Why just one personality type guarantees success – Do you have it?

by Peter Shallard

Why just one personality type guarantees success

Your personality type determines your success.

Yikes. That’s an idea that shouldn’t resonate with anyone who reads this blog. Entrepreneurs are notoriously optimistic regarding our ability to overcome the cultural and biological conditioning that prevents us rocketing to success.

But what if we have it all wrong? Research indicates that one well documented personality type consistently produces more and better success than all the others.

EDIT: Free Testing for this trait is available – link at the bottom of this article (read it first, for context.) 

In 1961 two US Air Force researchers, Tupes and Cristal, analyzed massive sets of personality data to condense down historic personality profiling systems into just five core traits.

Their work was etched into the psychology lexicon when a 1980 symposium on personality trait research concluded that the most promising personality tests focused on just these five common factors.

The gold standard of personality models, known as The Big Five, was born.

The Big Five theory tells us that while identity (our beliefs, values and individual psychological “make up”) might be infinitely varied, there are just five key dimensions of personality that can be tested and measured without overlap.

The five traits can be remembered with this helpful anagram:

O – Openness

C – Conscientiousness

E – Extraversion

A – Agreeableness

N – Neuroticism

Research singles out Conscientiousness as the Alpha trait.

Tech entrepreneurs might describe it as “The Killer App”.

In his book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Power of Hidden Character, Paul Tough doesn’t mince his words.

“It would actually be nice if there were some negative things that went along with conscientiousness, but at this point it’s emerging as one of the primary dimensions of successful functioning across the lifespan. It really goes cradle to grave in terms of how people do.”

A 2009 National Institute on Aging study, “Personality and Career Success“, points to conscientiousness as the personality trait solely correlated with remarkably higher income and job satisfaction.

Further, a study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology claims conscientiousness is the one trait that has a huge impact on our ability to find and retain employment.

What’s most damning is that Agreeableness and Extraversion, two traits most prized by the entrepreneurial elite, seem to have zero impact on any of these measures of human commercial success.

Of course, all this research draws sample populations from the corporate world – it’s probably easier to herd cats than make entrepreneurs fill out surveys en masse.

One could argue that all this evidence showing conscientiousness as the winning human quality may only be valid if we’re using the dreaded white collar zombie as our yardstick for success.

However when more research points to high conscientiousness scoring individuals generating higher incomes across all industries, while also connecting the trait with length and happiness of marriage (for example), the writing is on the wall.

Tough is quick to point out: “People high in conscientiousness get better grades in school and college; they commit fewer crimes; and they stay married longer. They live longer — and not just because they smoke and drink less. They have fewer strokes, lower blood pressure and a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.”

For those of you bent on becoming Internet Famous, a University of Cambridge study indicates that conscientiousness is the determining factor driving influence on Twitter.

At this point even the most skeptical, creative and harebrained entrepreneurs need to look up from their messy desks and pay attention.

It might be time to re-evaluate your life choices.

Conscientiousness is defined as “the state of being thorough, careful, or vigilant”. It includes tendencies to favor self discipline, carefulness, and thoroughness. In practice, conscientiousness is developed through two “aspects” or behaviors: Organization and Industriousness.

 How do you rate yourself?

The good news is that the majority of Big Five research optimistically suggests that your individual profile can change and evolve over time. Obviously, some behaviors and rituals will exercise the conscientiousness “muscle” – the military, in at least a stereotypical examples, is an organization that appears to pump out highly organized and industrious humans.

Is it time to work on your organization and industriousness? All sources indicate that to ignore conscientiousness is career suicide.

Or are you the kind of entrepreneur who values “working smart” over working hard, for whom “personal organization” is some kind of pipe dream?

Get your test results here – it’s free, no sign up is required and it takes less than 4 minutes to complete. Join our readers in posting your results below. 

{ 104 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Kull June 10, 2013 at 10:30 am

We used this years ago at George Washington University in addition to MBTI and a few others. It has not been invalidated as far as I am aware and agree quite useful.


Peter Shallard June 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Right on Michael. The Big Five system is widely accepted these days.


Messy June 10, 2013 at 11:30 am

Is there an assessment for determining which of the Big Five one is? Obviously we’d all like to think of ourselves in a favorable light, so an objective tool would be helpful, Peter, if you know of one.


Peter Shallard June 10, 2013 at 4:11 pm

There are a ton of tools online – just google it. Personally I’ve only ever used pen and paper tools, so you can score yourself by picking up the bible on this stuff here: http://www.amazon.com/Big-Five-Assessment-Boele-Raad/dp/088937242X


Michael June 10, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Openness 80
Concientiousness 89
Extraversion 12
Agreeableness 0
Neuroticism 22

God I love doing these online tests. Can I have my straightjacket now please?


