In his book Where Have All the Leaders Gone? Lee Iacocca makes a great point about one of my favorite topics: Common Sense. He says he learned it from one of his first bosses and mentors, a guy by the name of Charlie Beacham. Mr. Iacocca describes Charlie Beacham as a “Southerner with a warm drawl, a huge smile and a core of steel.” I don’t have a drawl, but I would be happy to be known as some with a huge smile and a core of steel. Here is the advice Lee Iacocca got from Charlie Beacham…
The only thing you’ve got going for you as a human being is your ability to reason and your common sense. If you don’t know a dip of horse manure from a dip of vanilla ice cream, you’ll never make it.
I love this advice. It really resonates with me. As you know, I am not only a career success coach, I am The Common Sense Guy.
We are all born with five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. These senses help us navigate our way through the world. They bring us delight in small things: the turning of the leaves in autumn, an Eric Clapton guitar lick – or depending on your taste, a Yitzhak Perlman violin piece, the warmth of the sun on your face on the first day of spring, your favorite birthday dinner that your mom always made, the smell of warm bread baking. They also warn us when danger threatens: lightning in the sky, a police or fire siren, a hot barbeque grill, food that is spoiled and not safe to eat, the odor that is added to natural gas.
However, I believe that we all have a sixth, and underused sense, our common sense. Your common sense will help you make the right decision in ambiguous situations – but only if you use it. When I tell people that I’m the Common Sense Guy, people often come back with the old saying, “Common sense isn’t all that common.” I disagree. I think that we all have innate common sense. It’s a natural gift, just like our five other senses. We don’t always use it though.
Noetics is emerging science. The word “noetic” comes from the ancient Greek nous. It refers to ‘inner knowing,’ a kind of intuitive knowledge beyond what is available to our normal senses. Noetics is the exploration of the nature and potentials of consciousness using multiple ways of knowing — including intuition, feeling, reason, and the senses. Common sense is a type of noetics. It is an inner knowing of what to do in any given situation.
Thomas Edison once said “Many people miss opportunity because it comes dressed up in overalls and looks like work.” I believe that most people know what to do in most situations, their common sense tells them. However, many people often don’t do what their common sense says for a number of reasons, most of them bad… “it’s too difficult and not worth the effort,” “it takes too much time,” “so and so might get upset with me,” “I don’t know if I can do it.”
It seems as if there are as many reasons for not using your common sense as there are people in the world. That’s why it seems that so many people can’t tell “a dip of horse manure from a dip of vanilla ice cream.”
Common sense can help you simplify the complex. Most people find the topic of career success to be incredibly complex. Where do I start? What should I do? How do I find a good job? How can I position myself for a promotion? How can I avoid getting laid off?
As a career success coach, I help people find the answers to these questions every day. I created my Career Success GPS System to help other people who I don’t coach.
As a career success coach, I always tell my clients that if they want to become a career success they need to take four common sense actions:
- Clarify your purpose and direction in your life.
- Commit to taking personal responsibility for your success.
- Build unshakeable self confidence.
- Get competent in four areas: creating positive personal impact, outstanding performance, communication skills and relationship building.
I have put together a 90 minute DVD explaining these four actions and my Career Success GPS System. You can get a free digital copy of it by going to www.CareerSuccessDVD.com.
But remember, all of these actions take work. I occasionally run into people who tell me that they involve too much work. These people want shortcuts to career success. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to career success. Common sense says that you have to work at it. As one of my first mentors told me, “The dictionary is the only place success comes before work.”
The common sense point here is simple. In addition to our five senses of touch, taste, sight, sound and smell, we have a sixth sense – common sense. Common sense works; but only if you use it. It can help you simplify the complex and make good decisions. Charlie Beacham, one of Lee Iacocca’s first mentors told him, “The only thing you’ve got going for you as a human being is your ability to reason and your common sense. If you don’t know a dip of horse manure from a dip of vanilla ice cream, you’ll never make it.” That’s pretty colorful language, but it’s true. Use your sixth sense; your common sense. Do what it tells you – even if it means work. Applying your common sense is a great way to create the career success you want and deserve.
That’s my take on the difference between a dip of horse manure and a dip of vanilla ice cream. What’s yours? Please take a minute to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us. Better yet, please share the best common sense advice you’ve ever received. As always, thanks for reading.