WOW Word-Of-the-Week #342: Conscientious

February 22, 2011 by  

Conscientious – characterized by extreme care and great effort.

Are you a conscientious person? Would your customers, members, guests, clients, or family say that you well organized? Would they say that you are responsible? How about prudent?

The cover of this week’s Sunday Parade Magazine read, “THE SECRETS TO A LONG LIFE
Do you have what it takes to go the distance?”
The article written by Howard S. Friedman, PH.D & Leslie R. Martin, PH.D goes on to say, “Thanks to the findings in a surprising new book, The Longevity Project, you can finally learn why some people make it to a very old age and others don’t.”

The article featured 6 myths of living longer. They used research dating from 1921 conducted by Lewis Terman, a Stanford University psychologist who was interested in discovering the sources of intellectual leadership. The myth that I found most interesting was #3.

YOU CAN WORRY YOURSELF TO DEATH.  Actually, the opposite is true: Terman’s study clearly revealed that the best predictor of longevity in children was conscientiousness – being prudent, well organized, even somewhat obsessive. The same was true later in life. Adults who were thrifty, persistent, detail-oriented, and responsible lived the longest.”

“One of the most obvious explanations is that conscientious people do more to protect their health – for example, wearing seat belts or following doctors’ orders – and engage in fewer risky activities, like smoking, drinking to excess, abusing drugs, or driving too fast. They are not necessarily risk-averse, but they tend to be sensible in evaluating how far to push the envelope. ”

“Having this trait leads people into happier marriages, better friendships, and healthier work situations. That’s right: Conscientious people create long-life pathways for themselves. And you aren’t locked into – or out of – this trait. One Terman subject who lived to an old age scored very low in conscientiousness as a youngster. As an adult, he found a job he liked and had a very solid marriage. He became conscientious – and reaped the rewards.”

This week’s focus is being conscientious if you’d like to live longer. Are you persistent? Are you detail-oriented? Do you always wear your seat belt? Do you tend to be sensible in evaluating how far to push the envelope?

Reader Responses

“Love it, want the book…..thanks!!” – Bev

“I won’t go long into details but I recently changed careers from one where I cared for everyone but myself to one where I am caring for others and myself.  I now have my dignity back because I am taking care of myself and that makes all the difference.  I just wanted to tell you great job and you were right on the money with this Word of the Week for sure. Keep up the great work!” – Brian

“Great word. Throughout my young academic life I was called “conscientious” by teachers, family members and friends. I dotted the i’s, crossed the t’s and stayed on top of those aspects of my life that required me to be accountable and responsible. As with everything else in life, it is habit-forming. I have carried it into my adult life, especially in relation to my children. Both of my girls are conscientious. The nine-year-old is organized and has a place for everything in her room. My two-year-old is a stickler for following through on every task and putting things away when she is finished with them. If her routine is disturbed, she becomes upset. My wife is more conscientious than I am. She reminds me of things that I forget. Kristen reminds me of putting on my seatbelt and not to speed. She not only is very organized, but Kristen has a lot of common sense. So, I am very fortunate. We are also conscientious about sending thank you notes to people who have remembered our birthdays. We have taught this to both girls as well. As conscientious as we are, we do notice those who are not. And it is disappointing. But we call can’t be conscientious. Thanks again, Susan. Have a great weekend. Take care.” – “Warrior” Joe