Perhaps one of the greatest paradoxical and utterly bewildering ideas is that of “common sense.” It’s common – everyone should have it, right? HA! Ask anyone, truly, and “they” will all laugh at you and tell you that common sense isn’t common at all. Not even close. Frankly, I have found that in the workplace that common sense is absolutely the exception not the rule. Not that I have experienced being struck with lightning, but that is the jolt I get to the senses when the blinders are torn back from my eyes and I see the rampant stranglehold that mediocrity, and dullness clamp down on the average citizen like a crushing vice. Fortunately for me, the department in which I work is packed with people all loaded with common sense, but that doesn’t mean my prior work experience at other companies was so great…
Common sense would dictate that being polite and well-mannered, using your ears more than your mouth (which is likely oozing diarrhea), applying logic, critical thinking, and active listening to conversations, and actually being engaged with the world would all be viable things demanded of every citizen, no different than filing taxes, going to work, or paying your bills on time. I said ON TIME! I’m always baffled when people complain they got dinged for not paying something on time… well, it was due two weeks ago and you didn’t pay it – it’s your problem, not mine!
I like to think that anyone going through the education system would acquire these “common sense” skills. Seriously, why is it such a struggle to be above the mediocre line of acceptability set for us? Why don’t people aspire to greatness? Why don’t they crave more? Who would want to be below average when you could be better than average? The answers to these questions obviously lie in far more meaningful and reaching conversations, and some prickly ones at that, but even in the realm of higher education I crossed paths with students who were bland – vanilla, lukewarm, tepid. They could be as easily forgotten as the hundreds of people you pass in the grocery store without giving it a second thought. Granted, there were also students who were clearly destined for greatness, but again not the rule and almost always the exception.
In a world lacking delayed gratification, the ability to structure your finances soundly, and one in which more is “better”, it should come as no surprise that common sense is ridiculously underrated and rare. I just picked up a copy of America Mania: When More Is Not Enough and I feel that pretty much sums us up quite well. We lack common sense and we are packed feel of the desire for more, more, more… I have yet to finish it but will post a review when I do!
As you all head out to your weekend adventures, keep in mind that common sense is quickly becoming something to be treasured. Take the time to have enlightening conversations, read a good book on a topic you know nothing about, and make the time to improve yourself, even just a little bit. Happy Friday!