Common sense is instinct. Enough of it is genius. George Bernard Shaw
It is commonly understood that common sense is the most uncommon thing. This is because a large part of common sense is developed by observing and learning from the environment around and is therefore almost instinctive. However most of us see problems as very complicated and try to come up with very innovative solutions and in the process overlook the obvious.
The real difficulty with common sense is the extensive use of analysis and logic to arrive at solutions. On the other hand if one were to instinctively decide on a course of action, in all probability the results would be closest to the results desired. The following story illustrates this effect emphatically. There is the apocryphal story of the American scientists who spend years of research and tons of money in developing a pen that allowed the ink to flow freely when in zero gravity on the moon so that the astronauts could use it in space . The Russians on the other hand it is said used a pencil.
Adults have great difficulty in learning new skills like swimming, adapting to technology etc. mainly because of the acquired fear of failure. On the other hand children are observed to easily come up with solutions to problems that are often overlooked by adults. Rather than let our instinct guide us to act in a particular manner, we try to approach the problem like playing a game of chess. What we do not realize is that chess is a game of skill where one pits his/ her wits against and another human being. Everyday challenges on the other hand, are not a test of skill as much as a test of character.
The real wonder is when some people display extraordinary common sense most of the time. They would come up with simplest of solutions that will effectively tackle the challenges. When a corkscrew is not available to pull out a cork, finding and equivalent implement would be quite challenging. On the other hand one can easily use a screwdriver and hammer to push the cork into the bottle and then pour out the contents. Many times, necessity pushes the human mind to instinctively come up with solutions to tackle emergencies. Most innovations and inventions were not originally thought about but were worked on to tackle a problem. The concept of the credit card for example came about when the pioneer of the same was stranded with no cash when entertaining guests at a hotel, although he was a millionaire. Notice that the final product was complicated must have taken a lot of time, money and promotion to get the concept accepted but the concept on which it is based was instinctive and immediate. It is such people who not only have the common sense but who can leverage it who ultimately become geniuses and leave their mark in history.
Remember: “Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.” C. E. Stowe
- If you had three watches one 10 mins slow the other 15 mins fast and a dead watch which one would you prefer and why?
- Come up with a list of uses of a dead mobile handset.
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