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Monday, July 16, 2012

The Age of Common Sense



In the Information Age we are in dramatic need of some intelligence to it all. Information is everywhere, but where is the common sense?
iStockPhoto - used with permission

Does all the stuff make sense?

In the 1990's we all hit WalMart and the mall with our credit cards and started organizing our stuff only to realize that we didn't need all that stuff. Our closets were overflowing, our waistlines were growing, and our debt was showing. More didn't improve our lives and we should have known better, but we didn't.

When the Internet came along we started shopping online, racking up more debt all the time and losing ourselves in the wonder of the new library of Alexandria for hours at time.

Then, we connected with friends and thought that more was more again and the more friends we had  online somehow the more legacy we had. The more we shared, the less privacy we had. We were "liked" for goodness sakes, didn't that count for something?

Now, we can connect via our cell phones and smart phones. Every second we can be in touch with who had a baby, who got a promotion and who is on vacation. But more isn't more. More connections mean less time, less flow state, and less focus.

We can stream, find, connect, and remind ourselves 24/7 to do more and be more. But 1000 apps reminding me to do 10 things is just keeping me from doing those things I need to do.

When Kip turns me loose to blog, he says "do your stuff" and that is often what it is -- stuff. Not one specific thing but a thousand tiny things.

Making sense

My youngest son and I went rafting a few weeks a go.
Life is beautiful, fun, and a blast but those moments are often best when I get offline, away from all of this and make sense of things. 

Marketers have gotten so incredibly good at targeting me that my inbox is full, customized ads show up on the side of every website, and hyped up product launches make me think I have to have that or this new apps. My kids buy music and tune out or get psyched for something big while I buy an app so I can squeeze one more ounce of something out of this life I'm trying to live.

So many people blame everyone else. In the US we have 2 political parties sworn to fight to the death but if they don't back off and start to work together, they'll find they didn't kill each other but rather, the nation they supposedly love. The truth is power is what people love and importance and being "followed" and "liked" and whatever narcissitic mess someone else can invent in order to make us feel important and like our life of more is not really worth less.

Wisdom doesn't guarantee you popularity, just legacy. We need more wisdom and a good old healthy dose of Grandma's common sense.

The Age of Common Sense would be a blessing

Common sense. Good, plain old common sense. We've had the Industrial Age and the Information Age. We can often be defined by the age in which we live. 
via fanpop

All the stuff sprayed on my hair didn't make me prettier in the 80's,


closet
the stuff in my closet didn't make me happier in the 90's,
nor did all the bookmarks in the 00's,
nor did all the friends in the 10's,
nor do all the connections nor the fact that I can tweet from the bathroom just before I hop in tub.

What has made me happier is getting offline for longer periods of time, looking people in the eye, spending my mornings on my knees asking God what I should do with my day, and applying common sense before I buy another app, before I go shopping or before I spend a dime or my precious time on anything.

If I could name an age and wish it upon us, it would be the age of Common Sense. The whole world is being seen in "shades of grey" - and this attitude of "what is right for you may not be right for me" is crazy -- murder is wrong and so is lying and stealing.

Freedom has always come at a price and every human being on this planet deserves respect as a human being but not necessarily the right to be heard. Some people are crazy and others are crooked and their ideas and ideals don't belong alongside great men and women of history. 

As I am inundated and my inbox is full, I'm feeling completely and utterly rebellious. I think common sense has gone out the window but I'm not just going to whine about it. So, I'm proclaiming my own age of common sense including:
  • Time with family, in nature, exercising, reading, and talking to people are just as important as online time. 
  • I will not elevate a person who is not there over a person who is right there. I will pay attention to people. People are important. I will be PRESENT.
  • I'm just not going to get hyper over anything NEW because it is new. I'm not a fangirl who worships any person or gadget or app, that is ridiculous.
  • I will look for people who are up front about who they are, their motivations and even their beliefs. We've been in a time of "abstaining" - no one wants to tell anyone what they believe because we're to the point that some people think "if you're not like me, I'm not going to follow you." I will look for honest, truthful people and work hard to be one myself. I will keep following people who are different from me, that is OK.
  • I will be minimalistic in the apps, alerts, and streams I allow into my life but intentional about participating where I want to be. If I can't use my iPad because I'm being alerted that Talking Tom needs to be "fed" then that is over the top.
  • I'm a human being not a human doing. Being is as important as doing and vital to my own sanity.
  • I'm going to go with the research that the fountain of youth is exercize. Mrs. Grace Adkins who is 80+ now rides her bike for an hour 6 days a week. She's de-aged 15 years, has lost 20 pounds, and still comes to work 5 days a week. She feels better than most 50 year olds I know. I'm going to work out an hour a day 6 days a week, no matter what. Tweeting another tweet and blogging another blog isn't going to make me live longer, exercise can.
  • I want to find people who have common sense and wisdom but also let them be human's who mess up. I'm not going to run away from a person because they screw up once. This "disposable people" society is ridiculous where people mess up and can never be forgiven. I guess it makes people feel better than a great person who messes up but part of my faith is the belief that I can be forgiven and have the ability to start over at any moment in my life.
  • My followers, friends, and those I follow are a cool, fun, powerful way to interact but I will not give them more importance than my husband or children. 
  • Helping others live their dreams by being helpful and shining the spotlight on greatness wherever it is, is a lasting legacy.
  • A cell phone in my hand does not excuse rudeness. I will not stand up in front of people who are there in order to capture a moment for those who aren't. Manners start with me.
  • Complaining about everybody else is a sorry way to live life and will make me bitter and worthless. I will be the kind of person I think this world needs and ask God to give me wisdom to do that.
What would you add to the age of common sense? I wish we could start using more of it.

Some would say ziplining isn't good common sense. But that is not what I'm talking about in this post. Common sense is that I left my iPhone behind and enjoyed every "wahoo" and "wow" on this trip. Common sense is taking time to go to the mountains with your family even if it means you lose a little privacy. Common sense is living your life offline as well as online and encouraging others to do the same. For life to be sweet, it takes more than a tweet. Get out there and live it!

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