Prudence is a practical orientation toward future goals. It entails being careful about one’s choice, not taking undue risks, and keeping long-term goals in mind when making short term decisions. Prudent individuals monitor and control their impulsive behaviour and anticipate the consequences of their actions. This strength is not synonymous with stinginess or timidity, but instead involves an intelligent and efficient perspective towards achieving major goals in life.
How to demonstrate this Character Strength:
Movies: Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Suggested strategies that correlate with this strength:
- Think twice before saying anything. Do this exercise at least ten times a week and note its effects.
- Drive cautiously and note that there are fewer time-bound emergencies than you actually think.
- Remove all extraneous distractions before you make your next three important decisions.
- Consult with your significant others before making a final decision
- Visualise the consequences of your decisions in one, five and ten years’ time.
- Do a risk-benefit analysis before making a final decision
- Make important decisions when you are relaxed, not when you are feeling anxious or depressed.
- Before cheating or lying even for trivial things, ask yourself whether you will need then more lies to hide the first lie.
- Avoid competitive situations that generally end in win-loss outcomes in which you or your opponent have little chance to win.
- Don’t hesitate to check as often as necessary to ensure all relevant details of your next important task are covered.
- Evaluate the quality, efficiency and wisdom of your next three projects and write down methods of improvement.
Remember, when you are doing something in life that uses your strengths, it will strengthen you. When you are doing something in life that requires you to use your lower strengths, or weaknesses, it will weaken you. You can use your strengths to accommodate for your weaknesses.
By monitoring the above, you will be able to catch when there is an incongruence in this personal strength. An incongruence will compromise you and cause inner conflict, so the above will help you keep on the right track.
Niemiec, R. M, 2017, Character Strengths Interventions, Hogrefe, Boston
Tayyab, R., Anjum, A., 2005, 340 Ways to Use VIA Character Strengths, University of Pennsylvania