THIS week I am writing my column from Oslo, the capital of Norway.
This is the most northern part of the world that I have been to. And it is stunningly beautiful. Of course I might not be saying the same if I came here in the winter. But right now, the sky is a clear blue, the temperature is very agreeable, and this majestic city offers some breathtaking views.
I usually like to do some research before I travel to a new country and I found out that Norway is consistently rated as one of the best places in the world to live.
Here are some interesting facts for you.
Norway was ranked first in the United Nations’ World Happiness Report in 2017. The country was rated highly in indicators including “caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance.”
The Legatum Institute, which is a London-based think-tank with a global vision to see all people lifted out of poverty, placed Norway in top spot in its 2017 Prosperity Index.
It is a country that follows the “Nordic Model”, an economic framework common to Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland. This model advocates social equality across the board.
I sense that most Norwegians feel that they are part of a democracy and have a shared experience in society. I also notice that they see their politicians just as regular people, not some sort of elite.
A report I read says that most people leave work at 3.30pm to spend quality time with their families. It goes on to add that workplaces would not attract talented people if they didn’t offer some kind of flexibility.
The most interesting comment I saw was from an architect called Simon Irgens. He moved to Norway with his wife who is from here. He says, “I pay my tax happily because we get so much in return. It really does feel as if Norwegian society invests in us.”
In the few days that I have been here, I find Norway and its citizens to be very conscientious. It is indeed a breath of fresh air, on all fronts.
This made me think about conscientiousness as a personality trait for those of us at work.
Conscientiousness or thoroughness is the personality trait of a person who shows an awareness of the impact that their own behaviour has on people around them.
Diligent and reliable people are generally more goal-oriented in their motives, ambitious in their academic efforts, and at work.
Norway is certainly diligent and reliable as a country.
If you want to grow and get results in your life, be conscientious. And, if as a nation we want to progress and get out in front of the rest, we have to become collectively conscientious.
In its simplest form this just means being mindful of those around you, from friends and family, to colleagues, and even strangers.
A diligent person will be aware of the first impression that they make on others. They will feel a proper sense of duty towards others, and, most importantly, they are aware of the effect that their words and actions have on the people around them.
Are you diligent, reliable, and careful?
There are a few traits that I believe will indicate if you are in fact a conscientious person.
Are you goal-oriented? The behavior of conscientious people is often driven by their personal goals. They use their own initiative to set goals, and then concentrate their energy towards achieving them.
In order to achieve their goals, conscientious people will work hard and devote attention and energy towards a specific result. And, they are more willing to persevere through difficult circumstances.
I met some guys in my hotel who were attending a work training programme. We talked and it was clear that they were goal oriented for their careers.
But their goal-drive was also quite focused on other things like how much time they were willing to spend at work, and the time they devoted to their families or leisure.
It seemed that everything they did had purpose to it.
Are you organised?
If you think about it, reliable colleagues who complete jobs or tasks, are those who are highly organised. They create structure to their thoughts, and their work-flow.
As I chatted with these same guys during their morning coffee break, without having to be reminded, exactly 15 minutes after they started their break, they briskly went back to class. This just shows how diligent and organised they were.
Being conscientious brings results.
Research by psychologist Brent Roberts from the University Illinois shows that conscientious employees do a series of things better than the rest. They are better at goals; setting them, working toward them, and persisting amid setbacks.
So, if you want results in your life, learn from my experience in Norway and become conscientious; at home, with your family, and at work.