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Common Sense in Safety Common sense is what -I- think others should know. Oh Really! The ability to discern what is right and what is wrong. You don’t get one of these with every worker…that’s why we train! Webster’s Comment • Merriam Webster, common sense is about exercising "sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts". This definition suggests that common sense depends on not over-complicating the situation (simple), applying experience and general knowledge to the situation (sound and prudent judgment), and implicit in this is self-trust that your considered experience is valid for future situations. The Truth and Nothing but the Truth In fact, I think that so-called common sense is a fallacy that has been foisted on us by our culture of ideology (any ideology that wants to tell us what we should think and do) that prefers us to be stupid, ill informed, and poor decision makers. Sorry to get a bit political here, but common sense is even used as an ideological cudgel by conservatives in which so-called coastal elites lack common sense and, as a result, are out of touch with "real workers" who apparently have an abundance of common sense. Oh Really! Aaaah!, common sense. Something everyone thinks he alone has, but not many others do. Why is it that some people have common sense and others don't? It sounds common, as though everybody is supposed to have it. But too often I hear people say that "other people" don't seem to have any common sense at all. A dispatcher that I know, always says that people with good common sense are very hard to find. You never know what's on a persons mind Or where they just came from. Many people have problems and complications in their lives. Some people are tolerant of that fact and some aren't. So what is common sense then, if we are all so different from each other? What did mom and dad say • There are things that every human being should know how to do and not leave to another person, things that go to the heart of personal survival, self-knowledge, and long- term health and safety. In this way, you can learn common sense through practical knowledge and application, informing you accurately when times are harder or when you must react quickly. Common sense can be learned and applied in everyday situations • Smart people do not always do things in a smart way; sometimes smart people can do confoundedly, irrational things like gambling away all their money on the stock market, or forgetting to take adequate clothing for a back country hike in the middle of very changeable weather. • The more we're trained to think one way (by our workplace, family, culture, etc.), the greater the chance that sometimes we allow sloppy or auto-pilot thinking to take the place of common sense. Common sense isn't a one- stop-destination; it's a way of thinking that needs constant nourishing and application, and this article provides one way of looking at developing your common sense a little further. As to the purpose of common sense, it is basically thinking that prevents you from making irrational mistakes or decisions, a thinking approach that may open your eyes to the possibility that insisting on being right prevents you from seeing the bigger picture. Are you convinced yet • Understand the ease with which the human mind is convinced that an idea is right contrary to indicators clearly demonstrating otherwise. We're human; we're fallible. And our brains work in certain ways as a means of providing shortcuts to ensure survival in a world where being chased by predators could end your life. In a modern world where caves and saber toothed tigers are no longer a constant companion, some of that reactive, split second judging can land us in hot water as we react instead of reflecting, assume instead of teasing apart the realities, and follow habit instead of challenging its continued utility. Our sense of reality Maintaining our own sense of reality out of proportion with identifiable reality. While each of us creates a reality out of our own experiences and makes sense of our world through this personal lens, for the most part, we understand that our sense of reality is only a small portion of a much larger picture. Add to the group understanding Start by taking a look at your own emotions, beliefs, and practices to make sure they're not overriding your common sense. Test different scenarios in your mind to try and ascertain the practical consequences of applying the decision or action the way you want to. Consult with others. If your reality is clouding your judgment too much, reach out and discuss the situation with others to gain wider appreciation of their perspectives and ideas.. reflective mind • Acquaint yourself with your reflective mind. This is the part of your thinking where true common sense resides. The part that takes a bit of time out from the cleverness, the brightness, the importance of everything rushing at you right now and suggests that it's time to add a dose of cold water to the excitement. Reflective intelligence is about being able to stand back and view the bigger picture so that you realistically appraise the situation or environment directly around you rather than forcing yourself to conform to its suitability or practicing wishful thinking. Do you have ODI’s • "Obsessive Do-Itis". This simply means we're obsessed with doing more all the time instead of thinking. And while we're running around frantically being busy all the time, we're not being productive and we're contributing to a culture that admires incessantly busy people. Is this common sense? Hardly. It is about working harder and longer without taking time out to reflect. Ask people why they presume something to be so. • Often we are so used to just nodding our head and swallowing the clichés as culturally ordained that we forget it's OK to ask someone why they have stated something to be so. • For example, if your friend tells you that it's not safe to go outside at night because strangers exhibit only 1 percent good motives and everyone's a robber, ask them why they think this. If they can only cite generalizations, ask them for facts and examples. Even with the facts and examples, ask them why this is a problem where you live, where you're going, when you're in a group, when you're alone, when you're escorted, etc. You, the job and the events • Knowing the limitations of your own body. This includes knowing which foods wreak havoc with your body, which foods work for you, knowing how many hours of sleep you need, and knowing the type of exercise that benefits your body and metabolism best; read widely but work out for yourself what harms and heals your body, as you're the real expert on this topic. Moreover, you're no super hero - ignoring bodily injuries is done at your own peril, such as continuing to carry heavy loads with an aching back, or refusing to acknowledge constant pains. Knowing how to be resourceful. • Resourcefulness is the art of "making do"; it's about taking small things and making them go a long way with a little imagination and elbow grease. It's about being able to thrive under difficult conditions and still prosper and not feel deprived. Resourcefulness is a key part of using common sense, and again, it's a skill that liberates you from consuming to live At Work Think prevention, not disaster • Knowing how to keep safe. Whether you're in public or at home, safety is a matter of common sense. Pushing saucepan handles away from you on the stove, looking both ways when crossing the street, walking with a friend or group in dark areas of the city at night instead of being alone, etc. All of these are common sense safety actions that can be planned for and put into action before anything harmful happens; and doing so will often avert problems altogether. Oh that’s why we have safety training • Common sense is learned through experience. Your friends and family will be more than happy to talk about basic dos and don'ts for any given situation with which they have familiarity if they know it's about ensuring your own safety Is not! • Common sense isn't a one-stop-destination; it's a way of thinking that needs constant nourishing and application, and this article provides one way of looking at developing your common sense a little further. Trust yourself. • If you put in the constant hard yards of thinking things through carefully for yourself as well as learning all that you can about the world and other's thoughts about the world, you're well placed. You don't have to be highly educated; you do have to be open-minded and curious. And realize that this is a process, not a destination. You will have to make the mental effort throughout your life as to which messages you absorb and which people you allow to influence your thinking. Even this article is but one source of guidance on common sense – analyze it, critique its applicability to your own circumstances, and cherry pick, discard, or adopt those things that suit you or don't fit with you. After all, doing so just makes plain common sense not equated • Popularity does not equate to common sense. Think about the proverbial lemmings leaping off the cliff before falling for this one. “Ancient wisdom can be helpful but it can also hinder. It all depends on the context of when the "wisdom" was developed and whether it stands the test of time or not”. Sometimes, just sometimes Truth/Reality/Perception And common sense isn't real sense, if we define sense as being sound judgment, because relying on experience alone doesn't usually offer enough information to draw reliable conclusions. Heck, I think common sense is a contradiction in terms. Real sense can rarely be derived from experience alone because most people's experiences are limited. Safety as a mentor not a baby sitter! Common sense is not a quality that "you either have or you don't." It can be developed, most easily when you're young and your parents and mentors can help.
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