Is Common Sense Really So Common?

PenguinsIn the course of a day, I run across so many things that don’t make sense to me.

Yesterday, I got some coffee from a restaurant in a food court.  When I proceeded to the area to get some cream and sugar, I found that it was also the order pick-up window.  I was interrupted in fixing my coffee 3 times in the course of one minute and someone nearly spilled my coffee as they reached for their sandwich.

Then, this morning I was browsing a very interesting website and I tried to find a phone number to call the company. It wasn’t on their Contact Us page, and after 2 minutes of searching their website, I gave up. They missed out on a new customer, because I couldn’t find the phone number and I don’t have the pleasure of using their services.

In both instances, I thought to myself that it simply didn’t make sense.  Who are the people that organize these things? Have they ever tried it from the users point of view?

And then I started thinking about this more deeply…

Is it Possible to Be Truly Objective?

Is it truly possible for someone to look at their business, or their everyday life, from an objective, outside perspective?

When we work on something so closely and for so many hours, we become entrenched in the day-to-day functions; what we must do to stay afloat, how we will meet the demands and how to make it happen as easily as possible.  Sometimes, what is easy for the manager of a task is not easy for the customer or family member involved.

Take the example of the coffee station and pick up window.  What makes sense is to separate the two for the ease of the customer.  Instead, the manager is thinking that they would have another area to keep clean, there might be pilferage and the employees would have to go to the outside of the counter to fill the sugars and creamers, therefore wasting valuable time.  Or maybe the managers didn’t think about this at all.

Why didn’t they think about it? Because “this is the way it has always been done” and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. This is the mentality of many overworked managers. They are often so busy and understaffed that they work solely on putting out fires instead of creating the flame of a thriving operation.  The same can be said of many who run households and raise children.

What’s More Important?
Common Sense or Holding it All Together

Often, what makes sense is overlooked, because the thing that makes the most sense in the moment is simply holding it all together.  This way of thinking works fine for the short term, but long term it will cause a breakdown of one kind or another.  Either the kind that puts you and everything else on hold for a while or one that makes it impossible to continue at all.

Have you heard the expression “You can’t see the forest for the trees?”  This means that when you’re too close to something, it’s virtually impossible to see the whole picture.  This is a natural human phenomenon, because we are taught to get up close and personal and to focus on the details and the nitty-gritty. We’re taught to be in the trenches and to stick with what’s working.  But when we’re too close, it’s hard to see what’s right in front of us.

So what can you do when you find yourself on overload or if you want to take a good look at what’s really happening in your household or your business?  How can you get a truly objective assessment?

First, you can try it from the customers’ perspective.  Use your own website like a customer would. Read your ‘chores board’ like your kids would, and use your services just like your clients do.

Another common sense approach is to hire a coach or consultant. These professionals are trained to look at the things you simply can’t see. They are trained to ask the questions that you haven’t thought to ask.  And they aren’t as close to it as you are, so their feelings won’t get in the way.

Finally, you could ask a trusted friend or associate for their opinion of whatever you’re doing.  It must be someone who has your best interest at heart and who is capable of communicating it to you lovingly and with compassion.

Keep this in mind; what’s worked in the past may be ‘good enough’ but it’s not always the best way to do something and you might be losing credibility with your customers, family and friends.

What simple, common sense strategies are you missing out on?
Have you taken a moment to notice?
It’s simply common sense to try.
Now, that’s Powerful!


Want to use this article? You can. Simply use the article in its entirety, leave all links intact and include the following info about the author. Thank you!

About the Author:  Sue Urda is an Author, Speaker, Inspirer and Co-Founder of Powerful You! Women’s Network, She was named twice on Inc. Magazines list of the 500 Fastest-Growing Private Companies and is the author of two books, Powerful Intentions Everyday Gratitude and Empowering Transformations for Women. Sue’s vision is to contribute to a global consciousness of women helping women succeed in business and in life and to open them to truth of who they are.

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  1. Marcia Ann Calantonio

    It is an art to become the Silent Observer and see things for the first time!

    Imagine if we had no basis to decide if things made sense; we just watched and witnessed. I wonder if we would think it were out of place to get bumped 3 times while making our coffee just right, or whether there was method at all.

    I have reminded myself to look at my life from that perspective, as well as a motion picture director ~ me filming my life. When you look at that distance, it’s easy to want to yell, “ACTION!”or “CUT!”

    Perspective is so crucial if we are to change our mindsets in 2012. I love having an accountability partner, mastermind group, and coaches and clients. All of these create opportunity for unique perspectives that have allowed me to see the how awesome I am, where my strengths lie, and where my weaknesses are so I can leave them alone and have others help me with some things!

    Thank you, Sue, for this peek into common sense. I think I have a lot of common sense, but maybe I don’t! I can no longer be objective 😉


  2. Ginn\

    Love your article Sue! Makes so much sense!!! Lots to think about and act upon. Wow!
    Thank you!!!

  3. Sue Urda

    Ahhh yes, perspective is such an individual thing and one we can’t help but have. Objectivity is most elusive and even as we try to hold it in our grasp our thinking minds jump in to put our own unique twist on things. I, like you, know there is a divine plan for everything. It is making our way in this world with our fellow travelers that makes it all so interesting and a study in all things ‘people’ that could have us writing, thinking and ‘feeling our way through’ for hours on end.

    Thanks for sharing your unique perspective sweet Marci!

  4. Sue Urda

    You are so sweet… I know your mind is amazing and I miss talking with you about ‘life’!

  5. Eileen Strong

    Sue, great article….as always! I have a magnet on my refrigerator that says…”Why is it called Common Sense, when it is so RARE?”

    I have found that to be true over the years, and have found that the wisdom of my years has been the best asset of all!

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