Conscientiousness is one’s ability to follow socially prescribed norms, be goal-directed, plan, and delay gratification. It is included in the Big Five Taxonomy of personality traits and makes one diligent and careful.
Conscientious individuals tend to be:
- Very organized
- Sticklers for their routines
- Critical thinkers
- Problem solvers
Conscientiousness affects one’s behavior and compels them to do well in their life, career, and workplace.
Research has found that good health has been associated with conscientiousness. This is because people who are conscientious are less likely to indulge in unhealthy habits like drugs, alcohol, and smoking. Also, their self-discipline and avoidance of stressful situations drive them to lead healthy lives.
Conscientiousness can shape an individual’s career choices, the relationships they make, friendships, marriage stability, and other aspects that influence their life, health, and longevity. A study reported by Patrick L. Hill and his colleagues from the University of Illinois suggests that having high conscientiousness has cognitive benefits, which is also related to longevity.
Conscientiousness is one of the many characteristics that shape an individual’s behavior and personality. It is associated with five sub-traits, namely:
Most, if not all of our traits, are influenced by genes.
Studies have shown that conscientiousness has a heritability of about 50 percent.
The genes that are associated with conscientiousness include SMOC1, LAMB1, DYRK1A, and COL19A1.
The SMOC1 gene contains instruction for the production of secreted modular calcium-binding protein 1. This gene is located on chromosome 14. The SMOC-1 protein binds to other proteins and regulates the growth and development of tissues throughout the body.
rs11626232 is a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP in the SMOC1 gene. It has been associated with conscientiousness levels. The C allele of rs11626232 has been linked to lower levels of conscientiousness.
The Big 5 personality traits work together, giving each one of us a complex personality. Each of these traits influences the other. Also, a person’s personality is not constant but keeps changing as they go from childhood into teenage and adulthood.
Some factors that influence a person’s personality and, thereby, individual traits like conscientiousness are:
- Life experiences at different stages
Conscious effort and practice can help you increase your conscientiousness. The Harvard Medical School recommends the following to improve your conscientiousness:
Focus on specifics: Set your mind on being punctual, or start with organizing your desk. You might see a difference. A start to be more conscientious will help you to achieve more.
Make daily plans and stick to them: Create a to-do list every day and try to complete it at the end of the day. This will encourage you to be more organized.
Use reminders: If you are naturally not a conscientious person, you will not be able to do any work as planned. Hence, it is recommended to set reminders in any of your gadgets.
Stay social: Staying in touch with your family and friends will motivate you to be conscientious.
Here are some additional tips:
- Eliminate distractions while performing a task.
- Reward yourself for showing conscientiousness, and it will act as positive reinforcement.
- Listen to others more as that can help you understand people and develop emotional intelligence.
Perception is a sensory experience that includes all the five senses; touch, smell, sound, sight, and taste. Through perception, we sense or detect stimuli around us, and then the brain processes this into meaningful experiences and makes us act accordingly.
How you recognize the face of a friend, a familiar scent is through perception. Perception includes the ability to detect changes around you and recognizing these changes and any familiarities. It allows us to experience and interpret the world around us.
Perceptual speed is a cognitive ability. It can be defined as the speed at which a person compares, scans figures or symbols, and performs simple tasks involving visual perception. It is a skill that involves rapid identification of matching items, a person’s ability to compare visual patterns or identify a visual pattern amongst a mix of different patterns. It is an automatic mental process that differs from person to person. This influences other functions, such as working memory.
Perceptual speed is also defined as the ability to compare letters, objects, or patterns quickly. This ability also includes recalling a previously seen object to compare it with the presently showcased one.
Genetics has an influence on how fast or slow you perceive things and your perceptive ability. Genes that play a role in dopamine functioning influence perceptual speed also. Dopamine, popularly known as the happy hormone, plays several important roles in the brain. Changes in this hormone's receptor can influence perceptual speed and ability. They may exhibit characteristics such as being quick at recognizing patterns, spotting intricate differences, ability to focus well, and rapidly process information.
