Goal Posts, pt 1: The Big Five Personality Traits by Lori Hudson
Part one of a Four-Week Series: What Really Matters? Seeking the right goals and encouraging those around you.
By: Lori Hudson Bertrand DC, RN
Often when we think of goals we jump to materialistic things such as a new car or bigger house. While these things may make us work harder, at the end of the day it’s just stuff.
What about being an encourager, role model, provider, motivator, hard worker- would any of these words be used to describe your life’s goals? Who you strive to be to others around you?
Can you imagine a world where our goals are centered on helping and encouraging others instead of focusing on us? As George M. Adams, a US representative from Kentucky once stated, “Encouragement is the oxygen of the soul.”
While people are motivated by different factors, what drives a person to strive towards one goal over another starts with their personality. Personality is often measured by ranking people by the “Big Five” traits or predispositions.** Here are the core traits that underlie each personality. As you read through the following, try to identify elements of your character that help form your personality. The following traits make up each personality, though all of these traits can vary in degree from person to person :
Openness – Risk-takers, adventurous people who want to take on new challenges and experiences. These individuals are often creative and intelligent and enjoy getting out of their comfort zone.
Neuroticism – Typically seen as stressed out, hostile, filled with anxiety, moodiness, high-strung and even obsessive. People with this personality trait tend to experience more feelings of guilt and depression. They tend to be more shy and self-conscious, often interpreting simple tasks as hopeless and difficult.
Agreeableness – Empathetic, kind, corporative, warm and considerate. They typically like to find the good in each person and go out of their way to help others.
Extraversion/Introversion – Extraversion is seen as a real “people person,” who thrives when around people, out going, energetic and assertive. Introversion, which is often tied with extraversion, is described as being more solitary and reserved in behavior. These two personality traits are sometimes linked together, suggesting that we all have an extraversion and introversion side, with one being more dominant at times than others.
Conscientiousness – Self-disciplined, hard working, reliable, organized, systematic and vigilant. These individuals tend to think things out before doing them. When taking on a task they desire to do the job well and to the best of their ability.
Interestingly enough, the “Big Five” personality traits vary slightly across the globe. In the U.S., a more individualistic nation, openness and extraversion score higher. While in Asia and Africa agreeableness is more common. Around the world, personalities stem from these “Big Five” traits. Understanding these character traits, help us to relate and communicate to others. If we can understand the predispositions of others, we can effectively encourage and motivate those in the world.
So, take a moment and think about what truly matters to you. Are these the goals you’re chasing after? Do they really mater? Can you do more to encourage those around you? Encourager, role model, provider, motivator, hard worker- would any of these words be used to describe your life’s goals? Roles that you desire to live up to?
**Information about the “Big Five” personality traits used in this post is found in Janet Belsky, Experiencing the Lifespan, (New York: Worth, 2007), 366-375.
DEFINE’s senior instructor and anatomy specialist, Lori Hudson Bertrand D.C., R.N. is a doctor in chiropractic and registered nurse. Her love for helping people through education about anatomy and physiology drives her to continue to share her experiences and knowledge with others as they pursue their journey towards health and restoration!
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