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Common Sense

“The greatest results in life are usually attained by simple means and the exercise of ordinary qualities. These may for the most part be summed in these two: common-sense and perseverance.”
Owen Feltham

“Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.” — Ralph “Where’s” Waldo Emerson

It’s unreasonable to expect people to reward you for acts of common sense.

But it’s unfair and unwise of you to let your own acts of common sense go unrewarded. Reward yourself. Treat yourself like a 5-year-old. No one else is going to do it (nor should they).

Common sense isn’t just par for the course.
Common sense, the practice of noticing and acting upon the obvious, is one of the most precious and undercelebrated things we have.

Immersion is just common sense.
Try to spend as much time with Japanese as a Japanese person would.
That’s common sense.

But how many people notice? And how many people act?
Relatively few. I know…I’ve been there; in fact, I still go, from time to time 😉 .

If there’s no Japanese playing, start playing some.
Common sense.
Simple. Cheap. Effective.

Common sense.
Obvious, but often forgotten.
And always worthy of being repeated.

Just because it’s common sense, that doesn’t mean we don’t need to hear it. Again and again and again.

But if it’s so obvious, then why do we forget?
Because it’s so obvious.
Exercise: draw yourself an accurate picture of your watch or cellphone. From memory.

See what I mean?

  5 comments for “Common Sense

  1. Martín
    December 13, 2010 at 09:01

    And yet, common sense is the least common of all senses.

  2. meerkat
    December 14, 2010 at 15:50

    You write a lot about praising yourself for small achievements, and here you mention that no one else will (nor should they). Do you have a post that goes into more detail on this that I just haven’t read? (I have only read a small fraction of the archives.) Why should I do this thing that other people shouldn’t do? What is the rubric for deciding if a thing should be done by a person that gives such a different answer for me vs. not-me? There are things like feeding yourself that you generally should only do yourself, but if you were incapable of them it would be desirable for other people to do them for you. Does that not apply here?

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