Making Common Sense More Common


“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen” - Albert Einstein

Is it just me or has common sense become less common? For some unknown reason, we are losing our ability to think and act with good judgment. Have we entered into a disastrous spiral of social apathy? Have we become so self-centered we have lost our ability to consider others?  It seems we have allowed our selflessness muscles along with our good judgement to atrophy.

Whatever the case, the signs pointing to the death of common sense are all around us. We need the Supreme Court to tell us to be kind to people. We need warning labels to tell us coffee is hot, not to put people inside a washing machine, and my favorite, do not hold the wrong end of a chainsaw. It seems we are we losing our common-sense mind?

Our work life is no different. Most organizations are governed by countless pages of policies instructing us “not to” do something illegal or immoral. These policies began as a simple list of guidelines and then grew into countless volumes of Legal/HR documents responding to someone not using common sense along the way.

There is HOPE! In a world becoming more complicated by the day we could all use a simple reminder of the basics in common sense. It is my humble opinion the common-sense experience becomes more common when two simple beliefs inform our behavior; The first belief, I see others before I see myself. The second belief, I take accountability for my own actions.   

These beliefs are essential for common-sense to exist. Without these beliefs, our behavior becomes reproachful and self-centered reducing our ability to exercise good judgement in all matters. Fine-tuning our beliefs require new experiences to be created.  With that in mind, consider these three straightforward practices as a place to begin.

The journey begins here…

  1. Be Kind

For me, the foundation for common-sense begins with seeing others first. The first key to unlock greater common-sense is to simply be kind to others. When we extend kindness and compassion to those around us we tap a significant element in good judgement, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

  1. Be Humble

You might ask how humility has anything to do with common-sense and it would be a fair question. The opposite of humility is pride and left unchecked can cause a person to believe they have all the answers and need no help from others. We lose all sight of common-sense when we need no help from others. I have a simple saying to keep me balanced, “Never assume you know everything you need to know about what you need to know.”

  1. Be Honorable

To be honorable is to be fair and trustworthy in all your interactions. Simply put, do the right thing. Common-sense at its core is exercising good judgement in practical matters. Good judgement begins with behaving in a manner of rightness. Martin Luther King, Jr summed it up when he said, “The time is always right to do the right thing.”

For many, the restarting of the calendar provides the opportunity to pause, reflect and refresh on life. There is more to unpack on this important topic so this post will represent the starting point in the journey to make common-sense more common. As we move forward keep this in mind, true change requires us to #Bethechangewe seek in others. But then isn’t that just common sense?


tony bridwell