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

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

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. 


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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Openness 80
    Concientiousness 89
    Extraversion 12
    Agreeableness 0
    Neuroticism 22

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

  4. This website was the one I used to test myself

    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?

    1. 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.

  5. 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?

    1. 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).

      1. Neuroticism is highly valuable in a variety of circumstances. You shouldn’t interpret it so black and white.

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

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

    1. 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.

    1. 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?

      1. 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!

    1. 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?

      1. 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.

  8. 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 🙂

    1. 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.

  9. 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.


  10. 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!


  11. 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

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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)

    1. 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?

  15. 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.

    1. 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 😉

    1. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. O88

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

  19. 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!

  20. 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

  21. 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……….

  22. 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)

  23. 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.

  24. 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

  25. 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.

    1. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. Openness 96
    Conscientiousness 52
    Extraversion 5
    Agreeableness 0
    Neuroticism 22

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

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

        1. 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,

          1. 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!

            Thanks for commenting Michael!


  28. 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

  29. 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!

  30. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

    1. 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.

  31. 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?

  32. 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). 🙂

  33. 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.

    1. 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?

      1. 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.

  34. 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!!

  35. 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:

    “…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:

    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:

    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:

    1. Sorry to “necro” your thread but I came across this and it seemed interesting.

      As I am a musician of 26 years, playing multiple instruments with key skills in composition and song writing, I agree that conscientiousness is not particularly needed for musical ability.
      I got: O 89 C 20 E 90 A 50 and N 41. I think that this stuff is variable though. For example, for the last year I was teaching in a mainstream setting and if my agreeableness had a meter, I could honestly say that I felt it lowering physically with each punishment given to errant youth 😛

      As far as conscientiousness goes however, when it comes to playing instruments and rehearsing, I can do a laser focus when it’s needed. I think that I just don’t focus much on things that don’t interest me.
      Also, when it comes to thinking up musical ideas, I tend to get ideas come to me in my sleep. Literally having all parts come to me. I believe this ability takes the leg work out of going through processes for me.

      For conscientiousness as well as the other traits though, I’d say my study of the ancient Greek philosophy of Stoicism has helped and is continuing to help by putting a moral spin on doing things in an orderly fashion.
      I tend to like grand narratives that I can contribute to logically and effectively and Stoicism gives that blueprint for individual contribution to the project of helping out humanity as a whole. It also teaches me to deal with rejection and failure which has, I think, helped to lower my neuroticism since the last time I took such a test.

      Extroversion comes from being on stage for 22 years I’d guess, also from the Stoic overcoming of challenges and the losing of my ADD and sensory processing disorders through diet change to veganism (a long and remarkable in itself).

      I can’t really believe in the stability of these things ultimately, as I have myself changed drastically in the last 3 years alone.

      I think through my latest business venture of selling art and teaching music with a business partner, my conscientiousness will rise, especially if I see a moral reason for it doing so.

      It may feel good for people to post high C scores and to feel like they’re in “the winning camp” but scientific research on neuroplatiscity and my own experiences lead me to believe that things are mutable, rather than fixed.

  36. OMG!
    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 …

  37. o-93
    hmmmmmmmm…could be worse…i am real tired of the worry tho…lol…if that score could be lower that would be nice…

  38. 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.

  39. 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

  40. Love this information

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

  41. 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

  42. This article has some glaring oversights. The largest is that different personality traits are useful to society for different things. Openness is far more common among entrepreneurs for a reason: the willingness to embrace new risky untested ideas is necessary in order to face uncertainty. This is also true for C-suite execs which need to scan the horizon and look for emerging opportunities and threats, rather than follow directions well. Conscientious people tend to be more afraid of ambiguous rules and so are often risk-averse. They are needed for running a stable organization or department, but they’re typically also the bandwagon joiner types who won’t acknowledge threats that their peers/superiors don’t acknowledge (which is problematic when everyone in a group or organization is that way). On top of all that, personality tends to be relatively stable, and striving to change your personality is often not the most fruitful courses of action (except for openness which appears to be the most malleable).

