Prudence | Character Strength | VIA Institute

Become Aware Of Your Strength

Understand what prudence is all about so you can begin recognizing it in yourself and others.
What is Prudence?

Prudence means being careful about your choices, stopping and thinking before acting. It is a strength of restraint. When you are prudent, you are not taking unnecessary risks, and not saying or doing things that you might later regret. If you are high in prudence, you are able to consider the long-term consequences of your actions. Prudence is a form of practical reasoning, the ability to examine the potential consequences of your actions objectively, and to control yourself based on that examination. Prudence involves far-sighted planning as well as short-term, goal-directed planning. It is often referred to as cautious wisdom, practical wisdom, and practical reason.

Which virtue is this strength?
Prudence is a strength within the virtue category of temperance, one of six virtues that subcategorize the 24 strengths. Temperance describes strengths that help you manage habits and protect against excess. The other strengths in Temperance are forgiveness , humility , prudence , and self-regulation .
What the Science Says

Research findings on the benefits of the strength of Prudence found Prudence is associated with productivity and the ability to be conscientious, most likely because the prudent person tends not to enter into agreements unless he or she believes there is a good chance of a successful outcome. Prudence is also associated with better physical health, job performance, and student achievement. This Strength helps us to avoid the mishaps of life, both physical and psychological.

Explore Your Strength

Reflect on how you’ve used prudence in the past, in everyday life and during special or critical times.

Questions to Help You Understand Your Strength Better
  • What are the personal benefits you experience in being prudent?
  • How has prudence served you well over the years, in big and small ways?
  • What regrets do you have about times you held yourself back from taking a risk?
Examples of this Strength in Action

Wondering about times that you may be using this strength? Here are a few examples of love at work in the world.

  • When consulting with a trusted friend or significant other getting his or her view before taking on another project or assignment.
  • When you organize and plan things before you act so that you minimize the risk of making mistakes or falling short of goals, then you are exercising prudence.
  • Driving cautiously; noticing your mental activity and bodily sensations as you do so. Reminding yourself that there are fewer time-sensitive emergencies than you think.

Apply Your Strength

How can you make the most of prudence in your everyday life? In the moments that matter most? Here are some ideas.
  • Think twice before saying anything. Do this exercise at least ten times a week and note its effects.
  • Remove all extraneous distractions before your make your next three important decisions.
  • Visualize the consequences of your next decision in one, five, and ten years’ time.