10 Sure Ways to Lose Your Common Sense
By Susan Dunn
As someone said, there's nothing common about common sense. Roughly equivalent to Emotional Intelligence. Whether or not we're all born with it and then lose it, or aren't born with it and have to acquire it, it's not something you can get from book learning. You have to expose yourself to new ideas, new people and situations, and have the set of competencies which allows you to react effectively with reality.
Here are ten sure ways to lose it:
1. Lose the common touch.
Have more money than common sense (or taste). Use your money to buy your way out of problems and to avoid those nasty mutual obligations and responsibilities that come with real relationships. Quit asking your friends over to help you paint your house - pay a painter. Quit going over there to help them paint theirs - just send a check. You can do that for war relief, poverty, homelessness and anything else that "bothers" you!
(P.S. Don't take your friends out on your boat, either; there are possible liabilities involved.)
In the workplace, maintain a strict line between salaried and non-salaried personnel. Don't interact with those "above" or "below" you to find out what they know you don't know.
2. Don't get your hands dirty.
Children, dogs, your lawn or garden, real cooking and baking, your house, even your spouse ... it can all get pretty messy. No need to "touch" things you don't need to. Get in your ivory tower and stay there. Deal with it idealistically and theoretically. Read about it. Assign it to others. Don't test your thoughts and feelings against new realities.
3. Use your power to isolate yourself.
Intimidate others so they no longer speak the truth to you or around you. Consensual validation is part of reality-testing. Lose the "consensus" and you lose reality. If you work it right, you can arrange to hear only what you want to hear and already believe to be true.
4. Establish artificial connections; it's much safer.
Pay a 3rd party (like a collusionary therapist or social worker) to listen to you talk about your work and relationship problems instead of talking with the real people involved and yanking and pulling in the warp and woof of actual living. Paint it all through your eyes only. Clergy, doctors and coaches could also be used; anyone who will encourage you to keep thinking and keep getting "insights, " but not change, take action, and try something new. Just be sure you don't make any changes or take any action. Contemplation is one thing. Taking action involves risk, involves changing. Whoa!
5. Ignore physiological symptoms and signals.
Just because you've had chronic diarrhea since you started that job doesn't mean it has anything to do with that job. (Stay in your left brain, please!! There's no "proof".) If it meant your job was making you sick, well, that would mean you're a wuss, so avoid connecting up with your feelings. Remain strong! Appearances count, you know.
I'm thinking of my client who was literally paralyzed in his life. With a failed marriage and a failing business, he was ruminating about the people and the systems that had caused this, refusing to take any action.
Not surprisingly, his arthritis was getting worse every day. When I suggested there might be a connection - that if he would move, he would move, - he replied that he had arthritis because he had inherited it from his mother.
This is true, of course, but as Jung said, our symptoms manifest through our weak points. At any rate, he was "right" and wouldn't be argued with. Despite the fact that it's known in the medical field, which was the expert source he relied on, that if you have arthiritis, you must keep moving, and this applies to the life of the spirit as well.
6. Apply Prozac liberally.
Why experience those negative emotions that are so disturbing? Medicate them! Options include, but are not limited to: prescription drugs, illegal drugs, nutriceuticals, alcohol, a cult, and obsessive exercising, gambling, or shopping.
7. Quit thinking for yourself.
Advice is plentiful; just ask someone else what to do. Why struggle? Pay them for their opinion if necessary, but avoid the hard work and introspection of developing your own wisdom. For extra credit, keep "thinking" and "feeling" totally separate. Compartmentalize everything you can. Bonus points: If something goes wrong, you can blame someone else!
8. Take no risks.
If you take a risk you might fall flat on your face. It's much safer to maintain the status quo. Just remember Number 5.
9. Stick with what you know.
Stay where you are. Make sure everyone you interact with feels and thinks the same way you do about things. You've already made up your mind, so why confuse yourself with new data, or, worse, stirring feelings? Don't rock the boat.
10. Starve your brain
Avoid new playmates and new toys. Why learn something outside your field when you're 40 ... 50 .. 60. Accept that you can't teach old dogs new tricks and that you're an old dog. Ignore the people around you such as my mid life clients (55 and above) who are getting their navigation license, learning to ride motorcycles and get savvy on the internet, mastering new languages, traveling extensively, changing career fields and forming the new brain connections we can acquire throughout our lifetimes that contribute to wellness and resilience.
WISHING YOU HEALTH & HAPPINESS. MAJOR (R) KHALID NASR