Peter Shallard June 10, 2013 at 8:21 pm

woah-ho! That is a seriously low agreeableness score. Good job on the conscientiousness though!


Andrew June 10, 2013 at 7:44 pm

This website was the one I used to test myself http://www.outofservice.com/bigfive/

I’m not sure how accurate it is because I’ve never taken a Big 5 Test before, but here’s my scores:
Openness 65
Concientiousness 83
Extraversion 59
Agreeableness 74
Neuroticism 7

What were your scores, Peter?


Peter Shallard June 10, 2013 at 8:20 pm

O 95
C 86
E 79
A 93
N 5


Adam King June 10, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Well, this was telling…

O 93
C 35
E 48
A 79
N 3


Peter Shallard June 10, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Oh man! See, this is what I’m saying though – Adam, I know you, you’re a smart and successful entrepreneur. I sure as hell know that a LOT of the conscientious indicator questions in standard Big 5 tests that seem pretty misaligned with entrepreneurial philosophy…. so the jury is out for me at least.

Yours is low, my score is higher but I know it’s partly because I took the test knowing about this. Deep down, I know that conscientiousness is something I need to work on too.


Peter Shallard June 10, 2013 at 11:54 pm

So far I’m really glad to see that all my readers and friends are scoring really low on Neuroticism! Go team!


Tim Milosch June 11, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Wow! Great piece Peter, the studies are fascinating. I’ve definitely noticed that successful entrepreneurial minded people are the ones who last the longest in their quest for business building. In other words, they are the ones willing to discipline themselves to grind through the tough early stages of business building, not asking for, or expecting, immediate success. When discussing conscientiousness, I think patience is a critical facet of that for entrepreneurs.

I find the neuroticism category interesting…. is that b/c successful people are willing to think outside the box, which can often be mistaken neuroticism?


Peter Shallard June 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Hey Tim,

Thanks man! Glad you dig it.

I didn’t go into two much detail on the other Big 5 Categories (that’s a whole other blog post) but the idea with Neuroticism is to score LOW …. so a really awesome big five score should go: 100, 100, 100, 100, 0 (with “N” being the last factor).


Linda G June 11, 2013 at 4:24 pm

O 90
C 74
E 74
A 83
N 1
As an extrovert with a tendency towards shyness, who has a lifelong struggle with distraction, (ie. taking a quiz instead of updating my website), I know that this lack of focus gets in my way. I eventually get it done, it just takes me longer. The positive? All that distraction allows for some great new ideas.


Peter Shallard June 11, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Hey Linda,

This is a solid score – looks like extroversion and conscientiousness are your areas for improvement. Remember that it’s not necessarily “extroversion” as defined by Myers-Briggs (a scale between extroverted and introverted) but rather a measure of your ability to engage in extrovert type behavior. The big five doesn’t ask how you recharge your batteries – which is the classic MBTI question.


Stephen Murphy June 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Hi Peter
Since we are sharing, my results came back
O 59
C 94
E 70
A 87
N 14


Peter Shallard June 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I think you hold the record on Conscientiousness right now – how’s business? My guess is that you’re crushing it !

This is so much fun for me – getting a feel for who these awesome people who read my stuff are.


Marisa June 11, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Openess 47
Concientiousness 98
Extraversion 93
Agreeableness 57
Neuroticism 9


Peter Shallard June 11, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Hey Marisa!

Thanks for posting – this one is a little different to a lot of the others I’ve received .. congrats on such a high Conscientiousness score! Interesting. Do you relate to the low agreeableness and openness scores – does that resonate with how you view your self?


marisa June 25, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I actually thought I was a little less agreeable but a little more open, are those low scores? I was certainly surprised at how low my neuroticism score was, I always thought I was totally neurotic!


Tomasz June 11, 2013 at 5:04 pm

I did the test.

All good, but it seems I don’t go well along with others.

ps: only today I noticed in your email’s footer that you’re from New Zeland. That’s totally opposite site of the globe!!


Peter Shallard June 11, 2013 at 5:05 pm

AH yes, I need to get around to changing that – I moved to New York a while back and still haven’t migrated every aspect of the business over 🙂

Do you feel like your results reflect your reality?


Tomasz June 12, 2013 at 9:57 am

Yup I do feel it that way.

However I must point out here that the so called “high” scores also have disadvantages that no one mentioned – high openness means USA style of building rockets – every time smth breaks you need new model – while the russian style – to fix the only one model is sometimes better – it was Gagarin who was first in space after all….

