Prudence falls under the virtue category of Temperance. Temperance deals with strengths that protect us from excess. It is the practiced ability to monitor and manage one’s emotions, motivation and behavior in the absence of outside help.
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.
Watch this Smart and Prudent Cat Keep Her Paws Dry
Think before you act.
Exercises for Boosting Prudence
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.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Driving Miss Daisy
The Shawshank Redemption
The Story of the Weeping Camel
Movies are an art-form highly suited for inspiring character strengths and helping in the discovery, understanding and exploration of these positive aspects in human beings. Ryan Niemiec (VIA's education director) and Danny Wedding explore 1,500 examples in their book Positive Psychology at the Movies, 2nd edition (2014). They explain that the best positive psychology movies meet the following criteria:
- Strong portrayal of a character's signature strengths which are critical to the character's identity;
- Depicts conflict/obstacles that challenge the character;
- The character uses strengths to overcome the adversity;
- The film's overall presentation is uplifting or speaks deeply to the human condition.
- The film holds great potential to generate cinematic elevation (i.e., it causes people to feel motivated to do good and increases their altruism) or cinematic admiration (i.e., it causes people to want to improve themselves and copy the model).
Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell
Where Do The Children Play? – Cat Stevens
Be Still My Beating Heart – Sting
You’ve Got to Hide your Love Away – Beatles
Dear Prudence – Beatles
Keep it Simple – Keb Mo
The 59th Street Bridge Song – Simon & Garfunkel