  43. All these people’s scores, lol. Somehow almost everyone is less than 10th percentile for neuroticism and over 90th for conscientiousness. If only they knew how bizarre they would act if those scores were true. It’s like there’s some incentive to answer untruthfully…

    1. Jesse, I believe you are missing the most important problem with these people who are high on conscientiousness and low on neuroticism. They all have high trait agreeableness, which means they are likely to be corporate drones.

      Their niceness and politeness, and risk aversion will cause them to have limited success in life. In a corporation, being low on N and high on C and A causes people to be yes men, follow through on all assignments, never complain about the job, and do not react in a negative way to their bosses.

  44. O 97
    C 99
    E 90
    A 82
    N 59

    Took me way longer than 4 minutes to answer everything. I walked away and came back 3x before finishing. I had to keep asking myself if this is really me or was I just answering it a certain way for a desirable result. Oh, yes I am a CA client.

  45. Here’s mine, what does that say about me?
    Openess 72
    Conscientousness 99
    Extraversion 1
    Agreeableness 65
    Neuroticism 97

    couple of extremes there – bit of a worry?

  46. wil you pls help me by suggesting which career option is most suitable for me while the

    O= 30
    C= 17
    E= 40
    A= 17
    N= 95

  47. Openess = 98
    Conscientousness = 0
    Extraversion = 96
    Agreeableness = 2
    Neuroticism = 100

    Fun/social guy whom doesn’t get to chat much and spends all his time on computer management systems…well, that explains the 100 on neuroticism.

  48. Here are my personality results from the site:

    O: 98

    C: 39

    E: 96

    A: 2

    N: 46

    Here’s the link to the page:,100,100&c=44,63,56&e=88,88,81&a=25,31,31&n=38,25,69&y=1990&g=m

    I’m an ENTP 8w7 born, raised, and currently a resident of Detroit, MI, USA.

    Yes, for the most part, I hate people.

    Yes, I need to be around people on a regular basis as I extremely dislike being alone for long periods of time – say more than one day without human contact.

    I enjoy being around them as long as I’m the one in control.

    The major time other people notice my extreme dislike for humanity is when they’re close to me. I don’t have any friends currently due to making them jealous of me after improving my life by getting a fit body, making more money in a previous job before starting my LLC, and actually starting my LLC.

    On another website I took this test on, I specified that I wanted to be even more disagreeable than the 0 percentile Agreeableness score I received for that test.

    I suppose that, to be more disagreeable than 0 percent, I would need to be willing to become a criminal.

    My below average Conscientious score is a reflection on my high tendency to procrastinate. I often want things to end up perfectly and frequently lack the experience to know for certain when perfection for a given project is attainable.

    Once I get started on something, I generally commit to finishing it.

    The major projects I haven’t finished have been creative projects where financial output wasn’t a requirement; an example of this is music production, which is a small hobby of mine.

    I need to be active in creative pursuits like video games and music on a regular basis or I start to believe that I’m losing IQ points at a rate of 20 per day.

    I have average emotions, and I’m more in control of my emotions than most. Very few things throw me off balance. I don’t particularly feel strong emotions unless my creativity fails me with a problem, and I work VERY hard to not get to that state of negative emotion.

  49. O: 89
    C: 99
    E: 90
    A: 0
    N: 7

    I am very loving with people who I truly care about, mainly my wife and kids, we have an excellent relationship. I thank my wife for everything I have in my life.

    I tolerate others and they must earn my trust and support before I call them friend or business associate.

    I take care of business at any cost, and always move my family forward towards success.

    Investing is easy with low neuroticism and high conscientiousness, I move when negative emotion people make bad decisions on the market because of their feelings.

    Real estate is easy because I am not afraid to confront tenants, evict and raise rents, as well as make brokers and agents do exactly what I want done. I don’t feel bad for other people, which is explained by my agreeableness.

    Time is my most important asset, hence the extremely high conscientiousness.

    I am a leader.

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