Also that Conscientious has a disadvantage of not agreeing to your own mistakes – especially when you are tired and you can’t seem them yourself.

Low Neurotism had this disadvantage: sometimes you must make decision fast and that extra adrenaline boost could give you needed focus to deliver on time.


David Pressman June 11, 2013 at 5:23 pm

O – 90
C – 74
E – 91
A – 83
N – 49
Could that last score have anything to do with genetics or the lack of a regular shrink these days?


Peter Shallard June 11, 2013 at 5:26 pm

hehe could be David! This is a great score, but it’d be definitely useful to lower that ol’ N level.

You know where to find me 😎


Jeffrey Trull June 11, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Yikes, super low openness score! I’m a bit surprised it’s that low. At least my conscientiousness is decent.

O – 16
C – 79
E – 27
A – 57
N – 7

Also, any reason you buried the definition of “conscientiousness” in your post? It’s mentioned 9 times before explaining how you define it, which left me feeling a little confused for much of the article before I found relief 🙂


Peter Shallard June 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Kept you reading, didn’t it? 😛

That may have been a lapse on my part – sometimes good writing hooks the reader that way, but sometimes it’s just a mistake.


Samar June 11, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Ha. I’m a sucker for online personality tests.

O = 53
C = 35
E = 53
A = 96
N = 3


Claire June 11, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Clearly I should never have learnt how to stay calm in highly stressful situations!!


Lisa June 11, 2013 at 6:37 pm

My scores are in!


I’m 6 ponts shy of extreme C and that’s probably due because I couldn’t take the time to complete the form entirely.



Peter Shallard June 11, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Hahaha obviously not quite conscientiousness enough to finish what you start 😛 😛


Ainslie June 11, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Hi Peter

Well that was interesting. I think it means I am in my perfect day job. Here are the scores

O – 10
C – 35
E – 74
A – 97
N – 1

I am off to build that conscientious muscle!



Peter Shallard June 11, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Yup, day job might be perfect now but that can always change if you pump those muscles up!


Daryl June 11, 2013 at 7:08 pm

O 70
C 35
E 42
A 38
N 5

Think I may have missed one or two little things, as I would have thought I’m more agreeable than that! I can be a little scattered at times, although I’m not sure 35% is necessarily the closest, but close enough

The other three I think are fine


Peter Shallard June 11, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Some of the questions for agreeableness feel like they relate to being self-sure to me, so that could be it. I don’t know if 100% agreeableness is a great thing.


Samar June 12, 2013 at 8:47 am

The question relating to agreeableness felt a bit leading.

For e.g “Starts quarrels with others”. Answer: No. But that doesn’t mean I don’t disagree with others. I just don’t quarrel about it.


Leah June 11, 2013 at 7:24 pm

As soon as I read this article I thought back to my school reports saying how conscientious I was. Very interesting!

O – 76
C – 94
E – 74
A – 63
N – 49


Peter Shallard June 11, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Niiiice, we’re in awe of your score!


Leah Klugt June 11, 2013 at 9:25 pm

I am a little concerned about my N score! *looks around to make sure nobody’s following her*


Peter Shallard June 11, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Your stalker is concerned too!


Leah Klugt June 11, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Well played ninja, well played.

Joy Livingwell June 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Interesting — the idea seems plausible. Reminds me of what Robert Fritz (author of The Path of Least Resistancesays about beliefs, self-esteem, and confidence in one’s ability to achieve something as they relate to actual achievement: If you read biographies of successful people, you soon discover that people with all kinds of beliefs, all levels of self-esteem, and every level of confidence in their ability to achieve their goals (including, frequently, none at all) successfully create what they want and achieve their goals. Contrary to currently popular belief, beliefs, self-esteem, and confidence are not determinants of success. What these people DO have in common is that they put aside their beliefs, self-esteem, and confidence when they create, and instead focus on creating what they want — period.


Peter Shallard June 11, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Boom. This fantastic Joy – are you quoting the book itself or is this your summary of the ideas you read?


Brandon Badeen June 11, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Very surprised by my Agreeable score…..I know that I am very critical of myself and project that, but wow! I think I need to work on this a bit. Also my openness score is surprisingly low to what I consider of myself….always knew I was calm under pressure….great article and eye opening test.