The DRD4 gene carries instructions for the production of a protein called Dopamine Receptor D4. The DRD4 protein is a subtype of the dopamine receptor. Dopamine receptors are necessary for neurological signaling to allow dopamine to perform its function. Changes in this gene are found to influence various behavioral traits.
rs3758653 is a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP in the DRD4 gene. According to a study, people with the T allele demonstrated better processing speed than C allele carriers.
Certain disorders classified as perceptual disorders are cognitive conditions that interfere with your perception ability.
- Spatial neglect syndromes are most often caused due to a stroke or brain injury. They affect how you respond and attend to stimuli on one side of the body.
- Prosopagnosia is a disorder that creates problems with recognizing faces.
- Aphantasia results in an inability to visualize things in the mind.
- Schizophrenia is characterized by abnormal perceptions of reality.
Other personality traits, past experiences, motivation, social influences, and the environment around can affect how you perceive things and the speed at which you do.
There are certain ways by which you can improve your ability to perceive things and understand them at a faster rate.
- Try to be very attentive. Being attentive to the world around you can help you perceive it more clearly. Attention to detail is also a good skill to cultivate.
- Understanding what you perceive is important. Just the visual image without meaning won’t be very helpful, and you won’t remember it for long. Try to make sense of the world around you so you can react accordingly.
- After understanding the world around you, you need to take action. This is the final step of the perceptual process. This will help you focus on things that are important to you and understand them better.
- With practice, your speed at any skill improves.
- There are several brain exercises and activities available that can help you train your brain and make you better at these pattern recognition activities.
- Being organized and planning can make you more efficient at what you’re doing.
Creativity is the tendency to come up with ideas to solve problems with relevance and novelty. Creativity can also be defined as the ability to transform ideas, dreams, and imagination into reality. It is characterized by the ability to identify hidden patterns, make connections between things that are usually not related, and come up with innovative and unique ideas.
We are all born with an immense amount of creativity, and the best example of this is children. Children often have the most innovative and creative ideas. However, as we grow up, we outgrow creativity.
According to George Land's study in 1968, creativity in 5-year-olds was found to be 98%, and it reduced to 30% by the time they reached age 10. It reduced further to 12% in 15-years-olds, and adults in the study showed just 2% creativity.
When we are creative, certain logic centers in our brain are switched off, and the parts of our brain that are not used regularly are switched on. The medial prefrontal cortex of the brain gets activated during a creative process while the activity of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex gets lowered.
Creativity shapes personality, behavior, mindset, outlook about life and people, confidence, and lots of other aspects of one's life.
Here are some reasons why creativity is important in our lives:
- Creativity helps free the mind and help you absorb more knowledge
- It engages the mind and enables alternative ways of thinking
- It enables one to connect with themselves and develop empathy
- It makes one confident
- Instills curiosity and inquisitiveness
- Encourages different learning styles and helps open your mind
Creativity does a world of good and becomes a way of life for those who have this personality trait. This trait also influences other personality traits of an individual, such as:
Creativity makes one a fast-thinker and breeds empathy– both of which are essential for a good leader. It shapes individuals into successful leaders who are able to come up with innovative ideas and redefine business solutions. Creative leaders are open-minded and inventive in their ways. Along with these characteristics, creative leaders also hear their peers and steer their teams ahead.
Creativity encourages people to work without boundaries, tackle problems efficiently and quickly, shifts the fear of failure, and makes them passionate about the work they do. All these work together to improve productivity. For this reason, people who are creative are also extremely productive individuals.
Divergent or lateral thinking that stems from creativity helps creative people come up with novel ideas and solutions. Creative thinkers are able to sift through information, understand the root of the problem they are solving, and weigh the options available to them to take the right decision.
Being creative is often seen as a natural 'talent.' While it is not exactly a misconception, it is solely not the only base of creativity.
Studies have shown that about 22% of genetic variants contribute to creativity.
Of the several genes involved, the widely studied ones are NGR1 and COMT.
