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“Common sense is seeing things as they are; and doing things as they ought to be.”
~ Harriet Beecher Stowe
Voltaire said that “common sense is not so common.” Most people would probably tend to agree, as foolishness is certainly rampant. Although it should be core curriculum, they just don’t teach common sense in school. You can only get so far in life by memorizing a bunch of facts. To be truly successful, you’ve got to have good sense.
So where does one get good sense? Is it something that a lucky few are born with? Luckily, no. Good sense is one hundred percent learned behavior, equally accessible to anyone who wants it. All you have to do is observe what works and what doesn’t work for others.
I’ve spent years doing the hard work for you already and I’ve observed twelve traits common among people with good sense:
1. They keep their promises.
People with good sense aren’t flakes. They do what they say and by maintaining their integrity, they build trusting relationships. People with good sense are people you can count on.
2. They set boundaries and know when to say no.
Boundaries create balanced lives and people with good sense understand this. They know what they can handle and which behaviors are unacceptable in other people and are able to confidently and clearly state their limits.
3. They control their own money.
I’ve seen many a life-ruining disaster caused when individuals give up control of their finances to someone else. People with good sense make their own decisions about spending and investing. They know how much money they have and where it’s going at all times.
4. They don’t have children they can’t take care of with unfit partners.
This may well be the most important lesson. Take it to heart. Having a child that one is not psychologically, financially or physically prepared for is probably the worst mistake anyone can make. Having a child with a partner who is equally unprepared to parent or who isn’t interested in parenting will not end well for anyone involved, especially the child. Good sense means planning and preparing for parenthood.
5. They don’t poison their bodies.
Common sense would tell you that smoking, eating junk food, getting high or binge drinking are stupid things to do, yet so many people ignore this logic and over-indulge. People with good sense seek healthier alternatives and honor their bodies.
6. They know that it’s okay to change one’s mind.
Politicians have tricked us into thinking that being a “flip-flopper” is a bad thing. Wrong. Stubbornness and close-mindedness aren’t virtues. People with good sense are able to objectively assess situations and see different viewpoints, giving themselves the freedom to change their opinions when they have more information. That’s called learning and having humility.
7. They can delay gratification.
The most successful among us, by any definition of the word, are those who can make sacrifices in the present in order to obtain future rewards. Also known as will-power.
8. They don’t buy things with money they don’t have.
Follow this wisdom and you’ll save yourself a world of trouble and stay out of debt. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Period.
9. They have goals and plan for the future, yet remain flexible too. People with good sense look forward to their futures. They have a plan but they understand that being rigid isn’t useful. Unexpected opportunities can always arise as can sudden setbacks and it’s important to accept change and go with the flow as one works towards his or her goal.
10. They don’t build relationships to “network” or because a friendship benefits them in some way.
They make friends because they appreciate genuine, meaningful human interaction. There are no real rewards to kissing butt, but the benefits of true friendships are endless.
11. They spot red flags and move on without making excuses for people.
Another biggie right here, people. Making excuses for other peoples’ bad, toxic, stupid or otherwise unacceptable behavior isn’t the same thing as being kind, tolerant, forgiving or nonjudgmental. It’s just dumb and it will get you into a world of trouble. When people show their true colors, forgive them in your heart, but run as fast as you can away from them. People with good sense don’t waste time on dysfunction. They surround themselves instead with nurturing relationships.
12. They are committed and focused.
Most successes can be attributed to showing up and sticking around. People with good sense are in it for the long haul and they aren’t fickle. They don’t give up at the first signs of discomfort and they know that sometimes, to solve a problem, gain a new skill or master a discipline that you just need more time. They complete projects instead of abandoning them and they don’t continually stop what they’re working on to start something new. They’re loyal to their passions.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise