Prudence is a certain quality of personality acquired in the process of development and maturity, which allows making a choice in favor of the correct and most effective ways and methods to achieve the goals set. Prudence is in simple terms the ability of a person to be guided by the arguments of reason and to choose those methods that will bring either the best results or the least losses. Usually this quality is considered in a positive aspect and is equated with the main benefactors of the soul.

This property of character is close, but not identical to wisdom. Wisdom can be theoretical, can manifest itself in many aspects of human existence, and prudence has a clear directional vector. It always has a practical side and individual features of implementation.

Prudence concerns a person directly, and if wisdom is capable of building a strategy to improve the fate of all mankind, then prudence builds a clear scheme that allows, for example, to improve the living conditions or level of income, of a person exhibiting this quality.

What is prudence

Prudence is not an innate quality, but is acquired in the process of gaining life experience, as well as the resulting education and influence of the social environment. Also, developing one’s own prudence is more likely for one who listens to the advice of others, is able to listen to their judgments, and not act stubbornly at his own discretion.

The trait of prudence gradually develops and becomes an integral personal quality of those who are used to carefully consider and calculate situations. By giving yourself time to think, to pause before making a decision, a person is not only able to notice more, but also to make a better decision, which ultimately becomes more prudent.

Prudence is always manifested by man’s perseverance. This is a kind of internal lighthouse that continues to shine through any storms and does not go out into calm. A person will not allow himself reckless revelry when all is well and will not lose self-control in a critical situation.

Prudence is in simple words certain healthy judgments with practical application of conclusions. It is always practical, whether it be creative ideas realized in new projects, ideas that can please others, or material calculations of losses and profits in case of choosing a certain strategy.

Directing and adjusting to prudent actions is always attached to rational activity, so madness and prudence are opposites. But the difference of the poles is not only in the participation of the cognitive sphere in the assessment and selection of actions, but also in the active orientation to moral and spiritual norms.

Prudence always refers to its own inner spiritual and value criteria, and every action that brings a particular good will be performed in harmony with the main existential values ​​of a person.

Madness and prudence seek to satisfy desires, but in the case of insane passions, a person simply goes with the flow, does not relate the second impulses to their common impulses. Such behavior can lead to repentance and the destruction of one’s own life, which is ruled out with prudence.

Prudence is aimed at the practical application of wisdom to improve the specific situation. Depending on the tasks of the individual, it can be to ensure their own good and security, or to ensure the good at the level of the country, the company, the promotion of the idea. Whatever the scale of the situation, prudence forces a person to apply his own knowledge, skills, ability to reason in the best and most useful way. This ability includes the ability to assess risks, highlight the most important things, move away from manipulations and suggestions and stay true to the chosen course.

Unlike most human qualities, perceived differently, depending on the degree and situation of manifestation, prudence is interpreted by everyone exclusively positively. The question may be subject to the perception of any action as prudent. For example, you can count the madness, give all your savings to an unknown person, but if then it turns out that the life of a loved one who was threatened was at stake, then the act becomes more than prudent.

This quality helps to focus on the main and long-term goals, not being sprayed into small ones and not succumbing to minute passions. Also, prudence gives a person an understanding of how to achieve their own good, without prejudice to others, and possibly with mutual benefit. This approach always works for the long term and saves you from trouble in the future.

Prudence is able to protect people not only from their own reckless actions, but also from the influence of other people's recklessness. The ability to predict and understand risks can manifest itself, both in the choice of a safe road instead of trajectories, where criminal and dangerous people gather, and in the long-term perspectives of monetary additions. This can be help in avoiding extremes in the manifestation of their own emotions, which can frighten someone or harm the cause, as well as the ability to anticipate and control or distance themselves from similar emotional outbursts from others.

This is a peculiar higher manifestation of moral qualities, when tolerant attitude to others and the ability to cope with any situation is dictated not by titanic inner efforts and patience, but by a deep understanding of the situation and life.

How to distinguish cowardice from prudence

Cowardice is defined as stopping the action or behavior of a person in a certain situation under the influence of fear. On the basis of this manifestation, cowardice may be confused with prudence. In this case, it should be understood that even with the same external stop of activity, this can be motivated by various internal processes. Thus, with cowardice, fear paralyzes a person, even where the situation is objectively surmountable. In the case of reasonable prudence, the action will be stopped not on the basis of strong feelings, but on the basis of an analysis of the situation. And usually this analysis shows either critical negative consequences, if you continue the action, or the absence of a result, and then stopping is an objective self-preservation or energy saving to look for other opportunities.

Cowardice is a manifestation of mental weakness, the impossibility of applying volitional efforts or conscious control over one’s own behavior; this is a kind of infantile attitude. At the same time, prudence is inherent in exclusively adult and mature individuals who have a rich life experience and a developed inner world, which makes it possible to perceive oneself as strong and able to cope with difficulties, even if there has not previously been a similar experience.

Prudence does not mean that a person does not feel fear, it is about another affective and inadequate state of mind. With a prudent approach, a person feels his own fear, but this does not paralyze his mind and effective activity. He is able to assess the risks and adjust the behavior in view of his emotional reaction. This may be an additional preparation or recourse to support, perhaps a longer path to reach. In the case of cowardice, fear blocks intellectual functions and a person is not able to assess the magnitude of the threat and the consequences. He refuses any overcoming, and seeks to leave the situation as soon as possible. In a prudent approach, the path of leaving the situation as soon as possible can also be chosen, but this will be motivated by the absence of other exits and a strong threat.

Cowardice is uncontrollable and unconscious, prudence is subordinated to the conscious sphere and fully accessible to the review and control of the person. In some moments, the emotional sphere can still affect the degree of rationality of judgments and, with serious moral upheavals, prudence can leave a person. The reverse process does not occur, cognitive functions are practically not affected by cowardice. This happens only on the basis that the primary mechanisms for the development of the psyche, to which fear refers, will always remain stronger in their manifestation than the acquired higher spiritual qualities.