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Q. What lies under the character trait of carelessness? What causes it? What are the things that characterize this character trait? A. The careless person is a negligent person. The personality trait of carelessness, a tendency toward negligence, is generally associated with a large cluster of other tendencies. They form a type of personality. For insight let us first consider the following dictionary definitions: Careless. Not done with care; neglectful. Negligent. Habitually neglecting to do what ought to be done; neglectful. Frivolous. Inclined to levity; not serious; silly; fickle. Lazy. Unwilling to work or engage in energetic activity; indolent; slothful. Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary For more insight let us now refer to Roget's International Thesaurus. The following are traits that are often associated with carelessness Carelessness, negligence, laxness, heedlessness, disregardfulness, thoughtlessness, indifference, unconscientiousness, unmeticulousness, slovenliness Impulsiveness, impetuousness, thoughtlessness, undeliberateness Unconcerned, indifferent, not care, not give a damn, easygoing, devil-may-care Easygoing, remiss, lax, procrastinating Inattentive, heedless, unobserving, undiscerning, unperceiving, unreflecting, incurious, uninquisitive, uninquiring Thoughtless, scatterbrained, brainless, emptyheaded, witless Frivolous, shallow, superficial, featherbrained, birdwitted Undisciplined, capricious, whimsical, erratic Lazy, indolent, remiss, lax, slothful Untidy, negligent, careless, slipshod, slovenly, messy, disorderly, unmethodical, unsystematic Let us pick some words from above: Frivolous, shallow, undisciplined, capricious, thoughtless, easygoing, unconcerned. What causes the character trait of carelessness? We can get insight from Aristotle. According to Aristotle a character trait is caused by repeatedly doing some particular thing. With repetition it becomes a habit, a character trait. Take the character trait of laziness as an example. A person acquires the character trait of laziness by repeatedly taking the route of avoiding work, of repeatedly ignoring the voice of conscience, intellect, prudence in regard to what he ought to do. He has developed the habit of taking the easy road in regard to work. He just avoids it. By repeatedly doing this it becomes a way of thinking, a way of dealing with life. Now a person who is careless, or negligent, is one who habitually doesn't do the things he ought to do. He is untidy. The house is a disaster, in total disarray. He doesn't put anything away. What explanation can you give for this kind of behavior? Could the explanation lie in that character trait that we call laziness? Could it be that he is just lazy? Why doesn't he put things away? It is too much trouble. He doesn't want to go to the trouble of putting them away. It is just too much bother. And there is a problem, an obstacle. He doesn't know where to put them. He has accumulated so much stuff his storage spaces are all full. Nor does he want to go to the trouble of figuring out the best way of solving the problem. Of organizing and storing them, or where to store them. That requires the activity called thinking. He is averse to that. Thinking, analyzing, figuring things out is just not one of his specialties. It is too much trouble, too much work. It is just an activity he shys away from. So when he changes his clothes he just throws the old ones in a pile on a chair. He has no self-discipline. He is impulsive. He does whatever he wishes. He buys this and he buys that, whatever his heart desires. He has a whole lot of stuff and no place to keep it. So his stuff is strewn all over the house in piles. He is just not a methodical person, never has been one. His mind just doesn't work that way. Organizing things requires thought, not one of his specialties. He is not lazy in everything. He is not lazy in doing things he enjoys doing. He has plenty of energy for doing things that give him pleasure. He can show a lot of perseverance in doing things he likes to do, wants to do. But with regard to drab, mundane tasks that give him no pleasure, he is very procrastinating, dilatory and foot- dragging. He is impulse oriented, mood oriented, feeling oriented. He doesn't do what he doesn't want to do. He just habitually avoids doing things that he doesn't feel like doing. It is a way of life for him. Confusion and disarray don't bother him at all. It is a way of life. He doesn't deal with basic problems at their root. He just lives with them. Now, for added insight, let us consider the opposite character trait from carelessness: carefulness. Consider the following dictionary definitions: Careful. Exercising care in one's work; thorough; painstaking. Conscientious. 1. Governed by or done in accordance with conscience; scrupulous. 2. Careful and thorough; painstaking. Honest. Not given to lying, cheating, stealing, etc.; acting honorably and justly; trustworthy. Serious. Grave and earnest in quality, feeling, or disposition; thoughtful; sober. Syn. Serious, earnest and sober are compared as they characterize persons. A serious person is not frivolous, but diligent in work, and always mindful of his responsibilities as a parent, citizen, employee, etc. Earnest adds a note of zeal, sincerity, and perseverance to serious, and so is generally a stronger word. The sober person is calm and composed, and not easily excited. Industrious. Characterized by or showing assiduity in work or effort; hard-working; diligent. Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary From Roget's International Thesaaurus we get: Honesty, integrity, probity, conscientiousness, scrupulousness, high principles, moral strength, trustworthiness, reliability, dependability Seriousness, earnestness, purposefulness, resolution, determination, resolve, will power, moral fiber, self-control, self-discipline, self-denial, self-reliance Industrious, assiduous, diligent, energetic, hardworking We see now that the honest, conscientious, serious, hardworking type of person has something in him that the careless, indifferent, negligent person doesn't have. What is it? It is something inside himself that requires him to do the right thing, the honest thing, the intelligent thing. He has that voice within that tells him how he ought to act - and he obeys that voice. He is a person who habitually obeys the voice of Conscience, Reason, and Prudence within. He does what he knows he should do even though it may require a lot of work and be hard. He habitually takes the high road even though it may be the hard road. He is not daunted by difficulty. He does the right thing. He is a person of integrity. He has a self- discipline and moral strength that the careless person doesn't have. The careless, negligent person who takes the easy, lazy path in doing things reveals a lack of integrity that will likely reveal itself in other ways as well. SeeThe Natural Way -- The Unnatural Way
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