Openness to Experience/Intellect
High scorers tend to be original, creative, curious, complex; Low scorers tend to be conventional, down to earth, narrow interests, uncreative.
You typically don’t seek out new experiences. (Your percentile: 47)

High scorers tend to be reliable, well-organized, self-disciplined, careful; Low scorers tend to be disorganized, undependable, negligent.
You are very well-organized, and can be relied upon. (Your percentile: 95)

High scorers tend to be sociable, friendly, fun loving, talkative; Low scorers tend to be introverted, reserved, inhibited, quiet.
You are extremely outgoing, social, and energetic. (Your percentile: 95)

High scorers tend to be good natured, sympathetic, forgiving, courteous; Low scorers tend to be critical, rude, harsh, callous.
You find it easy to criticize others. (Your percentile: 17)

High scorers tend to be nervous, high-strung, insecure, worrying; Low scorers tend to be calm, relaxed, secure, hardy.
You probably remain calm, even in tense situations. (Your percentile: 18)


Peter Shallard June 11, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Hey Brandon, at least your comment comes across as courteous and good natured 😉

… I think these tests are good compasses for us to look at genuinely important areas for self improvement – don’t get too carried away with negatively judging yourself. I’m sure we’re all making our own pathology work for each of us, right?


Sue Johnston June 11, 2013 at 9:43 pm

This was fun. No surprises here.
O 70
C 69
E 86
A 97
N 5
I think that, or an entrepreneur, there’s a downside to being so agreeable. For me, it shows up in not charging enough and, sometimes, taking on work I’m not crazy about. Need to work on that conscientiousness element. I know I used to try harder when I was employed than I do on my own.


Peter Shallard June 11, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Agreed, I think agreeableness can manifest in not-so-great ways for some entrepreneurs. I think it’s important to be able to segregate thinking about this kind of thing – for example, as a therapist I’m VERY agreeable… but if you ask me for discounts, you’ll find I won’t be.

I haven’t discounted my consulting retainer for 4 years 🙂

I’d say you just need to master some linguistic kung fu, so you can be agreeable and say no at the same time 😉


Marya | Writing Happiness June 11, 2013 at 10:19 pm

O – 53
C – 92 (YAY)
E – 53 (I am an introvert!)
A – 69
N – 27


Peter Shallard June 12, 2013 at 11:27 am

Hey Marya,

Extroversion in the big five test refers mainly to ability to relate to others rather than “how we recharge our batteries” which is the classic MBTI question. They’re slightly different concepts.


Leigh June 12, 2013 at 1:27 am

O – 80
C – 92
E – 79
A – 74
N – 1

I felt like it was a pretty accurate representation of my personality. Was interesting to take.


Peter Shallard June 12, 2013 at 11:30 am

Rock on Leigh, way to score low on N!


Peter June 12, 2013 at 2:37 am

I’m a O10-C58-E91-A83-N1 Big Five!!

O= 10, C= 58 ,E= 91 ,A = 83, N = 1

I am a conventional extrovert


Peter Shallard June 12, 2013 at 11:31 am

NICE! Extroversion is an important quality although like me it looks like you could work on Conscientiousness


Brett June 12, 2013 at 4:03 am

O 70
C 94
E 91
A 63
N 22

Not surprised, could be more agreeable but im hooked on evidence, not people opinions when it comes to society’s belief systems.


Peter Shallard June 12, 2013 at 11:33 am

Hey Brett, spoken like a true 63% agreeableness. I hear ya 🙂


Lisa June 12, 2013 at 10:40 am


I’m a DiSC consultant, so this is an awesome alternative. Results make great sense. Thanks for the info here, Peter!


Peter Shallard June 12, 2013 at 11:34 am

Terrific Lisa, the Big Five is the grand-daddy of personality tests so in your profession it’s worth knowing.


Chelsea June 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm

O = 70
C = 89
E = 48
A = 74
N = 22

I tried to rate myself considering what past partners have told me. I imagine I’m biased in many ways. As an introvert by nature, I think this isn’t too bad…but I can see that I’m not as calm as I would have guessed. I’m also delightfully distractable when I’m feeling good. These probably change depending on the mood I’m in. Thanks for the post, Peter!


Peter Shallard June 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Hmmm, this is cool…. having OTHER’s carry out the test for us would be really interesting. I should get my girlfriend to do it!


John June 12, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Wow, I am not sure what question tipped the scales, but I scored way too high for my own comfort on Neuroticism. And I know I need to improve on being more conscientious.
O – 76
C – 35
E – 93
A – 83
N – 66


Peter Shallard June 15, 2013 at 11:55 am

Hey John, good insights here – at least you know what to work on!


Phil June 12, 2013 at 10:43 pm

O 41
C 83
E 93
A 32
N 11

Surprised by the O score. i relish new challenges and get bored easily but at the same time are a bit conservative – so maybe not surprising after all.
A doesnt suprise me – no time for people who arent up to the task!
The rest are about right i think……….


