If common sense were in rampant supply, our ancestors would not have invented proverbs, parables, wise sayings and most of the superstitions they passed on to us.
I imagine the idea was to inoculate us against doing dumb things through constant phrased reminders. French philosopher Voltaire would agree and later remark that “common sense is not so common”.
The good news though is that everyone can practise common sense. One needn’t be a bright spark to “get it”. In fact, you don’t have to re-invent the wheel, which is one brilliant common sense truism by the way.
There isn’t enough time in the world to learn everything by yourself, so learn also from the experiences of others. Start by observing a person who is successful in one area that you admire, asking yourself what it is they are doing that you are not, and then copy-paste it.
Another common sense truism that is in short supply is this: The buck stops with you. You are responsible for your life.
Mark Twain wrote, “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living; the world owes you nothing; it was here first.”
Stop looking for people to blame for where you are. Unless you are a child, you are largely where you are because of the choices you have made. If you don’t like something about your life, change it. Or change yourself.
A third common sense truism is, invest in people. Long before your buy your first home or stocks, make the easiest investment with the largest return: people. Few people ever ask for their bank statements on their deathbed.
Invest your time, energy and money in your family’s happiness and wellbeing. If you don’t like people, you are not going to be very happy in the world because, heck, they are everywhere. Learning to get along with others is a critical life skill.
You probably heard our fourth common sense phrase from a grandparent or a religious leader. It is this; whatever your hand finds to do, do it.
Recently, one of the television stations carried a news feature on a university graduate who chose to work as a cook after failing to secure a white collar job.
Here is a great example of a person with some common sense. Yet too many college graduates are sitting at home watching TV waiting for the “right” job. Or perhaps, waiting for it to appear in the newspaper advertisement section. Your grandmother was on to something.
Get off your comfy perch, volunteer your time and start somewhere. And if you are in a job you particularly don’t like, work your way into the ideal one.
Remind yourself that you are on a journey, and your current circumstances are not your final destination. They are but a chapter in the book that is your life.
If only this next common sense truism were common, we would have fewer people in gridlocked debt. It is this; keep a little of what you earn aside to invest. There are numerous reasons why people fail to do this. Most times they believe they can’t afford to save, or their income is meagre.
But let’s observe how the farmer deals with this. He keeps aside some seed for the next planting season. He knows that if he ate it all, he would have nothing to plant. So it works on the farm but it isn’t common sense when your salary is going direct into your account and we have credit cards that further allow us to spend money we may not have.
In a highly connected world, where people feel free to share their thoughts, even what should ideally be kept private online, this next common sense truism is particularly important. Edit your information.
Yes, information is power, but some of our online postings show a serious lack of discretion. A good rule of the thumb is to ask the following before you share it, “is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?”