When I first saw that the topic for this week’s Wednesday Word was cautious, I thought to myself “I have nothing to write about that!”. I took a moment and looked up the meaning of the word on a few different sites.
- (of a person) careful to avoid potential problems or dangers.“a cautious driver”
synonyms: careful, heedful, attentive, alert, watchful, vigilant, circumspect, prudent; antonyms: reckless
- (of an action) characterized by the desire to avoid potential problems.
As a parent, I believe I have taught my children to be cautious. They were taught to look both ways before crossing the street, not talk to strangers, not touch a hot stove, not play with matches…etc. In that sense, caution is good and caution is smart.
I then thought about myself. Was I too cautious sometimes? I looked deeper into some of the synonyms and examples and found that the word, cautious, can have a negative connotation as well.
“Someone who is cautious avoids risks “
Whoa! I realized that being cautious can sometimes lead to avoiding taking risks and avoiding potential problems real or imagined. Taking risks is sometimes really scary and taking risks sometimes leads to failure.
I know that in my training for running and tri races, I am often afraid to take risks. What if I swim so fast that I am too tired to bike or run? What if I run too fast the first half of a race and I can’t finish it? What if I am too cautious about swimming in the Potomac river so I don’t sign up for a race that would require me to swim there?
Perhaps being cautious has enabled me to hold back in some aspects of my training and racing for fear of the outcome? Do I stay safely in my comfort zone out of caution?
I never would have thought about any of this today had Deb not had this prompt for the Wednesday Word link up.
This exercise has given me so much to think about. What about you?
Are you too “cautious”? Does it hold you back?