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5 traits of a better life

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      Karan Young, M.Ed.

      We spend so much time in our professional lives focusing on curriculum and research that sometimes we forget the bigger picture. The forest fades and all we see are the trees. The goal we are all trying to provided is for our students to have the skills necessary for creating a fulfilling life. There are numerous paths to an enriched life. It is always good to have certain guide posts to help along the way. I recently found an article by Melissa Dahl which highlighted 5 traits that lead to a better life. These are an updated version of the original “Big 5” personality traits of the five factor model.

      1) Enthusiasm – Are you fun to be around? Do you enjoy being with others? Enthusiasm is related to our extrovertedness. This trait is seen in those with a care-free attitude. We can cultivate this by embracing life, looking on the bright side and “dancing in the rain.”

      2) Low Withdrawl – This trait does not have an easy to remember, catchy name. In the article, it is defined by what it isn’t. Neuroticism is how we view ourselves in situations. Are we at the center of events, or more withdrawn? Are you easily embarrassed or have a more carefree attitude? Those with a more carefree attitude tend to experience more enjoyment in life.

      3) Industriousness – Creativity and Problem-solving are highly valuable traits. Linked to conscientiousness, this is our ability to work and function. Having a Plan A and Plan B is common for those individuals who scored high in this area. These people are concerned with efficiency and completeness. Of all the traits, this is the one that is the easiest to learn.

      4) Compassion – Doing kind things for others actually DOES lead to more enjoyment in life. The old adage “ It is better to give then to receive” has ben shown over an over to be true. This is related to agreeableness. Developing compassion is something that can be taught, especially in young children.

      5) Intellectual curiosity – We live in a complex world. Information is being given to us at a far more rapid rate then ever before. Those with a natural curiosity tend to be happy. When we see problems as opportunities for growth, we tend to be happier. The is related to openness. This is an easy one for most of this who regularly post on this and similar websites.

      In addition to these traits, there were three at showed NOT to have an effect on overly enjoyment of life: Bluntness vs Politeness, Tidiness vs Messiness and Volatility vs Stability of moods. So if you are a blunt, messy person who is prone to mood swings, as long as you have the 5 traits listed, you can still have an amazing life. Defiantly some interesting things to think about.


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