Common Sense Isn’t

In my capacity as a police officer, I see the outcome of some pretty, oh, let’s just say questionable decisions.

Common SenseThere was the time I stopped a nanny (with her charges in tow, mind you) at two in the afternoon for entering the off-ramp to the freeway. While she was drunk and doped out of her mind on pills.

There was the time the grieving son pulled a gun out from under a couch cushion (with four cops on the other side of the room) a few feet away from where his father had just died because he didn’t want anyone to “mess with it”.

And there’s always the guy that decides it would be beneficial if he tried to fight the Poe-leece. (It never is, by the way).

Odds are you don’t fall into these stellar examples of a lack of common sense because you are infinitely smarter than some of the folks I’ve dealt with as a cop.

What started me on a common sense jag?

In the beginning of the 25th Anniversary Edition of  Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People there is a section titled “A Covey Family Tribute to a Highly Effective Father” (Covey passed away in 2012). I knew this book would be amazing when I was finding gems in the book before even hitting chapter one. What I found was this:

[Tweet “Common sense isn’t always common practice.”]

So. Very. True.

One of the consequences of police work is we tend to believe the negative about most things/most people.  Our clientele is either trying to stay out of jail, lying, or up to some other equally nefarious activity.

One of the things I’ve always appreciated about Dave Ramsey is his straight-shooting style.  He is fond of saying the advice he gives is “God’s and Gramma’s way of handling money” and “common sense for your dollars and cents.”

I’ll admit it’s clever.

But if it’s so common, then why would I bother patronizing a business when I can just figure it out on my own?

Common sense and common place, insofar as finances are concerned are one another’s antithesis in our culture today.  If you aren’t using a credit card, you are irresponsible!  Think of all the free stuff you can get!  Airline miles should be a currency in today’s economy for all the accolades they get!

Debt has become a way of life in just two or three short generations.  Living beyond one’s means is the new American Dream Nightmare.

These things aren’t common sense. They are common place.

I don’t want you to be common place.

Do you look at your children and say, “Sweetie, I just want you to be common place.”?

Of course not!  You want them to stand out, to stand up, to fight for what they believe.  You want them to excel at wherever their particular adventure takes them.

Don’t relegate yourselves to a fate you don’t want your kids to follow.  Because they are watching.  They are listening. They are walking in your footsteps.

Don’t mistake common sense with conventional wisdom.  Conventional wisdom is much more akin to common place with regard to your finances.

Be weird.  Have a plan.  Be an example to your children, your family, your friends.

Have common sense…but don’t be common place.

Question: Do you want to move from common place to common sense? What is one way you can begin to do that today? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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