Common sense, defined as “sound judgment derived from experience rather than study,” is one of the most revered qualities in America. It evokes images of early and simpler times in which industrious men and women built our country into what it is today. People with common sense are seen as reasonable, down to earth, reliable, and practical.
Successful people have one thing in common above all else. Sure they work their asses off in pursuit of their goals, but there is another, less spoken about tactic which you can start using right away.
Its called common sense.
And you can make drastic changes to your life by just following these 6 simple rules
The lack of common sense boils down to two things. Selfishness and ego. People today place so much stock in being right all the time, in winning even when there is nothing to win or lose, that they have lost touched with the most basic of human functions. Common sense.
Before long, the lack of common sense and the placement of burden on every one and everything else in this world to accommodate it, will cause people to discontinue thinking at all. At least for themselves. Then what?
Common sense on its own is a good thing but without reason we have not made a complete and correct decision. So we must speak of common sense and reason and not just common sense alone.
1.Familiarize yourself with the purpose and meaning of common sense.
According to Merriam Webster, common sense is about exercising “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts”.This definition suggests that common sense depends on not over-complicating the situation (simple), applying experience and general knowledge to the situation (sound and prudent judgment), and implicit in this is self-trust that your considered experience is valid for future situations. Karl Albrecht calls common sense practical intelligence. He defines it as “the mental ability to cope with the challenges and opportunities of life”.He explains that common sense is situational, dependent on context, and that your common sense in one aspect of your life might be excellent while failing abysmally in another aspect of your life. As to the purpose of common sense, it is basically thinking that prevents you from making irrational mistakes or decisions, a thinking approach that may open your eyes to the possibility that insisting on being right prevents you from seeing the bigger picture.
2. Understand the ease with which the human mind is convinced that an idea is right contrary to indicators clearly demonstrating otherwise.
We’re human; we’re fallible. And our brains work in certain ways as a means of providing shortcuts to ensure survival in a world where being chased by predators could end your life. In a modern world where caves and saber toothed tigers are no longer a constant companion, some of that reactive, split second judging can land us in hot water as we react instead of reflecting, assume instead of teasing apart the realities, and follow habit instead of challenging its continued utility.
3. Divorce yourself from reality.
This isn’t an invitation to insanity. This is a request to consider that your sense of reality isn’t real. What you see is what you’ve programmed your brain to see. And once you start down the slippery slope of self-confirmation that reality is only ever what you see it as, you’re open to the possibilities of bigotry, selfishness, intolerance, and prejudice because you’ll constantly seek to make everyone and everything else conform to your standard of reality, and your standard of “what’s right”.By divorcing yourself from this one-sided reality, and learning as much as you can about how other people perceive the world and our place in it, you begin to make room for common sense to grow because your sense is built on “common” experiences, not just your own.
4. Acquaint yourself with your reflective mind.
This is the part of your thinking where true common sense resides. The part that takes a bit of time out from the cleverness, the brightness, the importance of everything rushing at you right now and suggests that it’s time to add a dose of cold water to the excitement. Reflective intelligence is about being able to stand back and view the bigger picture so that you realistically appraise the situation or environment directly around you rather than forcing yourself to conform to its suitability or practicing wishful thinking. After an accurate appraisal of the situation, a reflective mindset enables you to set goals that are realistic given the parameters you’re working within, and to take sensible actions toward meeting those goals. Daniel Willingham cites examples of people who throw money at the stock market, or people who choose unsuitable life situations as people who made decisions or took actions without using reflective thinking. Rationalizing that external signs seem fine while ignoring complete mismatches to the person you are or the beliefs you hold is a denial of common sense. In other words, just because other people do or use something effectively isn’t a sign that it will suit you too; you need to put your own reflective mind to work on each situation to decide whether it will be a fit for you, your lifestyle, and those around you directly impacted by your decisions.
5. Reacquaint yourself with your rapid cognition.
The previous step has just suggested that you need to reflect more before you take decisions or act. But the obvious flip side to reflection is the reality that some things need very fast thinking and rapid decisions that will produce sound results. Rapid cognition is the type of thinking that tells you that you’re not going to connect with a person the moment that you meet them, or that a poorly placed ladder is going to fall sooner rather than later and needs to be shifted pronto, or that you need to quickly jump out of the way of an out-of-control car now. How do you marry rapid cognition to reflective thinking under the rubric of “common sense”? It’s simple – spend your reflecting time wisely so that you will react wisely when quick thinking is required. Common sense builds on your reflection over past experiences, enabling you to refine your understanding of the world and how it works time and time again. This is in contrast to a person who only ever reacts on gut reactions, biases, and has failed to reflect on prior experiences.Reflection will bring about sound “gut reactions” or fast assessments of situations because your reaction is based on having taken the time to work through errors and successes of past experiences.
6. Learn things that are basic common sense.
There are things that every human being should know how to do and not leave to another person, things that go to the heart of personal survival, self-knowledge, and long-term health and safety. In this way, you can learn common sense through practical knowledge and application, informing you accurately when times are harder or when you must react quickly.