September 1, 2016

How do we Make Effective Choices?

It’s almost time for Americans to vote for our next president. Our current one has already served two terms; he cannot run again. Those who choose to vote must sort through the sea of contradictory information out there and decide who and what they believe.

Choosing the next national leader is a huge choice that comes along only once every four years. Other decisions may not seem to be so life-changing. However, some of them will have long-term repercussions of either a positive or a negative nature.

Common Sense

In this day of instant, real-time information from a variety of confused, angry sources, it’s crucial to have the ability to grasp the truth. Our financial, social, or academic status may not help us with this. In addition, shoot-from-the-hip, passionate decisions are usually counterproductive. What will aid us is rational, objective thinking.

You can’t inherit common sense, learn it online, buy it, or learn it through a book or classroom. Usually, you have to earn your Masters of Common Sense through the School of Hard Knocks. The program is exclusive to that university. However, don’t worry; there are many openings in that area of study--due to low enrollment. After all, how many people actually prefer to learn anything the hard way?

Don’t sign me up!!!!!!!!!!! Oops, too late! Can I drop out? Pppplease? I want a refund! Who do I need to talk to?

Defining and Exploring Common Sense

I came across an excellent WikiHow article, called “How to Develop Common Sense.” It defines the term and informs the reader how he can cultivate it:
  • Familiarize yourself with the purpose and meaning of common sense. The Merriam-Webster dictionary calls it “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.” Karl Albrecht calls it “practical intelligence”.The gist of the term is that we don’t want to overcomplicate anything. Also, we want to apply experience and general knowledge.
  • Understand the ease with which the mind believes false things—even against evidence to the contrary. Don’t be stubborn.
  • Divorce yourself from your “reality”. Open yourself up to learning.
  • Get in touch with your reflective mind. Do less, think more.
  • Think and react quickly, when appropriate.
  • Learn the basics of common sense:

Nutrition, your environment, budgeting, your body
Thinking for yourself, basic repairs, advance planning
Safety, Community Involvement, Resourcefulness,
Basic communication (written and spoken)

  • Change your way of thinking. Cultivate flexibility, acceptance, and positive thinking.
  • Weigh every word and action carefully beforehand.

My Conclusion

“My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.”—Proverbs 3:21, 22 (NIV)

Common sense is one of the best indicators that we’re making beneficial choices. This term reflects practicality and homespun wisdom that resonates deep within our souls. It’s innate. We can exercise it in relation to many everyday situations, such as: how we treat others, what we eat, our thinking patterns, and our financial habits.

Please see more on using common sense in my book, Accept No Trash Talk: Overcoming the Odds.

How have you cultivated common sense today?

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