Living With Wisdom

Character Core Of The Month

Have you ever regretted a decision you made on a whim? If you don’t have all the facts, bad decisions can seem like fantastic ideas. It is necessary to be able to think things through, be alert and wary, and yet proceed with confidence when one is sure of the next step.

In New York State, there was a young man who was looking for an easy way to scrape the snow off of a frozen pond so he and his sisters could go skating. He decided that a tractor and loader would be the easiest way to move the snow. He got all the way across and was starting up the steep bank when to his horror, he began to feel a sinking sensation. Slowly the back wheels sank into the water as the ice gave way. Fortunately, he was able to crawl on the top of the old tractor without getting wet. I’m sure he felt quite embarrassed when he explained to his neighbor why he needed to borrow his bobcat, but it had seemed like a reasonable thing to do, given the low temperatures of the winter. Quite likely there was a spring feeding the pond, which undermined the ice, and extra caution would have been prudent.

Some antonyms of cautious are careless, negligent, inattentive, and heedless. Foolish assumptions lead to undesirable and sometimes tragic outcomes. It is easy to get caught up in an idea and be so eager to carry it out that we forget to think it through carefully enough. We might assume things that are not true, or at least are not true for us in the moment.

Most of us can probably think of some foolish things we did that we would rather forget. However, we need to let these experiences mold us and change us into people who stay alert, follow directions, listen to good advice, and use common sense when making decisions. Of course, it is possible to be too cautious and avoid all risk for fear of what could happen. This can paralyze and blind us to the different options and possibilities to consider.

The next time that you are faced with a larger decision, pause, stay alert, and ask for advice. Then when you know the best way to move forward, move with confidence, knowing that you have considered all the options. If it ends badly, learn from the mistake, and move forward.

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