Poor Julius Caesar.  He was warned to beware of treachery on this day, March 15th so long ago. He failed to listen, to heed the signs and paid dearly.  With his life.

The word “beware” is one of the most powerful words in our language, and although it has a negative connotation, if you heed the signs they can guide you through life’s dangers to ultimate success.

Back to Caesar.  Perhaps he thought he was untouchable, that he was safe because he was emperor.  Maybe he believed Brutus would protect him, as evidenced by, “Et tu, Brute?” displaying his shock that Brutus betrayed him.  Whatever the reason, he failed to be on guard against the forces that would be his undoing.

It may help you to look at Beware as “be aware.”  Be aware of all the opportunities that present themselves–all the good that flows into your life.  Look on the upside, see the best in every situation…but…

Be aware of the dangers, the pitfalls, and the treachery that arise as well.  Seeing through rose-colored glasses and ONLY seeing the positive no matter how much danger besets you is naive optimism.  Focusing on accenting the positive, while at the same time, accurately seeing that which would destroy your hopes and dreams and taking action to prevent it is intelligent optimism.

Naive optimism is the view that there are no weeds in your beautiful garden.  Nothing could possibly want to destroy something so wonderful.

Intelligent optimism is the view that the weeds are right over there in the midst of your beautiful garden.  You then take action to eradicate them so you can preserve and enjoy your garden you worked so hard to cultivate.

The lesson from Caesar and the Ides of March is this: Heed the Signs.  No matter how dire they may appear, be prepared for the worst while working toward the best.  When a trusted adviser gives you the advantage of his perspective–listen.

Here’s a martial arts example on BEWARE:

Students’ motivation levels naturally rise and fall, cyclically throughout their training.  The first “motivational dip” occurs between Orange Belt and Advanced Orange Belt for 9 out of 10 students.  I’ve seen this pattern hundreds of times so I warn families that it is coming and to be prepared for it because when students persevere through this motivational dip they become more committed to their training and their motivation spikes. If they are unaware, and don’t heed my warning, they invariably and unnecessarily, give up and drop out.

BEWARE forces you to focus on the negative, to face it head on and overcome it.  Only in this way will the positive prevail.