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When approaching train tracks, circumspection is second nature. You stop, look both ways, and only then cross the tracks. 

Related to prudence—right reason in action—this virtue of circumspection helps us in everyday decision making. Let’s examine it using our “second nature approach” to train tracks.  

A friend sends you a message expressing disappointment in the way you handled a situation. Train track approach: 

  • STOP: Read the message, and take a deep breath. 
  • LOOK BOTH WAYS: There is generally two sides to every story. Try to think about it from  
    the other person’s perspective. What are the circumstances? What are the possible consequences? 
  • CROSS THE TRACKS: Decide how to respond, and be prepared for the consequences. 

Sometimes our decisions will result in negative consequences. But circumspection helps us to stop, look both ways, and the cross the tracks. Hopefully, this approach will better equip you to avoid being run over by the train.