Where’s Your Common Sense?

eweber   December 7, 2008   25 Comments

We’ve all heard it spoken. He hasn’t got a lick o’ common sense. Or, she may be book smart, but without a tad of insight from common sense. Turns out that common sense is not so common after all. No panic though, since human gene pools come hardwired with a unique mix of inner and ethical smarts. Common sense can be taught, and engaged, and tracked as it grows. It can also spark the mind-bending climate most learners crave, and yet few circles find.

Also known as intrapersonal intelligence, common sense vibrates alongside Howard Gardner‘s  7 other distinctive intelligences that fuel your brain with inner strength. It stands as sentients within the MITA renewal model, for secondary and university learning as well as business leadership.

Daniel Goleman names common sense as part of one’s emotional intelligence. Others say it’s intuition, and Einstein claimed it won him the Nobel Prize. New research shows it includes hunches, where soldiers in battle make fast judgment calls, or introspection that’s found in people who grasp a clearer concept all at once. Have you seen it valued where you work?

My question is: What does intrapersonal intelligence common sense look like in mind-bending climates, and what wonder does it reap?

We’ve all seen it reach higher levels in tone communicated by an intrapersonal genius, and nosedive in a bully or cynic. It packs a punch with faith at times, and builds a better world when ethics becomes its fuel. Yet its absence torments victims of regret, blame or cynicism, where brains default to ruts. It shows up far less in toxic workplaces, and fades in people easily overwhelmed.

You feel it most alive when you’re content to enjoy a dinner alone at times, or when you unleash talents to celebrate your call. You’ll crave its magic moments though, whenever you’re lonely or stuck in sad spots while people around you move forward with content. It can be taught to others, though not lectured well, and thanks to the regeneration of dendrite brain cells, it’s  learned best by those who rewire their brains for more. How so?

  • Think before you speak and snip your amygdala so that  words can build better friendship and goodwill, and you’ve upped your own and other’s brainpower for common sense.
  • Log your challenges for a day, and then list possible solutions you plan to try – and personal intuition begins to grow. Create and try the solution that rewires for ongoing change!
  • Improve personal tone at work, so that others see you speak calmly and learn humbly from those who differ, and you’ve already expanded inner smarts along new neuron pathways.
  • Create space in your day to play, do hobbies,  laugh,  care, question from within your spiritual self, and watch unique intelligences bloom into vibrant colors you most enjoy.
  • Leapfrog over ruts in favor of taking  risks for a finer place, and intrapersonal intelligence jumps to your aid with unexpected dividends, that those caught in ruts with merely crave.

While it’s in the actual doing of related tasks, that brains reshape for more of the same, you’ll likely think of better gigs than mine. Whether your own or mine listed here, intrapersonal tasks launch finer proclivity for a deeper you.

Thanks to intrapersonally intelligent leaders who inspire the charge for renewal and who engage deep common sense to stir renewal to replace tired and broken systems today. Where’s your common sense?

25 thoughts on “Where’s Your Common Sense?

  1. Robyn McMaster

    What a fascinating array of thoughtful approaches to common sense. When I started my first research course, prof said to be wary of common sense since research might not prove it out. Seems like common sense is rooted in assumptions of the person claiming to “have it.”


    Robyn McMasters last blog post..Tune-in Tasks to Stay Mentally Fit

  2. eweber Post author

    Wow – you build a great case for the intrapersonal intelligence that does resonate with research and does often take the cake. Therein lies the notion of going with one’s gut!!!

    In other words we go with care, we check our facts — but in the end the smarter person goes with gusto! That’s you, Robyn, which is why you did so well in PhD and are still rolling like the best charged batteries out there:-)

    I like that analogy! Thanks!

  3. Lissa Boles

    Boy, this one got the synapses firing! And you know, http://Britannica.com and http://VisualThesaurus.com have definitions of interpersonal, but neither has one for intrapersonal – perhaps underscoring the disproportionate focus (and valuation?) on the interpersonal?

    Something which is, in my humble opinion, why so many adults find themselves challenged if not downright stumped when the inner imperative to answer a call more consciously comes: they’ve not been shown how to developed the intrapersonal intelligence that makes the process possible.

    And you know, ’til reading this I wouldn’t have linked common sense with intrapersonal intelligence. But given the context you’re using here, I can see how it could be.

