Why Bother With an Ounce of Prevention?
It was Benjamin Franklin who penned the proverb, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” His pithy saying originated after visiting the city of Boston and observing the preparedness they had in place to put out fires.
In Boston, as opposed to Philadelphia where Franklin resided at the time, the city had a volunteer fire department, an uncommon idea in the 1700s. These volunteer firemen were ready, willing and able to prevent massive mayhem, complete annihilation of property and countless deaths caused by fires in newly established cities. By simply noticing and responding to this out-of-the-ordinary idea, Franklin became known as the Founding Father of firefighting. But not only that, like fire, the concept of organized volunteer fire companies spread to other cities such as Philadelphia.
Today, fire departments not only put out fires, but they also educate the populace about reducing the risk of fires. When we purchase smoke alarms and a fire extinguisher for our homes, we are proactively preventing the destruction of our property due to a fire. Other proactive preventive measures include paying attention while cooking, making sure we extinguish those candles used for romantic dinners and keeping a clean fireplace chimney. Attentiveness is like an ounce of prevention, and can be applied to more than just fire prevention.
For instance, when that monthly bank statement comes in the mail, it signals the need for me to balance my checkbook. In doing so, I get an accurate statement in my checkbook which prevents me from bouncing any checks. Ignoring that monthly bank statement only guarantees future turmoil for the bank account and for me.
Another example of an ounce of prevention is to regard regular maintenance on my car. Awareness of the needs of my car ensures that my care will last longer, and a well maintained car prevents accidents. Noticing worn tread on my tires and then replacing those worn out tires enables me to stop safely instead of skidding out of control. Changing the oil on a regularly scheduled time prevents my engine from overheating and wearing down. Caring for a car is costly, but carelessness costs a lot more.
Finally, proactive prevention also applies to personal relationships. Proactively preventing full blown disconnections with those we love and care about means staying in regular communication with them. When we first notice a glitch in our connection with someone, that is time to attend to the malfunction. Waiting for a full blown disconnect, procrastination or ignoring the obvious only leads to more complexities.
Benjamin Franklin’s little proverb, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” can be applied to more than just preparation in case of fire. It is sound advice that brings our attention to all areas of life.
Why bother with an ounce of prevention? Investing in an ounce of prevention thwarts pounds of troubles.