“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Yeah, but this “man” we are talking about needs to actually want to learn how to fish, or acknowledge that fishing is even a skill that can be developed. Or know what fishing is!
As we live this life we learn the term Common Sense. We hear it a lot. We are told to “Use common sense,” or hear that certain scenarios are “Just common sense.” But then as we live life we quickly realize that “Common Sense” is actually a façade.
I have vivid memories of being in high school and feeling irritated by how little common sense was held by the 14-18 year olds. It drove me crazy. Sure we were a bunch of adolescents in a giant building together. Yes we were all trying to figure ourselves out. And of course there were times that I chose to ignore common sense. But I still knew it was there and I weighed the possible consequences. But if something would have been deemed “common sense” I was most likely on board.
As I entered college I was so happy to be in a different world where people would have their stuff together. Day one of my college freshman year my eyes were opened. “Oh crap… these people used to be in high school.”
The following is a real example from a class I attended that had people from all levels of academia in attendance. We finished a test which was collected and then re-passed out to be graded among the students. It was a multiple choice exam.
**MULTIPLE CHOICE. This should be the easiest thing to decide right from wrong ever. If you were able to get yourself to this class, you should be able to grade this test.**
The teacher begins reading the answers, “Number 1, the answer is A. Number 2, B.” A student raises his hand and interrupts the teacher. “What if they put C?” It took everything I had not to scream at the classmate, “THEN IT IS WRONG!!!!” (I can kind of feel the anger right now. It was just so damn irritating.)
The most replicated piece of knowledge I gained in my educational experience was that common sense is NOT common. I even stated it as a top characteristic that I possess during an interview to land my first “real job” out of college as a counselor in Juvenile Justice Services. And guess what… in that environment it still was not so common. (But the percentages were much higher.)
The lack of commonality in something that should be much more prevalent has driven me crazy for most of my life. I lost the anger around it at about 23 years old, but it is still super annoying.
Oh…Okay… common sense and problem solving are skills. Hmmm… No need to be upset about it. I guess I should thank my parents and life experiences for teaching me the art that is known as Common Sense and its big brother Problem Solving. So here it is, “THANK YOU!”
I came to a point that I realized how the lack of problem solving skills in the population is affecting this world in a negative way. People blindly follow because they do not know how to make decisions. Many go immediately to others to have a problem solved without taking a single step in the direction of being self-sufficient.
I have to give one more example of the ridiculousness that encompasses the lack of problem solving and common sense. I was a landlord for a few years. (Anyone who has been one would have a million stories on this topic.) I had a tenant who was attending a graduate program at the local university. She gave me a call with a few concerns of items in need of repair. Not a problem. She stated that the garage light no longer worked, one of the oven burners was not heating, and there was a weird black mark on the bathtub she did not know what to do about. I have the most amazing friends that ever lived, and so I asked one such lovely (who is great at making stuff happen) to check it out for me. Here was the resolution:
The garage light did not work because the light bulb needed to be replaced.
The stove burner is electric and just had to be pushed into its socket more securely.
That weird mark in the bath tub wiped off with one swipe of my friend’s hand… she didn't even use cleaner.
I only have one word. “Wow.”
It was shortly after that incident that I began actively thinking about ways I could help this world with the lack of problem solving skills the general public seems to lack.
I do not know how to fish. I buy my fish from Trader Joe’s or the Fish Market. What I do do (haha do do) is problem solve like a boss. I am an expert in asking the right questions, listening to what is being told to me, organizing information, guiding, helping, supporting, and leading people to crack the code of their own life. I teach others how to think for themselves from their experience. I hold the light until they can illuminate for themselves and become the decision maker of their own existence!