Steve 5 June 15, 2013 at 1:21 am

So here are the results and my personal notes to give some context. It’s as objective as I can possibly make it.

Openness 41
Concientiousness 6
Extraversion 5
Agreeableness 8
Neuroticism 49


Not exactly sure what to think of these scores. I haven’t done personality tests except maybe in college.

OPENNESS: “You typically don’t seek out new experiences.”

At first, I was in total disagreement with the openness score. I’m one that likes new experiences. I’m all about variety.

Except when I thought about it further and also after rereading the explanation did I realize not so. I think I am always DESIRING new experiences– I usually accept them when it comes– but I hardly ever do much to go after them.

As for “Low scorers tend to be conventional, down to earth, narrow interests, uncreative.”, I guess it applies. Although I always thought myself creative but maybe that’s just my inner desire?

CONCIENTIOUSNESS: “You probably have a messy desk!”

“Low scorers tend to be disorganized, undependable, negligent.”

I want to argue this but I can’t. Really can’t.

It’s dead on. I am sloppy in most of my ways. (except when it comes to keeping my computer files organized)

– My bedroom is a good example of this.
– I leave things to the last minute.
– I find myself easily distracted by whatever captures my attention, even if I am doing something else.

Only lately have I been trying to write down and organize my thoughts to make some sense of them.

But if I understand what conscientiousness means, I need help on this most. I don’t live my live or things in generals because I thought of it beforehand and decided it’s what I should be doing.

EXTRAVERSION: “You probably enjoy spending quiet time alone.”

“Low scorers tend to be introverted, reserved, inhibited, quiet.”


I’ve been shy since I was young and don’t have too many friends because of that. Though I am proud, for what it’s worth, that I have improved tremendously over the years. If I could have had a glimpse of myself now when I was younger, I likely wouldn’t believe it. I probably spent most of my energy in improving this side of me.

As of now, I choose to remain quiet most of the times. I find that I speak my mind too much for others’ comfort. Usually what I say causes misunderstandings. Or rather, I don’t know how to express myself well.

You can say when I was younger, I was quiet because I was scared and shy. Now, however, I don’t talk because I’m scared of how others might see me. The main difference, in my eyes, is now I can talk if I really want to (except when it comes to girls. Then it’s like I am my young self) For the most part, I choose not to.

AGREEABLENESS: “You find it easy to criticize others.”

“Low scorers tend to be critical, rude, harsh, callous.”

I make tons of silly + funny remarks that make people smile. Online strangers especially love my witty remarks but I think in real life, people don’t like it as much since it’s usually geared at them.

I don’t think I consciously try to make fun of others or rip ideas but it just comes out like that. I definitely agree that criticizing comes easy to me. I can always find something.

I once heard someone tell me something along the lines of “Jokes are a disguised remark of what you really think” (but better worded)

I can agree with being harsh, callous, and rude. Hard to admit but I tend to be selfish.

NEUROTICISM: “You aren’t particularly nervous, nor calm.”

“High scorers tend to be nervous, high-strung, insecure, worrying; Low scorers tend to be calm, relaxed, secure, hardy.”

Mentally I think I am stable. I used to have low self-esteem for many years but I think I have too much of it now.

I tend to ride the current wave of the situation. If something bad happens, my mind worries and I become insecure. If something good happens, I am happy and relaxed. Though I hardly reach a point of nervousness where it’s extreme. Guess you can say I am reactive.

I would agree with this score.

So that’s that. All I can say is I don’t think of myself as a totally nasty person. Even when I am making witty remarks (criticizing?) I know when to back off. It’s kind of funny that I am perceptive and empathetic. I can tell when people are feeling down or change their emotions in general.

My intention isn’t to hurt others. Although I have thought of if maybe I am subconsciously doing it to make myself feel good by bringing others down. Not sure.

Lastly, I didn’t realize it until writing all this now (thanks btw), but most of my life I’ve been trying improve my shy self. (uh, the Extraversion part)

If I step back now, I’d say I am spending less energy on my shy self (more or less since I am happy where I am at) and now more on the “Conscientousness” side. I’d say over the past year.

“Conscientiousness is defined as “the state of being thorough, careful, or vigilant”. It includes tendencies to favor self discipline, carefulness, and thoroughness. In practice, conscientiousness is developed through two “aspects” or behaviors: Organization and Industriousness.”