Neuregulin 1 (NRG1) gene is located on chromosome 8. There are several different isoforms of this gene - this means that the NRG1 gene produces proteins that are functionally similar but structurally different. The main function of this gene is to induce the growth and differentiation of brain cells. Studies show a clear link between the NRG1 gene and creativity.
rs6994992 is a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP in the NRG1 gene. This SNP has been associated with creativity as well as the development of psychological disorders like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
The catechol-O-methyltransferase gene, also called COMT, is located on the small chromosome 22. The role of the COMT enzyme in the brain is to break down neurotransmitters, especially dopamine and norepinephrine. They ensure the balance of these chemical messengers. By doing so, they influence the transfer of information from one neuron to the next.
rs4680 is an SNP in the COMT gene. Those with the A type of rs4680 have more dopamine in their brain. Increased dopamine is said to increase creativity in an individual.
Lacking the creativity genes does not mean you cannot foster or develop creativity in your life or work. Here are some habits that can help your brain think creatively:
- Use imaginative play in your routine work and life.
- Be open to inspirations that stem from your passions.
- Take time to reflect in solitude as research suggests solitary reflection uses a different kind of brain network compared to external reflection.
- Follow your intuition as it helps generate creative ideas and find solutions to problems at hand in a creative way.
- Be open to learning– through studying, new experiences, and adventures, as they all help develop creativity in a myriad number of ways.
- Practice mindfulness every day. It helps you observe the present moment without any distractions or judgment from others. It also helps in improving concentration, sustain attention, inculcate empathy and compassion– all of which are central to creativity.
- Being sensitive and knowing to connect the dots is important to develop creativity.
- Extreme adversities can be used to harness creativity as they act as a catalyst to help you develop it.
- Think unconventionally, even if there's a risk of failure.
Memory is an important part of who we are. From recollecting childhood memories to remembering your grocery list, memory is important in all aspects of our lives. It is defined as the ability to acquire, store, retain, and retrieve information. Various parts of the brain are involved in the complex process of memory.
Memory is not perfect. Memory declines with age. People may sometimes have problems with remembering things or are forgetful at times. There are also certain medical conditions like dementia that can cause problems with memory and lead to memory loss.
There are three major processes involved in memory, namely encoding, storage, and retrieval. Based on what you’ve learned or experienced, the human memory stores the information. This information can be recovered whenever needed.
Broadly, memory is classified into sensory, short-term, and long-term memory.
Also called working memory, this is brief storage of information. It lasts for lesser than a second for visual information and a few seconds for auditory information. Sensory information is taken in by the sensory receptors processed by the nervous system and stored very briefly till it's passed onto short-term memory.
When you hold a sparkler, which is a handheld firework, and move it in different patterns, your eyes move along the trail of light. This is an example of sensory memory.
Also known as primary or active memory, it is the information that we are thinking about at present. This lasts for about 20-30 seconds. Short-term memory can be quickly forgotten. From this stage, information is transferred to long-term memory.
When you need to remember a phone number someone just told you or a grocery list, you use your short-term memory.
Long-term memory involves the storage of information for a continuous period of time. Some long-term memories can be recalled easily, while others take longer to remember.
Long-term memory involves recollecting past events, some events that happened years ago. Remembering how to ride a bike or swim requires long-term memory.
Also called Lethologica, this is the inability to remember the right word. This problem occurs when you feel like you have the answer to a question at the tip of your tongue, but you can't remember it.
Smell is a powerful memory trigger. The ability to smell is linked to memory. The olfactory nerve is located close to the hippocampus and the amygdala, the region of the brain responsible for emotion and emotional memory.
A good memory can be a great asset and can help in daily life, in school, or at work. Apart from playing a role in your daily life, memories are also important for your personal life. Your memories and experience can define you as a person. Long-term memories can lead to nostalgia, which is a warm, emotional feeling you have when you come across something familiar.
Memory and learning have a symbiotic relationship. Memory is needed for learning, but through learning, information is stored in one's memory.
Memory also helps you focus. In today's world, there is a lot of technology that tends to distract you. Recalling past events through memory can help you focus and be more disciplined.
Everyday events of life influence one's memory power. Genetics also plays a role in your memory power.
