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SO TAKE A RISK, BE PRUDENT…A Brooks, Winnegrad

The current, and incorrect, definition of PRUDENT is caution, aversion to risk or faintheartedness. These are a modern interpretation for the word PRUDENT. The word “PRUDENCE” comes from the Latin “PRUDENTIA,” meaning expertise, wisdom, sage.


PRUDENT in its earlier English use had little to do with fearfulness or habitual reluctance, rather it signified righteous decision making that is rooted in judgment and practical wisdom. We have refashioned PRUDENCE into an excuse for cowardice, hiding behind the language of virtue. The correct definition is the WILLINGNESS TO DO THE RIGHT THING, EVEN IF THAT INVOLVES FEAR AND RISK.


In a study by the University of Chicago we are tending today to be timid, not rash. On average, we say “no” too much when faced with an opportunity or dilemma. Particularly amongst people under age 30 there is a risk-averse behavior. People under age 30 today are almost a third less willing than under-30s in 1996 to relocate for their careers, according to the study. There is a diminishing frontier spirit and an increasing paranoia about taking big leaps. WHERE IS THE PRUDENCE?


The Census Bureau reported that family formation, perhaps the ultimate personal leap of faith, looks to be another victim of this IMPRUDENT hesitation. They reported that while only a quarter of 24 to 29 year-olds were unmarried in the 1980s, almost half of that age group is unmarried today. And delaying the jump into adulthood has real social consequences. AGAIN, WHERE IS THE PRUDENCE?



Categories: PERSPECTIVES Philosophical Perspective

ron winnegrad

Ron Winnegrad has been a Perfumer and teacher for 46 years. As a perfumer, Ron has been able to express the world he sees through a rainbow of olfactive and emotive visions. As a teacher, Ron has helped others to see fragrance through his own multi sensorial lens.

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