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Common Sense is common. Hold that thought. Common Sense is common… It’s Common – Typical – Average – Run-Of-The-Mill. By definition, if something – anything – is common, virtually everybody has it. There is nothing the least bit special about it.
That doesn’t mean Common Sense isn’t valuable. It is! Just recognize that the best opportunities to apply Common Sense are in situations where large and/or complex and/or controversial issues need to be addressed. In these situations, Common Sense tells us that Common Sense won’t cut the mustard. Uncommon Sense is needed. We need to seek out and use expertise, knowledge and insight that is anything but common to make a good decision.
You’d like me to clarify that concept with a few examples? I’ve got a few examples.
Let’s say I decide to build a house. Personally, I’ve finished three basements in three different houses I used to own. I legitimately have some construction skills. Frankly though, I’ve never tackled anything close to the magnitude and complexity of building an entire house. My Common Sense tells me to get help.
So… I figure I’ll wander on over to Peachtree Street, the main drag here in Atlanta, and ask the first 25 people I run into for hints and tips. If I did that, what kind of hints and tips do you think I’d get?
Most, if not all, of those people would have no earthly idea of even how to begin. Most would be utterly clueless. Most people have never tried to finish their basements, much less build an entire house. Most people simply have never thought about it, no less seriously thought about it.
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But not wanting to appear dimwitted, most people will employ their personal Common Sense and then dispense their advice and opinions. Think maybe that advice might generate a few unintended, super-ugly consequences? Let’s be clear…
Their “Common Sense” advice would be useless at best and much more likely would be really, really bad. The resulting “Common Sense House” would be a horror show.
What I need to build my house is Uncommon Sense. I need specialists. I need people who have invested a ton of time, money and intellectual effort in learning how to build a house. Even then… Ever hear a horror story about about a building contractor? Got your own building contractor horror story???
Statistics don’t lie. The Bell Curve does not lie. Statistically, fully 68% of building contractors are average. Do you really want an “Average” builder to build you house? At least it would be better than a Common Sense House. But do you really want to lay out all that cash so you can live in an “Average” house? Oh, and don’t forget… Another 13% of builders are “Below Average,” and 3% are “Way Below Average.” In other words, that leaves you with only 16% of builders who are “Above or Way Above Average.” You need to get way, way beyond Common Sense to get a decent house built.
To repeat my message… Using Common Sense to address a large and/or complex and/or controversial issue is NUTS!
Even among specialists who have at least some Uncommon Sense, only a small minority are legitimately above average
Think about a few other situations where using your Common Sense is dumb or downright stupid. Let’s say you want to develop a comprehensive, effective financial plan to ensure your comfortable retirement. Are you going to head on over to Peachtree Street to ask the random masses for advice? No. Your Common Sense Financial Plan would be a horror show.
Let’s say you want to develop a comprehensive, effective health care, diet and exercise plan. Are you going to head on over to Peachtree Street to ask the random masses for advice? No. Your Common Sense Health Care Plan would be a horror show.
Let’s say you want to develop a comprehensive, effective plan to control the coordination and timing of all the traffic lights in Atlanta to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion. Are you going to head on over to Peachtree Street to ask the random masses for advice? No. Your Common Sense Traffic Flow Plan would be a horror show.
Let’s say you want to develop a comprehensive, effective plan to address U.S. border control and immigration. Are you going to head on over to Peachtree Street to ask the random masses for advice? No. Your Common Sense Border Control and Immigration Plan would be a horror show.
And let’s look at Common Sense from yet another additional perspective. Think back…
What was the situation the very first time you heard the phrase, “Common Sense?”
For the overwhelming majority of us, it was either Mom or Dad chewing us out for doing something really, really stupid. Mom or Dad was teaching us an extremely important life lesson about using Common Sense. Specifically: “Use your Common Sense to avoid doing stupid things!”
Unfortunately for most of us, the lesson ended there. Yes, Common Sense is important. Yes, Common Sense is essential. To continue beating this dead horse, Common Sense is incredibly useful to avoid doing stupid stuff. When it comes to addressing large and/or complex and/or controversial issues however, Uncommon Sense is what we need. I want – you want – we all want above average and exceptional people and thinking to be applied to solving large and/or complex and/or controversial problems.
So Common Sense Gun Control??? Seriously??? Well OK… I’ll consider it if and only if:
- We build a house using the Common Sense of the Masses and you live in it.
- We develop a financial management and retirement plan using the Common Sense of the Masses, and you use it to ensure your economic security
- We develop a health care, diet and exercise regimen using the Common Sense of the Masses and you follow it
- We implement a system to control and coordinate all the traffic lights in Atlanta using the Common Sense of the Masses, and you drive into and out of the city every day
- We develop a U.S. border control and immigration policy using the Common Sense of the Masses, and you take responsibility for all cost overruns and crimes committed by illegal aliens
First you go live with the unintended consequences of using Common Sense to address those five things. Those five large and/or complex and/or controversial things. We’ll see how it all works out. If you’re still alive, not broke, physically healthy enough to carry on a conversation and not insane, THEN I’ll talk to you about Common Sense whatever you like. Until then, stop suggesting stupid stuff like Common Sense Gun Control. Stop mindlessly falling victim to a cheap rhetorical trick. THINK!
I’m your Intentionally Vicarious host Todd Youngblood, urging you to use your Common Sense each and every day. Use it to avoid being stupid. More importantly, use your Common Sense to instantly recognize when Uncommon Sense is what is required.
Thanks for paying attention.