Managing Oneself Mind & Psyche

HEXACO: A Psychological​ Approach to Uncovering the Success Formula & Why Hustling Is Only 25% of It.

Just before I swing away with this article, let me tell you this - I have no clue what it takes to become successful. Just like anybody else, I have a couple of ideas, but because I haven't really achieved something overly significant in my life yet, I basically have no idea what success is. So why the heck am I writing about success then? You know, I may not have a clue, but guess what... science does. ;-) 

People reading this knowing a little bit about psychology and the area of personality testing maybe have heard of the HEXACO test. If not, perhaps of the Big Five. Either way, the most accurate personality test used to assess people on their personality is the so-called ‘HEXACO’ test. It used to be the Big Five, yet in their book ‘The H Factor of Personality’, Ashton and Lee have identified a sixth personality trait and added to the Big Five Model. They renamed it and called it ‘HEXACO’. HEXACO tests people on six facets of their personality, namely; (H) Humility, (E) Emotionality, (X) Extraversion, (A)  Agreeableness, (C) Conscientiousness and (O) Openness to new experiences. 

Now, you may be asking yourself what the heck some of these mean…

  1. Honesty/Humility – Yes, the ‘H’ has two meaning here (Scientists couldn’t quite decide :-P). Hopefully we all know what ‘Honest’ means, so I’ll jump straight to the ‘Humility’ part. Humility is kind of hard to have when the majority of people believe they are entitled to something. Humility is the art of being humble and ‘having your feet on the ground’.
  2. Extraversion – These are the kinds of people we know who are very outgoing, enthusiastic, assertive, thrill-seeking and very talkative. They love hanging out with their friends, meeting new people, and for the most part, obtain their joy in life from being with others. They are very social animals. 😛
  3. Openness to experience – Here we have someone who is open towards variety and change in their life. These are the people who love fantasizing about things and are of great intellectual curiosity.
  4. Agreeableness –  These are the diplomatic kinds of people. They are very considerate of others, caring, cooperative and are generally considered ‘warm’.
  5. Conscientiousness – Here we have those people who are very ambitious, organized, careful, easy-going, hard-working and thoughtful efficient.
  6. Neuroticism – Leaning towards not so nice traits, these are people who have a little more anxiety in their life. They are moody, fearful, often fall into depressive states, worry, frustrated and can also get angry very quickly. This could be considered as a more unstable personality type.

So what does any of these have to do with ‘success’?

Over many years, research into the most successful and high performing people on our planet has found that they all score differently on all of these personality facets except for one… You probably already guessed it right, it’s conscientiousness.

Conscientiousness has been found to be the single personality trait to be most correlated with business and personal success in life. 

Let’s look deeper into conscientiousness…

Each of the above-named personality traits has so-called ‘sub-traits’. These are simply traits that underlie each bigger trait and together make up the main trait. Now here is where it get’s really interesting…

We often debate about what it really takes to become successful in life. We often like to refer to things like working hard, our ability to network, looking ahead of the curve, being at the right place at the right time, having an idea etc. The list is endless and we all have our own little stories we tell ourselves.

The cool thing is that conscientiousness has exactly four sub-traits.

Remember: Scientific research has shown that conscientiousness is significantly related for career success or in our personal life.

The four sub-traits are;

1. Diligence
2. Prudence
3. Perfectionism
4. Organization

Diligence simply said, is the ‘working hard’ part. It’s all that fuss made around hustling and grinding 24/7. It really comes down to being an incredibly high performer. I could write pages on high performance, so my best advice for you (shall you decide to learn more about this) is to click on ‘Ultimate Library’ and find the book ‘High-Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard’. Read it, and you’ll know what to do. 🙂

Prudence is about making the right decision. How the heck do I make the right decisions? In order to be considered a ‘prudent’ decision maker it is crucial, we always differentiate between what is real and what is delusional. In other words, the rational or the irrational. Prudent decision makers have the ability to think through every possible choice they make and always consider the possible outcomes or consequences of that decision. Indeed, it does require a high degree of ‘common-sense’.

But WATCH-OUT! Before you think you’ve figured out what decision to make because you consider yourself to have ‘common-sense’, please remember the old saying;

“Common-sense is not always common-practice​”

Perfectionism is self-explanatory. But why is it so crucial? Especially when considering that the majority of people are telling us to drop our perfectionist attitude because it ‘keeps us from moving forward…’. WOW. What a statement. So does that mean an airplane pilot should throw away his perfectionist attitude when transporting 300 passengers across the Atlantic at an altitude of 40,000 feet? I don’t know about you, but I certainly am a HUGE fan of perfectionism.

Keep in mind that the art of perfectionism doesn’t only lie in completing tasks with perfection, but also to completing them in a rapid time-frame. If you have ever read biographies or magazine articles of highly sought-after executives or people who are the best at their craft, they are not only the best because they ‘know it all’, but also because they rarely make any mistakes.

‘But we learn from mistakes!’ True, and regardless if you’re a perfectionist or not, you will always make mistakes. In this respect, what it really comes down to, is adopting a mindset that you will always perform to your best no matter what!

Organization, again, speaks for itself. If you’re not organized you’re making your life a quadrillion times harder. For nothing. Being organized is a key contributor to operating at an efficient level. Remember how I wrote about being a perfectionist AND moving at a rapid pace? YES! Organization helps you get that fast-moving pace into action!

I personally think that this trait is the easiest to adopt! I mean, all it takes is to get yourself some binders, file dividers, perhaps set up an excel spreadsheet to keep track of your numbers etc. IF YOU CAN’T GET ORGANIZED, CHANCES OF YOU BEING SUCCESSFUL AT ANY OF THE OTHER THREE TRAITS, ARE REALLY REALLY REALLY LOW.

Take-home message. Unfortunately, it doesn’t only come down to hard work and hustle at the end of the day. That’s only 25% of the formula.  The other 75% are organization, prudence, and being a perfectionist.

What do you think? Are there any other key success traits you believe are absolutely crucial? Speak to us in the comments below! 🙂

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