The Art of Conscientiousness

If conscientiousness is a personality trait and everyone has a different score (or level), how do we measure it effectively. There is the Emotional Intelligence IQ test (I didn’t score very high on that one). There are also other tests that I am currently trying to get my hands on. I want to know if a person’s conscientiousness score increases as they age. I want to know how conscientiousness is related to awareness and reaction to a person’s surroundings. (I also want to know the difference between conscientious and conscientiousness.)

Emotional Intelligence ChartI tend to think people are oblivious to their surroundings. Everyone seems so inside their own heads, thinking about what they are going to say or do next. This type of internal dialog can impede external activities. Yesterday while I was exiting the grocery store, I noticed a women on crutches. My mind was already in the car and thinking about the dinner I was about to prepare. But I had to stop and do a double take on this lady and her crutches. She had her reusable bags in her hand and she could only take a few steps at a time and then readjust. The reason I stopped was I wasn’t sure if she needed help or if she just was pausing to take a break. I had already stepped out the door, but I went back in to watch her take some more steps so I could better judge the situation before I reacted. I asked her if she needed help and then went and told the bagger that he needed to help her. All businesses are required by law to allow equal access to good and services to the elderly and people with disabilities. She was not elderly.

I think it was because when I was 13 (over 25 years ago next month) I was on crutches for a week. I remember not being able to walk very well. It was so painful and I had huge bruises under my arms from the crutches. I was a freshman in high school and really didn’t have any friends since the school year just began. As I was struggling trying to manage carrying my book, the guy next to me asked if he could carry them to my next class. I was blown away. I had never even noticed this kid sitting next to me let along realize he was in my next class. Chris Rupp ended up being one of my best friends for the next 6 years after the first time he spoke to me.

Oblivious is an excellent word for what I believe I was cursed with for many years. But I’m not the only one. Many people are oblivious. Take for example those people who cut you off on the freeway. Or your boss who doesn’t realize you’ve missed your child’s concert because you had to prepare his presentation.

What I find most appalling are people who don’t take notice and befriend their neighbors – especially those neighbors who are elderly or disabled. Is it conscientiousness that awakens someone to take notice and take action? Or is it something else?

What’s inside your brain?


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