Dave Evangelisti By: Dave Evangelisti
Conscientiousness Personality

When you take the Big Five personality test, one of the personality traits is conscientiousness. While it can relate to your awareness of yourself, conscientiousness refers to so much more in terms of the Big Five test.

If you have a conscientiousness personality you probably like to think through all of your actions before you act and have lots of ambition while remaining dedicated to obligations.

Summary: Learn more about the conscientious personality trait. Take our free personality quiz to see what personality you would fall under.

Before we jump into explaining the two personality types, we want to let you know that there is no right or wrong personality type. We all process the world differently and act as our own individuals, and that’s what makes the world a better place.

The main difference between conscientiousness and spontaneousness is the way that each personality type approaches work. As we continue the article, we will discuss both personalities, explain the sub-traits of this category of the test, and share where both personalities excel.

Spontaneous Big 5

The word “spontaneous” may make you think spur of the moment without much forethought. That sums up the spontaneousness personality fairly well. They tend to be impulsive and procrastinate work and may even be a little disorganized.

While some may view this as laziness or lack of direction, there are plenty of successful people who tend to procrastinate and be disorganized. This could also be a symptom of a neurodivergent mind like those with ADHD.

Conscientious Big 5

Where spontaneous people “lack direction” and are “lazy” conscientious people are on the straight and narrow and burn the candle at both ends. Very goal-oriented, conscientious people tend to be ambitious and disciplined to achieve their goals and fulfill obligations.

If people have told you that you need to take a break or that you work too much, you may be someone who scores high on the conscientiousness personality type. You may also find that you are a type-A person who loves organization.

Since you now understand the difference between the two personality types, you can learn the sub-traits that determine where you fall on the scale.

The conscientiousness Big 5 personality is broken into six sub-traits just like the other Big 5 personality traits. You may find that you have one of these sub-traits even if you are more spontaneous than conscientious:

  • Achievement-Striving
  • Cautiousness
  • Dutifulness
  • Orderliness
  • Self-Discipline
  • Self-Efficacy


Typically, someone who scores high in the Big Five trait of conscientiousness is very driven and ambitious. Achievement-Striving refers to ambitious one’s goals are and how much they are willing to sacrifice to get to that goal.


Those who have a high conscientiousness personality trait like to think things through fully before they act or make a decision, even if it is a small one. Lower scores in conscientiousness mean that you may tend to be impulsive and act on emotions.


High-scorers in conscientiousness have a strong sense of duty and always strive to fulfill obligations and follow rules. Those who score lower tend to think of obligations and rules as suggestions.


Conscientious personalities like to have everything in order and know right where everything is at all times. Where they are type-A, low-scoring people tend to be less strict and thrive in a disorganized environment.


People who score high in the conscientiousness personality trait tend to be willing to endure some boredom or difficulty to fulfill their tasks and achieve their goals. Those who score low don’t like boredom and might allow distractions to interrupt them.


High-scoring conscientious personalities are usually self-assured and have no difficulty explaining their skills and defending their work. People who score lower may experience self-doubt in their work.

Understanding the qualities analyzed on the Big Five personality test can help you know what the test is telling about your personality. 

As stated before, your results simply tell you more about your personality and motivations as a person to learn how you best function. There are no right or wrong answers, so you should just use your scores to better yourself.

Spontaneous Personality

Those who are more spontaneous in personality tend to love disorganization while despising deadlines and rigorous rules. Monotonous jobs are not good for those who are spontaneous as they do not have the attention span to work in a slow-moving world.

While they can learn to work under harsh rules and become organized individuals, spontaneous people will enjoy life more if they are able to work in a field where they are allowed to be their full selves.

People who are spontaneous will likely succeed in jobs that are more creative than those that don’t require strict guides. They excel in positions like hair and beauty stylists, sales personnel, software developers, artists, musicians, actors, and even designers of all forms.

Don’t think you need to change your personality to be a successful working person. Those who are disorganized, tend to procrastinate and may find it difficult to focus can still be high-achieving.

Conscientious Personality

A deep love for and duty to rules and guides fill those who have a conscientious personality. They are very success-driven and are willing to sacrifice the most to help them achieve their goals. They tend to be very organized and controlled.

Not only do conscientious people have great self-discipline to be able to turn in work on time and avoid distractions. A conscientious person also has self-assurance and confidence in their work to know what they are turning in is top-of-the-line.

People who are high in the Big Five trait of conscientiousness are skilled and driven enough to be able to succeed in any field of work they desire. From working on their own and creating their own schedule to sticking to the guides and rigors of a structured job scheduled by someone else.

They excel at freelance writing, entrepreneurial work, owning a business, nursing, political jobs, advertising and marketing, and accounting.

What are examples of conscientiousness?

People who tend to be conscientious are the stereotypical type-A personality. They are very organized and dedicated to achieving their goals. They may be considered workaholics and might need to take a break every now and again, but they always come through on their promises.

What characteristics are associated with conscientiousness?

Conscientious people are organized, determined, and dutiful. The six sub-traits to the Big Five personality trait of conscientiousness are achievement-striving, cautiousness, dutifulness, orderliness, self-discipline, and self-efficacy.

Is it bad to be a spontaneous person?

Spontaneous people tend to be viewed as “lazy” and “lacking direction”, but the truth is that they just have a different work environment and values.

Those who are spontaneous tend to be less rigorous with rules and work best in places that don’t require organization or have serious deadlines. They can be just as successful as those who are more conscientious.


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