The Common Sense Blog

22
Jul

Overcoming the Tyranny of Choice

We’ve all become spoiled by the number of choices we have. Supermarkets offer more than 60,000 consumer goods in all sizes and shapes. Searching on-line generates thousands of links for even the most obscure topic or item. Artificial intelligence anticipates the words we want to use in a text, the products we want to buy and provides instant directions if

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9
Jul

Are You Satisficing When You Shouldn’t?

Wouldn’t it be nice if all the decisions we need to make could be resolved by selecting an option from a menu? It seems like all of those offering us digital products and services want us to do so. “You don’t need to think anymore,” they say. “Just choose from our menus and we’ll do the rest.” Of course, life

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18
Jun

Do You Squander Your Time in Traffic?

I was driving to a meeting and a young man in a beat-up Honda Accord had spent the last three miles trying to get around me and the other motorists. Every time he got a few cars ahead, he was thwarted by the flow of traffic or stoplight timing. I would pull up right behind him, pull a few cars

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14
Jun

What Achievers Do to Improve Their Listening

Franklin Roosevelt became convinced that people were so excited to meet him in person that they didn’t pay attention to what he actually said. So, he tried an experiment. As he greeted people during a White House reception, he smiled and told each of them quietly, “I murdered my grandmother yesterday afternoon.” As he suspected, everyone in line responded with

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4
Jun

Is Your Impulse Control Better than Sophie’s?

This is Sophie, our Wheaten Terrier. She had leg surgery two months ago. She has been wearing this “cone of shame” to prevent her from licking the wound. Again, that was TWO months ago! Every time we take it off, she immediately starts licking the wound. We’ve wrapped it. We applied a sour apple ointment. We’ve even applied a product

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29
May

How to Remember Fantastic Shower Ideas

If you’re like me, you’ve had fantastic ideas in the shower. But when you’ve tried to recall them while drying off, they’re nowhere to be found in your memory. So why is this? Simple. When the brain introduces a bright idea or insight, it does so into your short-term, or working, memory. Unfortunately, thoughts in short-term memory only last three

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21
May

“Getting to Yes” Decisions

Thirty years ago, Roger Fisher and William Ury published their bestselling negotiating book, Getting to Yes. One of the key strategies they espoused was to resolve the easiest issues first and work toward the more difficult ones. By the time you reach the most critical issue, they argued, you will already have momentum by coming to agreement on the smaller

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13
May

Are You a Flat Rabbit?

My friend Jay, was watching his grandson, Jake, vacillate over decision. After a minute or so, Jake’s mother, Tina, said “don’t be a flat rabbit.” When Jay asked about the origin of the phrase, Tina explained that rabbits start to cross the road, hesitate and then run back to where they started, just in time to be run over a

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9
May

If the System is Too Complicated – Good Decision Makers Lie

I have two friends, Joe and Judy. Joe has been having trouble with his dentures. Since he can’t wear them, it’s difficult to understand what he is saying. The other day, Judy was trying to help Joe make an adjustment to one of his financial accounts. She called the bank’s support line. She explained who she was and that she

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30
Apr

Decision Making is Not About Age

I’ve always been careful about labeling those in the youngest generation as lacking common sense. Two separate incidents in the past week illustrate that how well a person makes decisions is not based on age but experience, maturity and the influence of others. Example number one: I received an e-mail from a utility supervisor in snowy North Dakota.  It read:

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