Visualization vs. Personality Traits In Achievement
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Can an individual create success through visualizing obstacles when making plans? For some people, the answer is yes - It increases a sense of determination and highlights the need to get things done. Yet, how do you explain why some individuals succeed and why others don’t. Visualization is one way to enhance one's mental determination, but a successful plan is results from both mental state and how the plan is created and executed.
Christian Jarrett discusses in his article, The Power of Positive Thinking, how the power of positive thinking may be applied by visualizing oneself overcoming obstacles regardless of skill level. However, Jarrett does not acknowledge and rarely discusses how personality traits can affect one’s ability to set and achieve his or her goals. I agree that positive feedback can influence positive thinking, and I agree that thinking realistically about your goals may help to increase the chances of achieving goals. However, one must acknowledge how personality traits influence one’s ability to make successful plans.
Ask yourself one question: What are the characteristics of a successful individual?
The Answer: Psychologically, it’s personality traits.
When considering personality traits, why are some people able to successfully achieve their goals, and why are others less successful? Well, for starters, people tend to describe good leaders as psessing the personality traits of confidence, assertiveness, and charisma, etc. The current generation of professionals will often say that a good leader is someone with “swagger”.
The "Big Five" Personality Traits
For decades, psychologists have used the Big Five personality traits to examine human behavior. The Big Five personality traits are extraversion, conscientiousness, neuroticism, openness, and agreeableness. Individuals who possess extraversion, conscientiousness, and agreeableness personality traits are more likely focused, confident, and able to develop healthy relationships, in and out the workplace. Furthermore, they can effectively respond to positive feedback and make rational decisions.
In Qingguo Zhai and Mike Willis’ article, Big Five Personality Traits, Job Satisfaction, and Subjective Wellbeing in China, they discuss how the Big Five personality traits affect and individual’s subjective wellbeing and job satisfaction. Zhai, Willis, and colleagues surveyed over 800 people in Northwest China using the Big Five personality model. They concluded that individuals with extroversion, agreeableness, and conscientious traits are express a high level of job satisfaction and social wellbeing (Zhai, Willis et al, 2013).
What about Individuals Who are Not Successful at Visualizing Obstacles When Making Plans?
Many companies include sessions with a psychologist in the company’s insurance plans or employ on-sight psychologists to maximize productivity. If available, individuals can participate in time management training or other on-the-job training to improve goal-setting skills. Team building exercises and positive reinforcement from your employer or encouragement friend and family members can increase positive thinking, but it can’t guarantee succesful goal achievement.
Reading self-help books on goal setting is a good way to improve goal-setting methods, and amazon, ebay, and many other sites on the web now make a variety of self-help books readily available. However, regardless of how you accomplish your goals, the first basic step is to have the drive to want to accomplish them. Second, identify your goals. Third, create and execute a plan of action.
Creating and Executing a Plan of Action
You can’t get from steps A to C by bypassing step B. Identifying a plan of action starts with positive thinking but requires the ability to evaluate how execute each step in order to achieve your goal.
1. Research. Research is very important. But, first know what you to look for. A doctor can’t tell you how to be a fashion designer, generally speaking, so learn from the right people. This step may include talking and working with individuals who share the same goals, and this may give you a clear idea of what other steps you need to take reach your goals.
2. Make lists. After researching what you need to achieve, make a list of what you need to do. This step includes making a list of short-term and long-term goals.
3. Be prepared to fail. Don’t expect to get the desired outcome the first time. Look at an unsuccessful attempt as a way to recognize mistakes, to avoid making more mistakes, and to identify other obstacles that weren’t identified earlier.
- Heather Browning, MBA
Zhai, Q., Willis, M., O’Shea, B., Zhai, Y., (2013 Big Five Personality Traits, Job Satisfaction, and Subjective Welbeing in China. International Journal of Psychology. 48(6).