    BIn my work, too often ‘common sense’ is a ‘Shoo! Back in line, you!’phrase, an internalized admonition against following your gut, intuition or native intrapersonal intellligence.

    In fact, the lines and distinctions between the two are often so blurred and confused, that’s often the place work needs to start first. Sure did for me!

    Which is why I’m thrilled that brilliant minds like yours are challenging the thinking on this one so we’re all more clear.

    Lissa Boless last blog post..3 Things You Need to Know

  4. eweber Post author

    Thanks for the thoughtful insights Lissa. You’d love multiple intelligences – and intraperson is one of the 8! You use so many of them, and to be deliberate about that use is so good for the brain:-)

    You build a good case for the jargon we use — which can often shut out the brightest minds — who simply do not speak the same lingo.

    Your brain is so alive – on so many topics — and that is the fastest way to grow young and wise daily. Thanks for the similar passions we share. So glad we met while we’re around — we’re headed out of country again in early new year:-)

    Look forward to more chat on a cool topic you do so well!

  5. rummuser

    When I was an active Manager, I used to get quite frustrated with the absence of common sense and used the saw ‘common sense is the most uncommon commodity’ quite often.

    A quote that I have used in many training programs is “Science is nothing but trained and organized common sense, differing from the latter only as a veteran may differ from a raw recruit: and its methods differ from those of common sense only as far as the guardsman’s cut and thrust differ from the manner in which a savage wields his club.”

    Thomas H. Huxley (1825 – 1895)

    rummusers last blog post..BlogCrash – Community Forum

  6. eweber Post author

    What a wonderful definition, and how true it is! Can you think of the best way to inspire “common sense” in others, Ramana? I’d be curious at your approach.

  7. Wally Bock

    Two thoughts on common sense, Ellen. First, I’ve never known anyone who thought they were the one lacking common sense. It was always other people.

    Second, it seems like “common sense” varies by place and profession. I wonder if it might not have a heavy nurture component.

  8. eweber Post author

    How interesting and how true Wally! You said it! Nature it is tethered to, and also tethered to nurture. Each comes with a unique mix of intelligences, of which this is one. Good news is that we can also develop more as we do the tasks that stretches the brain’s plasticity for any intelligence. You always get us thinking in a new direction, Wally! Thanks!

  9. eweber Post author

    Oh Angela, you are so kind and yet it’s just as lively (dendrite firing) the other way too! Your ideas and applications inspire us all!

    Great question. Self awareness is an aspect of intrapersonal intelligence also, and is increased by doing related tasks that very self aware people do especially well.

    No one intelligence is pre-eminent, and all are distinctive. So a highly intelligence mathematician may be or not be highly intelligence intrapersonally. Self aware people often expand in multiple ways however, since their awareness adds a great tool for the quest for knowledge – the kind you model so well over at http://www.angelamaiers.com/!

  10. rummuser

    I would treat common sense and native intelligence as synonyms. I would allow a great deal of freedom to use such strengths in employees that arise out of their inherent value systems and beliefs. I would use such experiences to build on modern behavioral theory as a harmonious extension. This should draw out the inherent pride and self confidence in the person. For instance giving less emphasis on English speaking skills as long as the individual was able to communicate effectively in the local language and his written communication was effective though not quite grammatical or spelling perfect brought out some brilliant performers despite coming from non English speaking/urban milieus.

    You must however understand that my experience went back to the days when India was coming out of the colonial past and I was from a spillover generation in a British multinational corporation where I could experiment with such development programs. I doubt that in modern situations, some one as fossilized as I am will be allowed to. I have little respect for what goes on now a days under the heading of Human Resources Development, any where in the world.

    rummusers last blog post..Six Months of Blogging

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  15. Anonymous

    I love your perspective of common sense and how it is used in our world today.
    The structure of your article is laid out very well for people to review and it is understandable for me to read.
    You have put in some great detail for this article and i can see you are very passionate in what you say.

    ‘Keep it up’

  16. eweber Post author

    Thanks for your kind words, and for your own insights here – regarding intrapersonal intelligence. It’s very significant to me as I see that wonderful research can be far more thoughtfully laid out so that people can use the best ideas as tools to benefit their lives and communities:-) So glad you dropped by our little community and hope you’ll be back:-)

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  22. james

    i juss like how u all talk bout what u possibly learned in a book but i’ve been through stress imma intrapersonal learner and well im juss gonna say you guys like to talk and i like to listen or read LOL

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