It could be because I’ve been trying to get my business up. One thing I’ve realized is I probably don’t need to learn more stuff. I probably know more than the average bear when it comes to marketing + business. However, when it comes to discipline and being mindful in the things I do (sometimes find myself spending the whole day doing meaningless stuff) I fail miserably. Didn’t notice it but the books and stuff I am reading now focuses on improving on this (though without much improvement to be honest)


Cat June 15, 2013 at 10:26 am

Interesting post. My scores are:

O – 65
C – 92
E – 9
A – 14
N – 49

I think this is pretty accurate in my case. And I’m happy being a disagreeable introvert. 😀 I’ve never been much of a ‘people person’.

I’d like to be less anxiety-prone though.


Peter Shallard June 21, 2013 at 10:55 am

Hey Cat, I think you take the record for lowest Extraversion score. Good conscientiousness though. Now I’m curious: What do you do for a living?


Jessica June 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Well as a licensed therapist, I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing that I’m SO agreeable. I think lately that I need to be a little less so. I’m tired of being agreeable and I think it’s gotten in the way of trusting myself to launching my own practice/business. And I need to start exercising the C.
O: 65
C: 79
E: 83
A: 94
N: 22


Peter Shallard June 21, 2013 at 10:53 am

Hey Jessica,

A lot of therapists (myself included) score high on Agreeableness – it’s a crucial ingredient for empathy.


Albrecht Smuten July 11, 2013 at 8:54 am

Openness 59
Conscientiousness 30
Extraversion 12
Agreeableness 0
Neuroticism 90

I have some trouble regarding the conscientiousness… if you know your work can always be better, you’ll never stop working on a thing that will never be perfect. There is a time, you just have to give up and release a work that has flaws left. Irritating.


Peter Shallard July 15, 2013 at 10:48 am

Hey Albrecht,

One of the panaceas I’ve discovered for that kind of perfectionism issue, is the works of Seth Godin – particularly those on “shipping”. Linchpin is a good book to start. If you immerse your mind in those concepts, you’ll eventually start to reprogram your priorities… and eventually you’ll value the ship-it mentality yourself.


Moira July 13, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Openness 84
Conscientiousness 96
Extraversion 79
Agreeableness 63
Neuroticism 37

Interesting test and observations about self. Have never done something like this before, but found the questions interesting!


C August 27, 2013 at 2:02 am

O – 1
C – 1
E – 3
A – 0
N – 96

Interesting way to find out what a terrible human being I am.


Peter Shallard August 27, 2013 at 11:04 am

Hi “C”, I think it’s highly unlikely you’re filling out the test as intended… so I wouldn’t take the results too seriously if I was you.


Lynn September 21, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Openness 96
Conscientiousness 52
Extraversion 5
Agreeableness 0
Neuroticism 22

Extraversion is a critical trait for finding success in entrepreneurship isn’t it?


Peter Shallard September 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Hey Lynn,

Extraversion is important for a lot of things, for sure. A score as low as yours is probably an indication of *something else* going on. That said, there are some entrepreneurs (particularly of the internet variety) who make money without ever having to interact with other people in real life.


Lynn September 22, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Thanks Peter,

I figured that using the Internet might be one way to go. Speaking as a lifelong student of Psychology, I know it’s possible to be extremely introverted (it just means that interaction & commotion drain the energy out of you – nothing more). It’s an anomaly, statistically speaking, but possible. There can be overlap with say, for example, Schizoid personality (but someone can also be extremely introverted without necessarily being Schizoid as well). I can’t help but think that people wouldn’t *blink twice* if I scored 95 or 100 on extroversion just because of cultural bias. Both introversion and extroversion have desirable and undesirable aspects to them.

Anyhow, thanks for the confirmation that Internet entrepreneurship would be one way to go!


Michael September 22, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Hi Lynn – that’s an interesting score, not least because it’s very similar to mine, qv upthread somewhere, and so I know exactly how you feel.

The bottom line is that you and I are both introverted, disagreeable curmudgeons, BUT that in no way makes us any less likely to succeed online or indeed anywhere else…the “stickability” implied by the conscientiousness score is the major determining factor.

I genuinely love the internet because it allows people like us to have as much or as little interaction with folks as we like, and still make whatever income our other self-imposed limits allow.

Best wishes,


Lynn September 22, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Hey nice scores there Michael! Another misanthrope… yes!!! 😀

I see we share a similar Neuroticism score as well! I’m familiar with how each Big 5 scale is composed of 5 or 6 subscales. I score very highly on some Conscientiousness dimensions but not others. People who know me say that I’m very reliable, thorough, and lazy in one breath… haha! Guess it’s a matter of finding what it is that fires up more of that “follow through.”

