Just common sense?

If I was a stick of rock, instead of the name of the name of the resort running all the way though me, mine would say learning and behaviour.  The advantage of these two themes is that, unlike real sticks of rock, they have no sell by date.  For as long as human beings last they will always have to learn and behave. 

 

However, as with anything as durable as learning and behaviour, there is a downside; they get taken for granted.  So, whenever I extol the virtues of becoming a more effective learner or of improving interpersonal skills, there is a tendency for people to be underwhelmed.  For a start, messages about the importance of learning and behaviour aren’t new – and people love something new.  Secondly, learning and behaviour is kid’s stuff, something we all learnt at school, something even babies do, apparently naturally, from the word go.  So, what’s the fuss?  Why bother with a natural process that we can all do effortlessly, like breathing?

 

I can take all this on the chin and sometimes even persuade people that it might be best to treat their learning and behaviour as skills capable of development.  But there is something else that people say that gets me; it’s just common sense. The dismissive ‘just’ is what jars.  If they said it’s common sense, without the just, I would see it as a compliment.  My dictionary says common sense is ‘practical good sense and judgement’ and I’d feel very pleased to have my life’s work described thus.

 

Of course, the truth is that common sense is far from common.  On the contrary, it is rare and remarkable, something to be celebrated. 

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So far as other people are concerned, you are your behaviour