Have you ever found yourself asking how some people have managed to make it this far through life doing the things that they do?
It’s safe to say that you and everyone else on this planet have felt this way about another person at some point. Heck, somebody has probably thought the same thing about you.
You see, we all lack common sense to a certain extent, even if we don’t realize it or want to admit it.
The reason we might not be able to accept this about ourselves is that there is no single way in which a person might display their lack of common sense. There are many.
And whilst some may not apply to you, at least one of them will. What are those reasons? We’ll get to that, but first, let’s ask what it really means to have common sense.
What is common sense?
It’s hard to precisely define common sense, but here goes: Common sense is the action that is deemed by the majority of people to be the most acceptable and/or most likely to result in the best outcome.
In other words, it is doing something in a particular way that is the way most people would do it. Or, from a personal point of view, it is the action you would take in a situation or the method you would use to perform a task.
It’s important to note that it is the action being taken that is most likely to count when people think of common sense, not the outcome. It is often possible to reach the same outcome in multiple ways, but if you see someone going about things differently to how you would do it, you might perceive a lack of common sense… even if they reach the same endpoint.
Now that we’ve got a working definition of common sense, let’s explore some of the reasons why someone might be perceived as lacking in it.
1. We can’t excel in all types of intelligence.
Intelligence is not a single thing that you either possess or lack. It can be broken down into different areas. Most people probably think of someone with book smarts as being intelligent, but there are thought to be 9 types of intelligence and nobody can excel at all of them.
A stereotypical “intelligent” person with a stellar academic record and a bank of knowledge and facts in their head may lack the hand-eye coordination required to play tennis.
Similarly, someone with high interpersonal intelligence may be good at building strong bonds with others, but that doesn’t mean they can read a map.
This is probably the key reason why we perceive so many people as having no common sense: they just excel at different things to us. But at that moment when they do something in a different way to how we would have done it, we instantly damn them for it. We simply can’t comprehend their “stupidity” as we see it.
This is in spite of the fact that we are blind to the ways in which we, too, might be seen as lacking in common sense.
2. We don’t consider all of the possible consequences of our actions.
We live our lives by the law of cause and effect, but it’s hard to always predict what cause will lead to what effect. Some people are simply better than others at considering the vast array of possibilities and accounting for them when choosing the “best” way to do something.
This can be both the immediate consequences and those in the long term.
For example, placing a scalding hot drink down on a low coffee table whilst there are young children playing and running around is not in the least bit sensible, but some people simply don’t consider the risk of a horrible accident occurring.
Of course, there are times when the “best” action to take is a matter of personal choice. So it’s not always a case of being absent-minded to the possible outcomes of our actions, but of considering them differently to someone else.
3. We’re better at giving advice than following it.
Often we know that common sense suggests we do one thing, and yet we do the opposite anyway. We make bad choices that go against all sound reasoning and we often do so based on our emotions, our instincts, or our inability to resist temptation.
All the while, we tell other people not to do the exact thing we are doing, because we know it’s not in their best interest. It’s often easier to know what to do than it is to do it.
That’s because we’re fallible. We all are. We are simply unable to act in what most people would consider the ideal way all of the time.
So we all lack common sense from time to time, some more often than others. It’s not because we’re stupid or a failure, but because we’re human.
So, you see, we all lack common sense in the eyes of some people, some of the time. You may think that you are exempt from this rule, but you’re not. So perhaps it’s time to stop judging people when they do something in a way that confuses or frustrates you and start accepting that you, too, can exhibit a real shortage of sense sometimes.
Click on the comment box below and leave us your thoughts. Thank you