As far as advantages conferred by introversion and disagreeableness go, there’s always poker! http://www.poker.org/news/study-poker-players-are-introverted-and-disagreeable-12692/

Thanks for commenting Michael!


Lisa M October 4, 2013 at 3:55 pm

O – 84
C – 94
E – 96
A – 90
N – 1

I think this describes me well 🙂 I am liberal, social, and a very detailed person


Will N. November 8, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Hi Peter,

I just discovered the BIG 5 Personality Test… my results are:

O – 65
C – 94
E – 97
A – 94
N – 1

And for my Meyers-Briggs, I’m an ENTJ…

Still new to all this, so not sure how to interpret the results. However, I just started a new company 6 months ago and find this to be very fascinating!


Noell Nicholas January 17, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Consciousness: 100%
Extraversion: 9%
Openness: 37%
Neurcotisism: 100%
Agreeable: 47%


Kim April 18, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Conscientious people (conservatives) tend to base success on money earned. That’s why they make more and keep jobs longer (well, the second is because they dislike change).

Liberals (high openness scores) tend to look for more “fulfilling” jobs, and less boring ones like finance.

… so are you a liberal or conservative?


Peter Shallard April 18, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Way too many invalid presuppositions in this question for it to get a proper answer my friend 🙂


Kim April 18, 2014 at 1:39 pm
Lynn April 18, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Kim, that’s an amazing read. I’ve been closely following scientific discussions about personality traits from the “nature” point of view (after a full education that emphasized the “nurture” side) as well as evolutionary reasons for why we are the way we are (individually and as the distinct groups of people consistently found across societies and throughout history). So I just wanted to send a quick thank you for providing that information.


Peter Shallard April 21, 2014 at 9:32 am

Yeah, it’s a very interesting article. There’s a discussion to be had about the merits of the researchers methods and the falls in some of the core findings here too… but since politics is involved, this blog is not the place to do it. Something about that topic is incendiary to a certain type of person – Kim’s sassy response is just a foreshadowing of what is to come if we go down that rabbit hole.


Jose Luis May 7, 2014 at 10:03 am

Hi, Peter.

I found this one that is very thorough. It measures several “sub-traits” of conscientiousness: http://www.yourpersonality.net/cgi-bin/conscientiousness/conscientiousness2.pl


Peter Shallard May 7, 2014 at 10:41 am

I’m a little suspicious of this one. A lot of the questions seem to be extremely prescriptive of a certain kind of lifestyle and judgmental of the opposite – something doesn’t quite feel right about. Would love to know what their method is based on.


Ben June 22, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Hmm, no major surprise here. I’ve known for a while that poor organization and self-discipline are weaknesses of mine, and they are both areas I’m actively working on right now.

Openness: 59%
Consciousness: 10%
Extraversion: 59%
Agreeable: 69%
Neurcotisism: 18%

Peter, I often think – especially lately – “it only was more self-disciplined, I could become successful.” I believe that to be true, and I’m working to build my self-discipline.

Earlier this month, I committed myself specifically to building my self-discipline. I’m wondering, Peter, if there is either a particular resource, an approach, or an exercise you’d recommend to help with that pursuit?


Lisa R July 5, 2014 at 7:23 am

Hey Peter,

I just popped over to your website to have a little lookski and was seduced by a test! I love tests. Haha. When I started reading the options at the top I thought myself to be “conscientious” above all, but as I read the post I started questioning it…. So, my results:
O – 5%
C – 98%!
E – 31%
A – 94%
N – 7%

Interesting to reflect on now (in an organised manner of course). 🙂


Peter Shallard July 5, 2014 at 10:35 am

Heh hi Lisa! Looks like you scored pretty damn high for Conscientiousness – so you were right!


Dan July 22, 2014 at 6:58 am

Hello Peter,

Well maybe my results explain why I have not been successful in starting my own business. I have started 6 different home businesses to have none of them succeed. My scores:
O – 80
C – 8
E – 95
A – 69
N – 3

So am I destined to always have to work for someone else?

What occupations would I be a best fit based on my scores? I have not been able to find a website that correlates the scores to ideal occupations.

And yes, the results are very accurate for me. I have a messy desk. I have at least 100 new ideas every day about things I could do. I love the creating and launching of new ideas and endeavors; however, I get quickly bored with the day-to-day details.

How do I retrain my mind to like the boring part of business? I would like to be more conscientious. I have read books but it only stays as knowledge. I need to be able to take it from knowledge to application.

Thanks for your website and your response.


Kellie July 30, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Hi, Dan.

What’s your Myers-Briggs type?
Is there any area of life in which you are extremely conscientious, with good attention to detail and high follow-through?


