I walked out into the middle of the street without looking both ways, forgot to pay parking tickets, lost debit and credit cards regularly and, when I became self-employed, convinced myself everything would just work out.
My “I’ll just make it” mentality is characteristic of my generation: Millennials are more optimistic about our futures than any other generation ever has been. Among millennials who say they’re not earning enough, 89% think they will in the future, according to Pew Research Center. Yet we’re making less on average than our parents ever did.
If success isn’t falling in your lap, don’t give up hope (seriously: pessimism impairs job performance). But it may be time to prioritize an underrated personality trait:
Conscientious people live longer, get better grades, commit fewer crimes, earn more (along with their spouses), have higher influence, are more likely to lead companies that succeed long-term, are happier at work and have better marriages.
Convinced by the benefits of conscientiousness, I set out to master it. One of my New Year’s resolutions was “finishing, details, polish.” In my research, however, I found that conscientiousness is far more than fastidiousness. In fact, acting “Type A” only has a weak correlation with conscientiousness. In the broadest sense, conscientious people have a knack for avoiding behaviors that will damage their long-term happiness and success.
1. Buy stuff on a whim. Conscientious people anticipate what they need and the future consequences of what they buy. (It’s called a budget.) Conscientiousness people are less likely to exceed their credit limit, miss a bill payment or cheat on their taxes. They’re also less likely to make an unplanned purchase under time pressure or be convinced to buy something based on promotions or sales tactics.
Next time you’re tempted toward an impulsive purchase, raise the stakes on yourself. Ask, “Do I want to earn more, have better relationships and live longer?” If “yes”, take a week to think on it.
2. Take mental notes. Conscientious people know they won’t remember. So they plan, decide and draft on paper. They write down important dates. Highly successful people, like Richard Branson, carry a notebook in their pockets at all times. Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis told Forbes contributor Kevin Kruse, “Writing it down will make you act upon it. If you don’t write it down, you will forget it. THAT is a million-dollar lesson they don’t teach you in business school!” Likewise, Harvard Medical School suggests making daily plans and using reminder tools or apps to keep you on track.
Next time you think “Ooh, I want to remember that”, don’t trust yourself. Write it down–anywhere. Once, when Richard Branson didn’t have his notepad with him, he wrote an idea down in his passport!
3. Slouch. Conscientious people stand up straight. Their posture is a reflection of their attitude: they care about others’ perceptions of them, want to do things the right way and have high self-esteem. Because conscientious people do good work, they report high self-efficacy which is, in turn, positively correlated with work performance.
How are you showing up in your day-to-day life? Literally. How do you show up to work? To dinner? To your workouts? Research consistently shows that how you act influences how you feel. Bad posture, for example, can make you stressed, sad and afraid. Is that how you want to approach your life?
More Info: www.forbes.com
Categories: Money Matters