Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Common sense – Is it really common?

A few years ago I met a CIO of a large manufacturing company in US who had outsourced work of application development to a company in India. When releases were made, he would discover that there were errors in “apparently simple things”. In the course of conversation he said “these errors should not be there, all this required was application of common sense and not great software knowledge – wonder why people don’t have them?”- I am sure that you must encountered many situations like these too.

Let us think now… what is common sense? We say it is “common sense” when we feel that that knowledge is supposedly self-evident; knowledge that does seem to require special training/coaching, knowledge that is expected to be known by all.

When does anything become self-evident? When does it become common knowledge? Only when it is applied many times, mistakes made, reasons understood, solutions implemented and learning gained. When it happens multiple times, we become very aware of the problem, have done deep analysis, and applied the solution so many times that we know it “by heart”. That is when it becomes common sense!

So common sense is not something superficial, but really deep knowledge. So only when the knowledge gained is deep enough, does it become “common sense”. When knowledge is imbibed well that it seems to present in the whole body that it radiates from the fingers, it is called common sense. Understand that common sense cannot be common, in the sense that we understand it. That everybody should know it. It is really deep knowledge and reflects the highest maturity.

So the next time you say “this requires common sense” – think!

Have a good day!
T Ashok

1 comment:

Kaushik said...

Common Sense & Logic are two very underrated disciplines. I think, in the olden days, a lot of importance was given to them - it was called Tharka Shastra. A lot of today's problems could be easily overcome if people could apply a bit more logic and common sense. Unfortunately, these two essential subjects are grossly absent even in many MS's and PhD's of today.