Why Common Sense Is Often Overlooked but Essential in Freelancing



Have you ever wondered why some freelancers handle projects like pros while others fumble? You’d think it’s all technical skill, but often, it’s just common sense. This idea hit me during a chat with a fellow freelancer. He was puzzled by the lack of common sense he saw in new freelancers—evident from the questions they posted on Facebook groups.

Why does this matter? Because common sense is more uncommon than you’d think, but it’s a cornerstone for freelancing success. This blog won’t just be me talking; we’ll include thoughts from Jamie, JC, Nilan, and Jay. So, stick around, and let’s crack the code on why common sense is your freelancing superpower!

Audience Insights: What Do People Think?

I threw a question on Facebook to spice things up and bring more viewpoints into the mix. I was curious to hear from my friends and former colleagues, who bring various experiences. So, what did they have to say?

  • Jamie’s Perspective: Jamie leans toward the idea that teaching common sense is difficult. Her verdict? “You can try, but it’s difficult, especially if you’re already working.” Her analogy is telling; it’s like teaching old dogs new tricks, particularly challenging if common sense is that “new trick.”
  • JC’s Angle: Enter JC, who counters with an optimistic take. He believes, “Common sense can be taught.” His reasoning? A blend of culture, norms, personal experiences, specialized knowledge, beliefs, and values. Collect these experiences; you can turn common sense into a skill.
  • Jay’s Insights: Jay presents common sense as a form of practical judgment. In his view, it’s something you grow into through life experiences rather than a classroom. He observes, “It takes time, awareness, and wise decisions. Input from those who’ve been around the block helps, too.
  • Nillan Weighs In: Rounding out our quartet is Nillan. He contributes a nuanced opinion: “Life is the ultimate teacher for gaining common sense. Yes, the environment may influence you, but you still have free will to make your own choices.

These invaluable inputs shed light on different facets of common sense in the freelancing world. Whether you think it can be taught or comes with life’s bumps and bruises, one thing is clear: common sense is more intricate than it appears at first glance. 

The Complex Nature of Common Sense 

Common sense. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But don’t let the name fool you. Let’s delve deeper into this perplexing quality and why it’s a big deal.

Definition: Unraveling the Mystery

Common sense isn’t some one-size-fits-all attribute. Science doesn’t have a concrete definition for it. Some researchers tried to pin it on cognitive skills like logic, reasoning, and judgment. Others argue it’s a mixed bag of abilities all working in concert. What we do know is that it involves several cognitive elements:

  • Logic: Clear and rational thought.
  • Reasoning: Drawing conclusions based on evidence.
  • Judgment: Making decisions with the info at hand.
  • Problem-Solving: Finding solutions to obstacles.
  • Critical Thinking: Evaluating info and arguments.
  • Insight: Seeing the big picture.

Conversely, psychology views it as practical intelligence driven by experience, knowledge, and logic. In short, common sense isn’t as simple as we all think. 

Subjectivity: Personal Flavors of Common Sense

Just like a snowflake, everyone’s common sense is unique. It’s flavored by your life experiences, cultural norms, and personal beliefs. Our friendly Facebook discussions reflected this beautifully. Jamie thinks it’s near impossible to teach, JC begs to differ, Jay credits life experience, and Nillan insists it’s a lifelong lesson. Your blend of common sense is a cocktail of experiences, logic, and sometimes even gut feelings.

What About the Angry Parent or Spouse?

If you ask a frustrated parent or spouse, common sense might simply be “the ability to do things that don’t make me want to scream at you!” A bit of humor there, but it serves a point. Your common sense may not always align with others, and that’s okay.

The “Switch” Factor: Can You Turn Off Common Sense?

Intriguingly, common sense isn’t always a constant factor—you can seemingly “switch it on and off” depending on your mood, motivations, or even the people around you. Ever found yourself deliberately ignoring what you know to be the logical choice, perhaps to make a point or to ruffle someone’s feathers? Well, you’re not alone. There are instances where highly intelligent, experienced individuals act contrary to common sense.

What’s the Catch?

Could they be doing this intentionally? It’s plausible. When someone who generally demonstrates good judgment suddenly veers off the “common sense” path, it’s worth considering their motives. They might be unmotivated, nonchalant, or trying to provoke a reaction. It’s a fascinating facet of human behavior: Common sense is not just an attribute but a choice we can exercise or ignore

The Risks of Judging Common Sense

Recognizing the subjectivity of common sense brings us to a touchy question: Is it fair to say someone “lacks common sense?” Labeling others or an entire group, like freelancers, as lacking in common sense can be precarious. Not only does it risk oversimplification, but it may also border on arrogance. After all, what might seem like “common sense” to you could be colored by your own life experiences and perspectives.

It’s More Than Uncommon, It’s Unique

Common sense is an ever-evolving, intricate attribute that deserves our respect and understanding. Whether you think it’s a skill to be learned or a quality honed through life’s hardships, it’s complex. It encompasses multiple cognitive skills, is flavored by individual experiences and cultural norms, and is still an active study and debate area. Acknowledging its subjective nature also calls for a more compassionate approach when tempted to judge others’ sense—or lack thereof. So, is common sense common? I’d say it’s not just uncommon but unique to each individual, making it all the more fascinating.

Can Common Sense Be Taught?

The prevailing opinion is that you either have common sense, or you’re just not that fortunate. Many people believe it’s an inborn trait you can’t acquire if you didn’t win the “common sense lottery” at birth.

