Commom Sense Reality Check
As a Psychology and Human Resource professional, I have been bothered lately by a long time issue about COMMON SENSE. I encountered a lot of things that I thought people should have used their common sense when they decide to do something.
I believe that everybody have COMMON SENSE that varies in different levels. But people might be guilty, to some extent or occasionally, of not using it the right way. I tried to look up its definition to express it in laymen’s term for better understanding. It comes from the Latin word “sēnsus commūnis”, which is the common feeling of humanity. Common Sense is defined as - - -
Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary
- sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts
- sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like; normal native intelligence
The Free Dictionary
- sound judgment not based on specialized knowledge; native good judgment
- the ability to use good judgment and make sensible decisions
If we might noticed in the four definitions, it was commonly defined as a sound judgment, prudent judgment, practical judgment, and good judgment. These all refers to one thing that is common sense should reflect a sensible way of thinking, reasoning and feelings of people. We do need to know everything to have common sense. This does not necessarily mean that a person should be a genius or intelligent to decide on how to act on simple matters.
Here are some of my unfortunate experiences with people who supposed to have common sense but failed to use it.
1. CROSSING THE STREET
My husband and I were on our way to my sister-in-law’s house for dinner. It was already dark at that time when a man who was wearing a black shirt suddenly crossed the street. Just imagine! It was a main road with no pedestrian lane. The man didn’t even bother to look if there were cars approaching him. So, did the man use his common sense in this situation?
It is just a common sense that there are pedestrian lanes that must be use for crossing the streets. There are also traffic lights that need to be followed by everybody. These are provided in order to avoid any car accidents. It is also obvious that black color is not too visible at night. If something bad happens, people would just instantly blame it to the driver. But does that make sense always?
On the otherhand, I also have experienced crossing the street. I was on my way to the mall from my office to meet my husband for lunch. The traffic turned green and the walk sign turned white, so I already took a few steps when suddenly a big SUV goes towards my direction and was perhaps a feet away from me. Honestly, I felt nervous at that time. I shook my head and thought, this driver needs to take a seminar from the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV). He doesn’t know the right thing to do when somebody is crossing the street. So, where is the common sense of this driver? Does he know the meaning of respect? I’m sure he does, but he is just one person with common sense who doesn’t use it. Or should I say, he has a COMMON SENSE WITHOUT SENSE?
2. EMERGENCY CAR LIGHTS ON
There was no traffic and I was on my way to work that morning. I was supposed to make a left turn going to our office street. I saw two cars on the left lane and the traffic light was still on red. I stopped at the back of the second car. When the light turned green, the two cars didn’t moved, so I wondered what’s wrong with them. The light turned red again in just a few seconds. So I missed it! The second time the light turned green, I transferred to my right lane since there were no other cars at that time. Guess what? The first car in front doesn’t have a driver and had his emergency car lights on, but the second one has a driver just sitting inside. So, where’s the common sense in this situation?
It is just a common sense that the second car that is visible to other drivers should have put his emergency car lights on as a signal that there is a problem. In this way, it will not delay or cause inconvenience to others. It is sad to say that the driver who was sitting inside his car just didn’t use his common sense the right way. Oh yes, another common sense issue without sense.
3. EXTENDING COURTESY TO OTHERS
There was another instance when I was in a bookstore. I was looking for new books that might also be a good buy for me. There was another woman who kept moving towards my way. I tried to move a little bit away from her everytime she moved closer. I was trying to reach for a book when she suddenly bumped me at my side and stepped on my shoes. Oh my goodness! My toes were dead because of her weight. But seriously speaking, she didn’t even bother to apologize. So, did the woman used her common sense? Definitely not . . .
It is just a common sense that if somebody is ahead of you or has the right of way in any situation, you should extend some courtesy to the other person. If you are in a hurry to move ahead, then you should at least ask permission. You should also apologize if you have done something wrong even if it is an accident. A person’s actions can also reveal if he/ she has good manners and etiquette. But this woman is just another disrespectful being who doesn’t use her common sense.
4. PARKING LOT ETIQUETTE
At the parking lot, my husband and I loaded the stuffs that we bought from the grocery store. He then placed the push cart at the station area where it should be. I went inside our car and then my husband followed me. We saw a woman and her son, whose car was next to us, were also unloading their grocery items. After a few minutes, we moved our car slowly but we felt that we hit something at the back. My husband stepped out of the car, and guess what he saw?!? A push cart! It was not visible in our rear view mirror, a blind spot in driving. These mother and son placed their push cart at the back of our car. The mother suddenly tried to move backwards. You can see from her face that she wants to immediately run away from this incident. I may pardon the mistake of her son, but this woman is another example of one being who doesn’t use her common sense. Again, the person has a common sense without sense.
It is just a common sense that there is a push cart station in every parking lot where you can place these carts after you use it. You don’t leave it at the back of another person’s car. That doesn’t make sense!
These are just few of my unfavorable experiences with people who don’t use their common sense. If I am going to tell you more, you might also go crazy. But I’m sure that you also have your own encounter with these types of people. However, if you are one of those personas who are guilty of not using your common sense, then you might as well have a second thought before you react to this article. We all have common sense, but the questions are - - - “Is your common sense with or without sense? Are you using it the right way or not? How does your action affects others?” This is the right time for all of us to have a reality check if we are using it or not.
So why do people, even the smarter ones, do dumb things? It is simply because they failed to use their common sense.
In our training sessions, we think that people usually retain only 25% of what they have heard, seen or read in any articles. This is the reason why I mentioned the word COMMON SENSE over and over again. . . retention in our minds.
Try to watch the videos I uploaded from youtube by BlackMarketDude and Tru TV. You can judge it yourself if these scenes are with or without common sense. I have also listed some excerpts from news that I found online. You may click the link to read their whole story:
Las Vegas Sunday, Saturday, May 8, 2010
“Common sense, as the saying goes, isn’t all that common. In fact, it can be something of a precious commodity if you look at some recent new stories: … about federal efforts to clean up desert areas in Southern Nevada because people are dumping their junk there… and the case of a 17-year-old Philadelphia Phillies fan…”
ABC News, May 6, 2010
“The Queensland Teachers Union (QTU) says the backdown on the boycott of the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests is a win for common sense.”
USA Today, April 22, 2010
“Even so, Obama argued that new regulations on the financial industry would help businesses, customers, and the U.S. economy as a whole. "We need to enact a set of updated, common-sense rules to ensure accountability on Wall Street and to protect consumers in our financial system," he said.”
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About the Author: Tina is a Psychology and Business Management Graduate. She also studied Guidance and Counseling that enhanced her skills. As a...