One of my former professors (otherwise known as ‘He who shall not be named’) used the term ‘educated common sense’ regularly and, although it pains me to admit that I agree with something he pontificated about, I do love the term. It’s a great concept that has been around long before he started using it. But first I want to make it clear that common sense itself is a ‘spectrum disorder’. Each person is very different. When someone uses the phrase “She has no common sense”, it really isn’t true. The phrase should be more like “She has very different common sense than I do” or something to that affect. Educated common sense is best used when you need to make a critical decision and requires pulling in experiences and learned insights. That educated common sense is brought to the table to actually influence what you do next. Just remember that experience could also mean an appreciation and respect for someone else’s insights or a set of life lessons far removed from your own day-to-day existence. Consider the advice of a parent, mentor or coach who drilled into your head a respect for a certain obstacle or a specific pitfall. Or experience could mean making a really stupid decision when you were young and getting suspended from high school two months before you were about to graduate. (Don’t ask…) One thing is for sure: educated common sense is not a linear process. It’s much more of holistic process. You don’t use it at trivial, incidental moments. Educated common sense won’t help you find a convenient parking space in a crowded lot. A valet will.
Educated common sense is what you use when you push all your chips onto the table and declare that you are “all in” no matter what anyone else says. You might even say that educated common sense is what you rely on in spite of what anyone else says. That’s what I did when my son Danny was diagnosed with brain damage. I ignored a whole body of evidence – and some very well educated medical professionals – and through it all I stuck to what I believed to be true. Something deep inside told me that although everyone was saying I was looking at a certain situation, something different was taking place. And I listened to my own intuition although not as aggressively as I would today. At this point, I would tell them all to pack sand (ok – that’s the polite version of what I would say) and make a much more decisive and quick decision. That’s what age and self-confidence will do for you. So my advice to everyone is to soak up all the ‘educated common sense’ that you can and have a blast doing it!!!