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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.

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    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 the Chief Editor and Content Strategist of Lifehack. She's also a communication expert who shares tips on motivation and relationships.

    The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life How Self-Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It) How to Live Life to the Fullest and Enjoy Each Day 30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

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    Last Updated on June 4, 2021

    10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

    10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

    Failure occurs everyday, in school, jobs, housework, and within families. It is unavoidable, irritating and causes pessimism.

    While the thought of flinging your hands in the air and walking away is all too appealing, take a second to connect with the people who have been there and survived.

    Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. — Henry Ford

    Here are 10 famous failures to success stories around the world that will inspire you to keep going and achieve greatness:

      1. J.K. Rowling

        During a Harvard commencement speech, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling outlined the importance and value of failure.[1]

        Why? Simply because she was once a failure too.

        A few short years after her graduation from college, her worst nightmares were realized. In her words,

        “I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.”

        Coming out of this failure stronger and more determined was the key to her success.

        2. Steve Jobs

          The now revolutionary Apple started off with two men in a garage. Years later we all know it as a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees.

          Yet, almost unbelievably, Steve Jobs was fired from the very company he began.

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          The dismissal made him realize that his passion for his work exceeded the disappointment of failure. Further ventures such as NeXT and Pixar eventually led Jobs back to the CEO position at AppleJobs said in 2005:

          “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”

          Lost your job today? Keep kicking and you could be just like this guy!

          3. Bill Gates
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            Bill Gates was a Harvard dropout. He co-owned a business called Traf-O-Data, which was a true failure.[2]

            However, skill and a passion for computer programming turned this failure into the pioneer of famous software company Microsoft, and the then 31-year-old into the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.

            In his own words:

            “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

            This isn’t to say that dropping out of Harvard will make you into a billionaire, but maybe that shiny degree isn’t worth as much as the drive and passion to succeed.

            If you haven’t found your passion like Bill Gates, this will help you:

            How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

            4. Albert Einstein

              The word ‘Einstein’ is associated with intelligence and synonymous with genius. Yet it is a famous fact that the pioneer of the theory of general relativity, Albert Einstein himself, could not speak fluently until the age of nine. His rebellious nature led to expulsion from school, and he was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.

              His earlier setbacks did not stop him from winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. After all, he believed that:

              “Success is failure in progress.”

              To this day, his research has influenced various aspects of life including culture, religion, art, and even late night TV.

              Just because you haven’t achieved anything great yet, doesn’t mean you can’t be an Einstein yourself.

              5. Abraham Lincoln

                Failing in business in 1831, suffering a nervous breakdown in 1836, defeated in his run for president in 1856, Abraham Lincoln was no stranger to rejection and failure. Rather than taking these signs as a motivation for surrender, he refused to stop trying his best.

                In this great man’s words:

                “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

                Lincoln was elected in 1861 as the 16th President of the United States of America.

                The amount of rejection you receive is not a defining factor. Success is still within your reach.

                6. Michael Jordan

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                  “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

                  This quote by retired basketball legend Michael Jordan in a Nike advertisement speaks for itself.

                  It would be an easy misconception that Jordan’s basketball skills revolve around natural talent. In fact, in his earlier years,  basketball coaches had trouble looking past the fact that Jordan didn’t reach the minimum height. It was years of effort, practice, and failure that made the star we know today.

                  Michael Jordan’s success all came down to his Intrinsic Motivation, one of the most invincible types of motivation that drives people to succeed.

                  7. Steven Spielberg

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                  217307-steven-spielberg

                    Regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, Steven Spielberg is a familiar household name. It is surprising to realize therefore that the genius behind Jaws and E.T. had poor grades in high school, getting him rejected from the University of Southern California three times.

                    While he was in college, he caught the eye of executives at Universal, who signed him as a television director in 1969. This meant that he would not finish his college degree for another 33 years.

                    Perseverance and acceptance of failure is the key to success, after all.

                    “Even though I get older, what I do never gets old, and that’s what I think keeps me hungry.”

                    Bad grades in high school aside, there is no questioning the genius involved.

                    To date, Spielberg has directed 51 films and has been awarded three Oscars.

                    8. Walt Disney

                    waltdisneymickeymo_2703112b

                      Mickey Mouse creator Walt Disney dropped out of school at a young age in a failed attempt at joining the army.[3] One of his earlier ventures, Laugh-o-Gram Studios, went bankrupt due to his lack of ability to run a successful business. He was once fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.”

                      Yet today, The genius behind Disney studios is responsible for generations of childhood memories and dreams. From Snow White to Frozen, Disney will continue to entertain the world for generations to come.

                      The logic behind this is simple:

                      “We don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

                      9. Vincent Van Gogh

                        During his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh suffered mental illness, failed relationships, and committed suicide at the age of 37.

                        He only ever sold one painting in his life, pinning him a failure as an artist. However that did not put a damper on his enthusiasm and passion for art.

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                        He would never know that years and years after his death he would become known as a key figure in the world of post-impressionism, and ultimately, one of the greatest artist that ever lived.

                        He would never know that he became a hot topic in art classes and his image was going to be used in TV, books and other forms of popular culture.

                        In the words of this great, but tragic man:

                        “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

                        10. Stephen King

                        01-Stephen-King-Rags-to-Riches-Celebs-1

                          As a paranoid, troubled child, tormented by nightmares and raised in poverty, it is no surprise that Stephen King grew up to the title: “Master of Horror”.[4]

                          An addiction to drugs and alcohol were his mechanisms to cope with the unhappiness he felt with his life. The frustration he felt towards multiple rejections by publishers in combination with illicit substances caused him to mentally contemplate violence towards his own children.

                          These intense emotions were those that he focused onto his writing. And that’s why he said:

                          “We make up horros to help us cope with the real ones.”

                          Writing became his new coping mechanism, and this is how the master author we know today grew to success.

                          Fail More Often in Order to Succeed

                          Like Albert Einstein said, failure really is just success in progress. If you’d rather not to fail, you will probably never succeed.

                          Success comes from moments of frustrations when you’ll be most uncomfortable with. But after you’ve gone through all those bitter times, you’ll become stronger and you’ll get closer to success.

                          If you feel like a failure and think that you’ve failed all too many times, it’s not too late to change things up! Here’s how to turn your limitations into your opportunities:

                          Don’t be afraid to fail. In fact, start failing, and start failing often; that’s how you will succeed.

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                          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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