Research shows that genes also play a role in influencing your memory. Genetics can be responsible for some of the differences in memory between individuals. Genetics influence educational attainment, emotional memory, and memory performance.
People with certain genetic types are more likely to have better memory and may exhibit characteristics such as rapid recall of events, be better at remembering names, and more adept at learning new skills/language.
The KIBRA gene carries instructions for the production of kidney and brain expressed protein. This protein is also called WW domain-containing protein 1. Research shows that changes in this gene are linked to memory performance.
rs17070145 is a single nucleotide polymorphism or an SNP in the KIBRA gene. People with the T allele of this SNP are found to have better free recall performance and improved episodic memory, a type of long-term memory compared to those with the CC genotype.
The CLSTN2 gene carries instructions for the production of a protein called Calsyntenin 2. Studies show that changes in this gene are linked to memory performance.
rs6439886 is an SNP in the CLSTN2 gene. People with the T allele were found to have better memory performance.
Memory declines with age.
Getting too little sleep or too much sleep can affect your memory power. An adequate amount of sleep is needed to maintain memory.
Stress can affect your memory power. Stress can create problems with short-term memory and retrieving long-term memories. Depression can lead to confusion and memory loss. Anxiety also affects memory power.
Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, which affects your memory. An underactive thyroid can affect your memory span and ability to concentrate. It can lead to forgetfulness. Hyperthyroidism also affects memory and can lead to confusion.
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Some studies show that Vitamin B12 deficiency affects memory power.
Heavy alcohol use can result in memory lapses. You may find it difficult to recollect certain events or the entire night. People with alcohol use disorder may have short-term or long-term memory loss.
Certain medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-anxiety medication, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and pain medication, can lead to memory loss and confusion.
Here are some ways to improve your memory.
- Taking note of things or writing them down helps you retain information better.
- Try to remember long lists using mnemonics like abbreviations, acronyms, or even songs and rhymes.
- Getting sufficient sleep is important for maintaining memory power.
- Try to avoid consuming large amounts of alcohol as it can lead to memory problems in the long run.
- Brain training can improve working and short-term memory. Mental workouts may improve memory.
- Regular physical exercise can reduce the risk of cognitive decline with age.
- Studies show that mindfulness meditation can improve brain function and memory.
- Sugary foods, a high-calorie diet, and refined carbs may create problems with memory. Low levels of vitamin D can also cause problems with cognitive function. A balanced diet, including anti-inflammatory foods, fruits, and vegetables, can help maintain memory.
Leadership is a trait demonstrated by some people who have the inherent tendency to influence people and lead them. It is a complex trait influenced by many factors. As per the famous saying by Bennis and Nanus in 1985 – “Leadership seems to be the marshaling of skills processed by a majority but used by a minority. But, it is something that can be learned by anyone, taught by everyone, and denied to no one.”
Leadership can also be called a ‘process’ by which an individual influences a group of people to achieve a common goal in a more coherent way. Leadership potential is the ability of an individual to take up a leadership role or duty.
Leadership as a phenomenon has been around since the time the beginning of time. Whenever people needed to come together to either solve a problem or make a decision, their ideas, thoughts, and suggestions had to be channeled and coordinated to reach common ground.
What started as simple leadership way back in prehistoric times has evolved into more complex leadership systems and principles. However, what we learn from evolution is that people were born to lead.
There are genetic and non-genetic factors that determine who leads the pack and who follows the lead.
There are more than one ways to identify a good, natural-born leader who was born to lead. Some qualities of a true leader are:
- High levels of energy and stamina
- Tolerance for stress
- High self-confidence
- Adaptability and agility
- Good communicator
It is common to hear the phrase ‘born to lead,’ and research seems to support this. Genetics is said to play a role in determining if one is born to be a leader.
One gene and the very first one that was studied in this regard was the CHRNB3 gene. This gene contains instructions for the production of Neuronal acetylcholine receptor subunit beta-3 protein. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, or nAChRs, respond to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
rs4950 is a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP in the CHRNB3 gene. It is associated with the tendency to occupy a leadership role. Individuals with two rs4950 A alleles are proportionally more likely to be in a leadership role compared to those with one or two G alleles.
