, or so they think. Unfortunately, control has no place on the path to learning how to overcome fear.

      In actuality, all that they are doing is masking their fears by trying to control everything. If you can relate, it’s time to release control. Trust me when I say that this is a losing battle.

      Fear results in controlling behavior, and when this behavior doesn’t give us the results we’re seeking, it further intensifies our fears.

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      In your attempt to control fear, you actually become a victim of it. This fear and control cycle leaves a lot of people feeling defeated. The reality is that there will always be things that are far beyond your control.

      The only way that we can move past needing to be in control is to accept that it is not always up to us. While you may be in control of your decisions, you don’t always have control over situations that you are pushed into, nor can you control how others react.

      The only thing that you have control over is your inner world and how you choose to respond to your external environment. The next time you catch yourself trying to control everything, step back and ask yourself what you are afraid of.

      Start to get curious about what thoughts are generating your fear. Curiosity and fear don’t like to co-exist. Once you let go of one, you invite the other in, which will help as you learn how to get rid of fear.

      True freedom comes from fully releasing control. When you are able to do this, you begin the process of releasing your fears as well.

      4. Recite Positive Affirmations

      Positive affirmations can be used to combat almost any negative thought pattern, which can be very helpful when you want to learn how to overcome fear. Using them to help challenge your fears can help retrain your brain and have your fears reframed as powerful statements.

      Research shows that you can actually train your subconscious mind such that it will help you to attract exactly what you desire in life[3].

      Instead of saying “I am afraid of doing this because I might fail,” look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I am prepared for this, I am ready, and I will not fail.”

      The more you use positive affirmations, the stronger they become. The best way to cancel a negative belief is to develop its positive counterpart.

      Commit to making positive affirmations a key component of your morning ritual. It literally takes one thought, repeated over and over again, to set you on the path to transforming your entire life.

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      Here are more positive affirmations you can try: 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life

      5. Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You

      Living in your comfort zone will get you nowhere in life, and it certainly won’t help you learn how to overcome fear. In my experience, not doing the things that scare you will only increase the likelihood that your fears will grow and inevitably take over every decision that you make.

      I want to encourage you to do one thing every day that scares you. It can be something small. All that matters is that you take action. Make it a habit to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

      Putting yourself in new and uncomfortable situations triggers a unique part of the brain that releases dopamine, nature’s make-you-happy chemical. Here’s the mind-blower: that unique region of the brain is only activated when you see or experience completely new things[4].

      When you condition yourself to do something every day that scares you, your fear fades away, and your courage grows. Think about it…when you face your fears, how can you fear them again? Soon enough, your confidence will skyrocket.

      Final Thoughts

      The next time that you feel threatened by fear, I encourage you to pull upon one or more of the above strategies. Change your relationship with fear. Instead of letting it knock you down, use it as motivation to grow and achieve more.

      Once you recognize that fear is not real, the obstacles that appear to stand in your way will be removed, and you will feel empowered to take action.

      Your potential in life is limited by only one factor: you. Are you ready to transform fear into action?

      More on How to Overcome Fear

      Featured photo credit: Jonathan Klok via unsplash.com

      Reference

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