What Is Prudence?

I think it is imperative to define and understand prudence, and incorporate all virtues into our daily lives. There are many virtues we ought to incorporate into our lives, and all of them are moral and directly impact our quality of life. Hence they are very important to us and those around us. Among the most salient and well known virtues in philosophy are the four Cardinal virtues justice, prudence, courage/fortitude, and temperance. In theology the chief three virtues are faith, hope, and love, with love being the greatest according to the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 13 v. 13). These are just seven of over 100 virtues we ought to be. Please note prudence is one of the four Cardinal virtues and for good reasons.

The word prudent originates from the Latin prudent, prudentem, prudens – far sighted, providens – to foresee, and has these meanings knowing, discernment, skilled, sagacious, foreseeing, marked by wisdom or sound judgment, judiciousness, exercising sound judgment or common sense.

The main idea is that you should be very wise in your daily life and in everything you do. At a minimum this means using your mind (reason/logic) to correctly discern, contemplate, or foresee whatever you are doing or will do, while simultaneously using all of your skills and all other virtues in your daily life. From this we see that being prudent directly involves correctly using our mind, skills, and other virtues simultaneously to improve us and to produce the right result. This does not mean things will always be successful but rather this is how you should live your life. We all know we may not always get the right result but this should not prevent us from trying.

So what exactly does living a prudent life look like?

These are some smart and useful examples of prudence we should always practice in our daily lives.

1 – live morally/ethically, virtuously, justly, righteously, honestly – honesty is the best policy
2 – be understanding, discerning, logical/reasonable, using your common sense, asking the right questions to the right people, getting a second or third opinion when needed
3 – have a humble/servant attitude – helping and putting others first/being charitable and kind
4 – have a comprehensive plan when working on something – including a plan B as well
5 – properly develop and use your time, creativity, gifts/talents/skills in the right way, for the right reasons
6 – fully develop yourself intellectually, spiritually, as a leader/manager – be highly educated and resilient – be all you can be
7 – learn how to effectively deal with evil, adversity, injustice, and hardships because you will encounter it – if possible turning a negative into a positive
8 – have the correct moral values to live by and live by them without compromise
9 – be accountable to others while holding others accountable – know who are your friends and enemies and why so
10 – if you do not know the answer research it and find out – learning something new is good
11 – develop and practice sound financial management/habits/rules
12 – Proverbs 9:10 – make this and all of the Proverbs real in your life – have a Godly mind think like God does
13 – always fight evil in any way you can otherwise it will proliferate
14 – avoid unnecessary trouble and conflict

If you have any prudent ideas or advice not covered here that you want to post on this blog please email them to me so I can review them.

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  22. “Please note prudence is one of the four Cardinal virtues and for good reasons.”
    What are the other three?

    1. Mr. Trudeau – Thank you for your thoughtful question.
      It has long been established that the four Cardinal virtues are prudence, justice, temperance, and courage. (Please see the What is Prudence? section of this blog.) Thus, to answer your question justice, temperance, and courage are the other three virtues. The idea behind these four virtues is that they represent the four basic virtues needed in order to live a virtuous life.

      Again thank you for your question.

  23. I think this could be a very interesting blog. My challenge to you is to share (and encourage others to share) real life examples. Even if they are very simple, day-to-day experiences, the accumulation of such could be helpful in developing a body of guidance. I also like the Biblical references, but try to avoid simplistic WWJD determinations.

    1. Dear Water Dude

      Thank you for your intelligent suggestions. I think your idea was very good hence I created a new section for this blog called Daily Prudence, and hope people will post more prudent ideas.

      Again thank you for your input.

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