Dan August 21, 2014 at 11:51 pm

I apologize for the delay in replying to you. My Myers-Briggs type is ENFP.

The only area where I display extremely conscientious, good attention to detail and high follow-through is in my writing, teaching, art, etc… I am very creative; however, it didn’t take long as a young man to realize that creativity doesn’t put food on the table and a roof over my head. So I let that go and focused on surviving, paying the bills and providing for my family.

I do want to thank you for your question. It has started me thinking.


Iain October 14, 2014 at 6:59 pm

oh dear. I’m definitely a worrier, that’s why I’m so conscientious. Put the work in up front so I can be less worried later!

I’m a O53-C89-E48-A90-N60 Big Five!!


Lynn Patra October 14, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Hi Peter and everyone else! I’m revisiting this discussion thread because I noticed some people who’re naturally low in conscientiousness wondering what they can do to achieve success. Recently, I figured out that there are specific contexts in which high conscientiousness is not necessary and even a liability to career success.

The following is from the American Psychology Association (source: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/predict-job-performance.aspx):

“…using conscientiousness as a standard of job performance won’t work for all jobs. For some jobs, particularly creative ones, conscientiousness may be a liability, rather than an asset. Some research shows that while conscientiousness predicts performance in realistic and conventional jobs, it impedes success in investigative, artistic and social jobs that require innovation, creativity and spontaneity.” (See the Holland Codes for further interpretation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holland_Codes)

Creativity has correlations with *any* of the following – low agreeabless (hence the phenomena of some highly creative people not playing well with others), high openness to experience, OR low conscientiousness. Entrepreneurship is a CREATIVE endeavor and hence you can be an entrepreneur with low conscientiousness. It would, however, be difficult to be a “solopreneur.” In other words, you’d best find others with higher conscientiousness to partner with and then delegate the follow-through on necessary tasks to them.

You can read more about my investigation into low conscientiousness here: http://wp.me/p2Z6Qz-Oh

Aside from that, some of you who find it a struggle to cultivate high conscientiousness may want to ask yourselves if you might have ADD or ADHD. A good litmus test is, do stimulants (like caffeine) have a sedative effect on you? If you do indeed have ADD/ADHD, you may or may not need extra assistance with your work situation. This depends on whether or not you can find the proper niche for yourself. I’ve addressed this in my blog as well.

I have a solid background in Psychology. You can view my education/work history here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lynnpatra/


Scott November 5, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Wow, looks like I have a lot of work to do…

O: 65
C: 8
E: 37
A: 79
N: 49


Charles Stevenson November 24, 2014 at 4:59 am

I’ve just done the test …
I feel like I’ve been smashed in the face with the brick of reality


Oh, crikey!

Not sure what to say at the minute. Thanks, Peter. It’s funny how something so obvious was missed by me previously.

Will get back to you on this …


Michelle March 17, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Openness 16
Conscientiousness 82
Extraversion 79
Agreeableness 83
Neuroticism 27


Jade April 7, 2015 at 5:07 pm

o – 76
c -39
e -15
a- 90
n -22


tara July 8, 2015 at 2:35 am

hmmmmmmmm…could be worse…i am real tired of the worry tho…lol…if that score could be lower that would be nice…


Dude November 12, 2015 at 10:29 pm

So I came across this site and decided to take the test. I got
O: 30
C: 17
E: 15
A: 22
N: 15

Compared to the results of the 300 question IPIP NEO I took, the conscientiousness, agreeability, and neuroticism score ranks were ranked low for both. That’s the good because it is a very consistent result for me.

The bad (well not exactly bad) is the difference in extraversion and openness scores between the two tests. For the IPIP both were in the average range while both were low for the test you linked. It isn’t a big deal because the IPIP is a lot more thorough.


Missy May 24, 2016 at 12:49 am

I could have given my score without the test. Teachers and professors in school used to say how kind, thoughtful, agreeable, etc…I was….but then they would always follow up with, it’s a shame you are so shy.

Openness – 65
Conscientiousness – 94
Extraversion – 37
Agreeableness – 96
Neuroticism – 5


Consuelo October 30, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Love this information

Openness – 88
Conscientiousness – 30
Extraversion – 93
Agreeableness – 63
Neuroticism – 18


Omar Patino January 2, 2017 at 2:30 pm

I just took this test and was surprised that my conscientiousness score was so low.
I guess I’ll be joining Commit Action for help in that area. There isn’t much more I can say here, maybe I should have joined the military after all.

Openness – 84
conscientiousness – 46
extroversion – 64
agreeableness – 79
neuroticism – 9


Leave a Comment

{ 27 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: