“It took some good calm thinking in order to get myself to calm down and stop throwing myself against the boulder.” –Aron Ralston, mountain climber and author
Yesterday Thom came across an interesting article on Huffington Post about the lack of common sense in the world today. The article by Dr. Jim Taylor said, “common sense is neither common, nor sense. There’s not a whole lot of sound judgment going on these days… so it’s not common.” We both agreed with his suggestions on how to bring more open and rigorous thinking to our decisions, but there was something else missing. Maybe that final ingredient to all common sense should be some “calmNsense.”
Dr. Taylor reminds us all that people make decisions every day that are not good for them. People smoke cigarettes knowing full well that they kill people, people eat things all the time that are not healthy, people buy stuff on a regular basis that they cannot afford, and people post things on FaceBook or send tweets or emails with photos even though we all know nothing is secret there. Obviously, if common sense were common, we could all do a lot better.
Unfortunately, Dr. Taylor seems to believe that we use the idea of “common sense” as an excuse not to think deeply and carefully about important decisions. Much of the time, what we call common sense is really just our personal opinion or experience—and frankly, far too often that is very limited and biased. Still, we throw around the idea of common sense like it is high quality thinking, and maybe it is time to recognize that there can be a big difference between the two.
Dr. Taylor suggests that a good way to counteract the ineffectiveness of common sense is instead to “embrace reasoned sense.” He recommends rigorous study combined with our personal experience. First, we should start with an open mind and be receptive to answers. He also believes that we should be willing to look at alternative ideas to make sure that we aren’t just accepting answers to our forgone conclusions. Next, he recommends gathering a sizable amount of data to incorporate into the process. And lastly, we should all strive to be as objective as possible when faced with a choice.
Obviously, using these steps before making any decision would be a beneficial way to use common sense. Still, in order for them to be most effective, adding a quality I’ll call “calmNsense” would be ideal. Far too often decisions, even ones where we attempt to be very open-minded about, come from a space of anxious, worried or attached thinking. Instead, calmNsense comes from a place where all is right with the world and that there is more than one solution to any situation. Once we start in a place where nothing needs to be protected, where fear is absent and peace is inherent, only then do we have the ability to think and make choices from a true open space.
How do you cultivate calmNsense? The most obvious way is through meditation and contemplation. Of course that is a whole other topic we will cover in another post. But just consider that as each of us touches a place of calm and peace within us, we can begin to think, make sense, choices and decisions, and go about our daily lives on a regular (or common) basis. CalmNsense is clearly a key to living SMART 365.