Do you know there’s a success factor you can start instilling in your child right now? It’s a trait that, according to a tsunami of research, is more predictive of success in life that any other skill or aptitude. It’s the often overlooked trait of conscientious behavior.
Your child may be too young to know the word, but that doesn’t mean he or she can’t grasp the concept. A sense of right and wrong is one of the first things parents instill in a child. At its most basic level, conscientious behavior is knowing what the right thing to do is and doing it. To a child, conscientiousness begins with simple tasks such as brushing teeth and picking up toys.
As the child develops, conscientiousness expands to embrace complex ideas like telling the truth, keeping promises, and being responsible. In addition to encouraging these behaviors in your child, it’s important that you set the same standards for yourself, providing a consistent model to learn from. For example, if you practice spending restraint to save for an important item, your child is more likely to learn the value of advance planning and setting money aside.
According to numerous studies, conscientiousness isn’t just one factor in achieving success, it is the single most reliable factor in predicting success at school and in the workplace. Recent studies by the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Aging have found that conscientious people are more likely to find employment and less likely to lose their jobs. They also tend to earn more money and report higher levels of satisfaction with their work.
While these findings may seem predictable, others findings are more surprising. Several studies show that conscientious adults experience less stress, have sounder physical health, and enjoy better social relationships. This has proved consistently true regardless of career choice, talents, and other personality traits such as openness, agreeableness and extroversion. The image of the absent-minded professor and free-spirited artist may seem at odds with conscientiousness, but in fact both of these types succeed because they bring a high degree of organization and dedication to their endeavors.
The Success Chain
Habits begun in childhood start building a success chain that leads not only to financial success but success in health, happiness and fulfillment. Researchers have speculated that the reason conscientious people have less stress is because they meet their obligations and avoid last minute scrambles to finish their work or pay the mortgage. Their good health is the outcome of taking care of themselves and not skipping regular checkups. Social relationships flourish because others can count on them. You can help your child start building this success chain at a very young age. The rewards will remain forever.