When in doubt, look for the fear

My friend Amy taught me that “craven” doesn’t mean what I thought it meant. I’ve been using it to mean, “selfish in a particularly short-sighted way.” It actually means fearful and gutless.

But, exploring the thesaurus, I discovered that it also means “dastardly.” I was sure that Snidely Whiplash was a dastardly villain. A dastardly deed must be something bad.

Nope, it means “cowardly.”

But wait!

It turns out that it also means particularly selfish and evil.

When someone is fearful enough, craven enough, they sometimes end up acting in unsocial and even hurtful ways.

While there are definitely some super villains among us, it’s more likely we’re simply dealing with someone who feels like he’s drowning.

[PS I have a brand new short video course on LinkedIn on decision making. It’s free for the next six hours.]