Personality Traits in Modern Success

The Big Five

In Psychology there is one theory for Human Personality that is widely regarded above others. It is called "The Big Five", "OCEAN", or lastly, "The Five Factor Model". Hopefully you recognize that there are five traits within this personality model.

Each of these traits is not binary. It is never simple as on/off when it comes to these complex characteristics. Individuals exist on a dimension or gradient where characteristics from both sides can influence behavior. Another important note that your 'placement' on this gradient is not permanent, and is subject to change as you grow and develop.

Fancy words.. Lets put this context.

Exploring the Ocean

Openness to Experience

This trait describes people who have an appreciation for unusual ideas, imagination, intuition and and natural curiosity. There is a trend for these individuals to be more creative, aware of their own feelings, and seek self actualization. Additional data also shows a trend towards risk taking behaviors.  Here are some examples depicting people who would exhibit openness.

I have excellent ideas that often solve unique problems.

I catch on quick to novel concepts.

I seek euphoric experiences.

I enjoy a challenge.

How do you fit within this category? Take some time and think. We're going to discuss this later, but this is one of the important one for modern days success.


Describes a tendency towards self discipline, ethics, and achieving what others do not think possible. This trait influences your ability to control impulses, direct focus, and put mind over matter. The inverse of this trait would be sloppy, unreliable and spontaneous behavior. Lets put this in context:

I follow a schedule reflecting my goals.

I go out of my way to make other's life easier.

The whole is greater than sum of parts. 

Personal growth is a duty.

Researchers have found that this is the single most important when predicting personal success of an individual. Again, we're going to dive into an analysis of these later for why they matter.


Consider this to be your sociability and drive to be with others. Presence of this trait will manifest by exploring external word, high interpersonal energy, and assertive. Conversely, low scores will be low-key and deliberate.


This is the trait which reflects your "social harmony". These individuals are altruistic, trusting, considerate and empathetic. Consider these people to be "in touch" with those around them, what they want, and how to rectify a situation gone wrong.


Individuals who are neurotic have a tendency to exhibit anger, anxiety and depression. If you have a high score, you are emotionally reactive and find minor disruptions as impossible to overcome. On the opposite side, a low score suggest that you calm, stable and strive to avoid negative feelings.

I get angry easily.

I am anxious frequently.

I often get overwhelmed and fail to make the right choice.

On the opposite side..

I am cool under pressure.

I seldom feel blue.

I enjoy my work and personal life.

Quick Review:

What really matters:

1. Self Actualization:

People who are very open to experiences have a tendency towards self actualization. This is a true understanding, and acceptance for themselves. By no means is this an easy process. It is developing an understanding of how you are fulfilled as a person and if you are performing to the best of your ability.

Within the context of modern business, curiosity is the name of the game. Identifying a need, planning a solution, executing the idea, and delivering the product are all steps that require massive effort. You need to commit and expand into uncharted territory - not fit for someone who isn't open to new experiences.

It is for this reason you need to seek discomfort. If there is no challenge, there is no growth. Humans have an innate need to conquer, and what is better to conquer then your self?

2. Professional Development:

Conscientiousness plays a role in the first half of massive business development via consistent professional development. Consider this to be very similar to consistent focus, effort, and behavior. You know what you want to do, why you want to do it, and how you need to do it.

The second half of professional development resides within the aforementioned openness to experience. These individuals have to explore the unknown, and do it with conviction. Look at Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs.. Although different timelines, these people had to explore novel markets for a higher purpose. 

3. Financial Markets:

Neuroticism is the idea that you are victim to your emotions: there is a history trend of poor 'heat of the moment' choices. From a objective standpoint this is very contrary to the approach that a trader would take. If you find yourself as slightly neurotic, identify the trend and recognize the pattern! 

Just like the great business tycoons, becoming a successful trader requires the exact same quest of self actualization via both conscientiousness and being open to experiences. Reflect on results. Optimize results. Understand who you are. You'll find that this is a very common theme among cultural investing legends.. Ray Dalio and Warren Buffet are two very good examples of people who are not neurotic and exhibit self actualization.

4. Lonely, or motivated?

Extroversion is inversely correlated with productivity. I don't think this requires much explanation. If you're going to talk to others instead of get your shit done, you won't get your shit done. Sacrifice is required for growth. If you can't give up your Fridays and Saturdays, you will give up your Monday-Friday forever. 

Leveling up IRL:

Think about your personal growth as 'adjusting' your character slider/traits to reflect your goals. We talked about this earlier, but your personality traits are never permanent are subject to change as your personality matures and develops. The human brain is not as rigid as we once thought, and neuroplasticity dictates that we are very capable of adapting at all ages.

Recognize where you are, and where you need to go. You can't run before you walk either, so there has to be a gradual change. Focus on trends of behavioral changes rather that sudden abrupt actions - it is more sustainable that way. 

Holding yourself accountable is a major component to this central idea of self improvement. If you need help keeping on track, reach out to Nathan or Keith on Discord. I hope you gained something from this blog post, and will reflect upon your own progress within the context of personal development.

Back to blog

Leave a comment