Common sense is not so common

This week, I’m writing about a topic that I am very passionate about – common sense. It’s timely since Saturday, November 4 is Common Sense Day. Yep, that’s a fact. There’s a day for it. So how do you celebrate Common Sense Day? Why, use your common sense, of course. Easy, you say? Well, easier for some than others. Just read the headlines each day.

What is common sense? It’s defined as a sense of common; the knowledge of simple, sensible things; sound judgment derived from experience rather than study; a process of making good judgments to avoid making mistakes. Like not putting your iPhone in the microwave to recharge it or dry it out or the fact that McDonald’s coffee is very hot or that it’s not a good idea to smoke a cigarette while pumping gas. Who doesn’t know that? Think about it.

I used to think that you either had common sense or you didn’t. Now I'm leaning more toward what degree do we use the common sense we have? Maybe we all have it; it just needs to be dusted off and used more frequently.

There are ways to improve your common sense. In the interest of brevity, I will cite one. Try taking a little more time to pause and consider your options before acting on impulse. Before deciding that something is a good idea, step back, take a deep breath, think it through and weigh the possible outcomes. For example, is it really such a great idea to stack two chairs on top of each other to reach an item on the top shelf? Just maybe a ladder or a step stool would be a better choice.

Take time to think! Then choose the action that is fastest, easiest, has the least chance of “side effects” and gets the best results. That’s using common sense.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it’s best to let him run.” Well said.

Posted by MJ Thomas

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