While leadership potential is influenced by your genes, there are other factors that help people learn and develop leadership traits. Most of these factors come into play very early on in an individual’s life, such as at home and school.
Environment early in life
Individuals who have lived with encouraging families or families that showcase leadership in their homes tend to raise leaders.
Education and hobbies
Individuals who are well-read, well-informed, and mentored by teachers in school have a higher chance of developing leadership qualities and potential.
Individuals who are exposed to problem-solving and taking well-informed decisions early in life tend to develop leadership abilities as they grow up.
Here are a few ways to develop your leadership skills.
- Practice discipline in your professional and personal life by sticking to deadlines and appointments and maintaining a good work-life balance.
- Take up more responsibility and step out of your comfort zone.
- Listen and be ready to follow your teammates.
- Have a bird’s eye view of the situation while keeping track of the nitty-gritty of the projects that you are managing.
- Inspire and encourage others to rise and grow.
- Always be open to learning.
- Empower others and make them independent.
- Face and resolve conflicts.
- Be a good listener.
An entrepreneur can be defined as someone who comes up with a business idea and turns it into a working business model. Entrepreneurs range from small business owners to people who started multi-million dollar companies.
TThere’s a famous quote by Reid Hoffman, an American internet entrepreneur, that goes like this “An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down.” This goes to say that entrepreneurs take several risks and face uncertainties during the course of launching their idea successfully. They see possibilities and solutions that others don’t. They think outside the box. They take action and make a change in this world for the better.
Entrepreneurship involves the whole process of designing, launching, and running a business. It is also about solving big problems and transforming the world. Entrepreneurship potential is a key factor that determines your chances of self-employment.
Several characteristics define a successful entrepreneur. These include self-belief, open-mindedness, efficiency, strategic planning, a flair for leadership, and risk-taking ability. /p>
Entrepreneurship potential is determined by several factors, including environmental factors, genetics, and your capabilities as a person.
Entrepreneurship is of immense importance in the economic development of society. It
Studies have shown that 30 to 35% of the entrepreneurial traits are heritable. Though this implies that environmental factors contribute to the rest of the major 70%, 1/3rd of the fraction is a significant number. People with certain genetic types have a higher likelihood of being entrepreneurs.
The RNF144B gene carries instructions for the production of Ring Finger Protein 144B. This protein is involved in protein modification pathways. Research shows that changes in this gene influence entrepreneurship potential.
rs6906622 is a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP in the RNF144B gene. Individuals with the minor allele T are found to have a higher probability of being self-employed.
The SV2C gene carries instructions for the production of Synaptic Vesicle Glycoprotein 2C. It plays a role in controlling secretion by neural and endocrine cells. Changes in the SV2C gene are found to influence entrepreneurship potential.
rs2358531 is an SNP in the SV2C gene. People with the AA genotype of this SNP are more likely to be self-employed.
Certain characteristics that are key to entrepreneurial success include creativity, passion, industry knowledge, leadership skills, and the ability to take calculated risks.
Economic and environmental factors that influence entrepreneurship potential include the strength of the business idea, the location of the business, the political and regulatory environment, and access to early finance, modern technology, law and order assistance, transportation facility, business associations, market channels, and a good network of people.
Succeeding as an entrepreneur is tough but not impossible. The journey can be full of obstacles , but following these suggestions will help you overcome those obstacles and establish your business.
- Overcome your fear of failure. Though you may not get everything right the first time, and your failures make others doubt your ability, persevere courageously till you reach your goal.
- Seek out opportunities to improve your leadership skills.You can volunteer to lead fundraisers or coach a children’s group. Start clubs in areas you are interested in and organize club activities to reach more people.
- Try finding a mentor, you can get inspiration from. Mentors can help you with things that seem new and difficult to you initially. They may already have experience in the industry and can help you avoid common mistakes.
- Learn new things and keep up with modern trends in the industry.
- Problem-solving is an essential skill for any entrepreneur. Look for different ways to solve problems put forth to you.
- Sales is an important aspect of every business. You will be able to develop a better understanding of the market and its demand when you get involved in sales.