A Different Perspective

Hold on a minute, though. Could common sense actually be taught, molded, or even refined? As per our Facebook discussion, JC JC points out that common sense varies due to influences like cultural background, personal experiences, and norms. This hints at its teachability.

Life’s Ups and Downs: The Great Teachers

Life experience, whether joyful or painful, plays a pivotal role in building common sense. You learn not just through triumphs but also through mistakes and even calamities.

  • The Burn of Curiosity: Remember being told not to touch the stove and doing it anyway? That painful memory is a tactile lesson in the importance of listening and caution.
  • The Consequences of Theft: Taking something that’s not yours and facing the repercussions teaches the essence of ownership and morality.
  • The Harsh Lesson of Scams: Getting scammed once can be enough to instill lifelong suspicion and caution when dealing with too-good-to-be-true situations.
  • The Tragedy of Loss: Losing a loved one due to something as avoidable as drunk driving is an agonizing lesson in responsibility and the value of life.

Real-life Stories that Illustrate the Point

  • From Impulsive to Reflective: Sarah learned that rushing into decisions could lead to unfortunate outcomes. She’s the epitome of someone who gained common sense through real-life experiences.
  • Learning from the Young: Mark was convinced that wisdom comes only with age until he learned about patience and judgment from his 10-year-old son.

Wrapping Up: The Teachability Factor

Is common sense teachable? While some firmly believe it’s innate, life argues that it can be acquired, cultivated, and refined. Your common sense can expand and mature through individual experiences or vicarious learning from others.

Why Do First-Time Freelancers Appear to Lack Common Sense?

Navigating the freelance world can be tricky, especially when starting. Some people often question why first-time freelancers appear to lack common sense. But let’s be honest; even seasoned freelancers have their learning curves. It took me a year and a half to land my first client because I needed time to gain the “common sense” that experienced freelancers have.

Common Scenarios

  • Falling for Scams: Newbies may get excited and comment “interested” on dubious job posts, failing to vet them first.
  • The Never-Ending Search: Despite warnings, some persistently look for gigs on Facebook groups, bypassing more credible platforms.
  • Underestimating Worth: Many undervalue their services, offering low rates that can distort the market.
  • Communication Hiccups: Fresh freelancers sometimes need more skills to effectively communicate with clients, leading to a cycle of misunderstandings.

Revisiting Our Own Beginnings and Extending Empathy

Let’s not forget we all started somewhere. There was a time when even the most seasoned freelancers made what now seem like obvious mistakes. Experience is the greatest teacher, and each mistake is a lesson in disguise.

Therefore, criticizing first-time freelancers for a lack of common sense doesn’t just seem unfair—it also overlooks our journey of hits and misses. Newcomers needn’t judgment but guidance and room to grow. With time and experience, they’ll acquire the savvy we associate with common sense.

A Guide to Cultivating Common Sense

Ever find yourself slapped with the label ‘without common sense’? First off, shake it off. Labels don’t define you. Secondly, common sense isn’t a fixed trait; it can be nurtured and developed. Here’s your practical guide to cultivating that much-talked-about common sense.

Self-awareness: The First Step to Gaining Common Sense

  • Be Honest: One key factor in developing self-awareness is honesty. Acknowledge your strong points and your weak spots.
  • Mindfulness and Reflection: Set aside time for mindfulness exercises or journaling to help focus your thoughts.
  • Take Time: Rushing self-growth will do you no favors. Pace yourself and appreciate the small wins.

Learning from Experience: Why Making Mistakes is Okay

  • Valuable Lessons: Missing your mom’s birthday teaches you the importance of calendars and reminders.
  • Own It: Admit the mistake. This makes the lesson stick.
  • Iterate: The trick is to avoid making the same mistake twice. Adapt and adjust.

Dealing with Skeptics: What to Do When People Doubt You

  • The Fuel of Doubt: Embrace the skepticism as motivation. Prove them wrong.
  • Our Philosophy: Take this to heart: "GULATIN MO ANG MGA WALANG BILIB SAYO, MAGING MAGALING KA SA MGA BAGAY NA SINASABI NILANG WALA KANG COMMON SENSE."
  • Feedback Loop: Constructive criticism helps. Let naysayers’ doubt highlight areas for your growth.
Gaining common sense isn’t an achievement you unlock and forget. It’s an ongoing process. Life is replete with learning opportunities, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned veteran. And remember, your journey towards gaining common sense is just that—yours.

Feel free to interpret, adapt, and apply these insights to navigate the meandering paths of life with a newfound sense of practical wisdom. So grab the reins of your life, make it a point to learn from each twist and turn, and never underestimate the power of resilience and growth.

Conclusion: Navigating Common Sense in Freelancing

So, what is common sense? It’s a blend of understanding, adaptability, and experience that guides you in making sound judgments. It’s a fluid skill, not a static trait—everyone has it to varying degrees, but it’s also subjective and can be improved over time.

In the realm of freelancing, your level of common sense can be your secret weapon or your downfall. Whether navigating client expectations, juggling deadlines, or making snap decisions, common sense helps you maintain a steady course. It’s not just about technical skills; it’s about having the wisdom to apply those skills in a balanced way.

To summarize, common sense isn’t just “common”—it’s vital. Especially for freelancers, it’s an integral part of your toolkit for success. As you cultivate it, you’re becoming a better freelancer and evolving as an individual. One final note: Without a decent grasp of common sense, you’re setting yourself up for a bumpy road filled with obstacles. Your path to success becomes a maze of avoidable setbacks. So keep honing that common sense; it’s more than worth the effort.

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