Serving Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Holmby, Century City, Trousdale, Brentwood, Westwood

Conquering Stress With Dr. Arlene—No Common Sense Causes Stress

 Posted: Friday, July 14, 2017 – 12:22 PM 

Dr. Arlene Barro

We are not born with common sense. If you believe that all common-sense decisions are easy to make, you are making an erroneous assumption. Common-sense decisions may look like they are automatic responses. They are not. Some, not all, are learned behaviors. We start making common-sense decisions as children primarily focused on keeping ourselves safe. That is what our parents teach us how to do.

Making common-sense decisions

It is easy to become annoyed and experience stress, when we believe that someone is not using common sense. That person failed to meet our expectations. Are our expectation realistic?

Common-sense decisions are not made using a cookie cutter. We must use a hierarchy of intellectual abilities. Visualize a high step ladder. To make a simple common-sense decision, you only need to climb a step or two. For example, when we expect rain we carry an umbrella. To make a complex common-sense decision, we may need to climb to the top of the ladder to use all our intellectual skills.

One could argue that all common-sense decisions must be made using our lower level intellectual abilities. I disagree. To climb to the top of the intellectual ladder, you must use all your intellectual abilities including synthesis, analysis, and evaluation which enables us to make judgements. That means we can incorporate common sense in all our decisions from the lowest to the highest. Should we? Absolutely. Common sense is a component of wisdom. The wise person has common sense. Everyone is not wise.

To reduce your stress, determine whether you are expecting a simple common sense decision i.e. “remember the umbrella” or are you expecting wisdom or something in between both. Do not expect that which a person cannot deliver.

Here is my favorite example of a complex decision in which common sense could be incorporated. Some executives move from Los Angeles to New York City for high-level positions and move back again. Why? They hate the weather, the traffic and the lifestyle. The spouses and the children are miserable. You would not believe how many phone calls I receive about wrong career moves throughout the country. They move first and then call me. Consulting with me before moving, would have been wise. Remember this moving story when feeling stressed. It makes me laugh. I hope it will make you laugh, too.

Picking Right Fits

Even simple common sense is not used by everyone. Making a complex decision using common sense such as selecting Right Fit positions or spouses for many is difficult. Using my Right Fit Method is an effective solution. If your reduce the risk of picking wrong fits you will alleviate stress. To select a Right Fit, never compare and contrast options. If all the options are wrong and you pick one, you will select a wrong fit. Instead, create a blueprint of the Right Fit which specifies in writing the standards and criteria for which you are searching. Be sure to weigh the importance of each component. The total should equal 100 percent. Then search for that which matches your blueprint. As long as your blueprint represents what you really want and you do not settle for the wrong fit, you should be successful in your search. However if, the Right Fit does not exist, re-write your blueprint.

Learning Common Sense

No common sense is common because many people are not present. They withdraw from their environment. They may experience stress because they miss warning signs of upcoming changes. For example, company mergers leading to downsizing. For those who are unaware, downsizing is unexpected resulting in stress.

Interested in learning common sense? Live in the present and observe what is happening around you and beyond.

Upcoming seminar:

“Conquering Stress With Dr. Arlene Ignites Success,” on July 18 or Aug. 22. See more on the Conquering Stress page at

Questions? Email Responses could appear in her next column.

Dr. Arlene Barro, the creator of the Right Fit Method, is a UCLA-trained behavioral educational psychologist and professional speaker. She is the author of WIN Without Competing!, a business, career, and personal strategist and founder/CEO of barro global search, inc. on 10940 Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood. Episodes of her radio show are available at


One response to “Conquering Stress With Dr. Arlene—No Common Sense Causes Stress”

  1. William San Nicolas says:

    I found this article to be incredibly insightful. I enjoyed Doctor Arlene’s discussion regarding the distinction between levels of “common sense”. By breaking it into high and low sense she effectively points out why we find ourselves disappointed by people who neglect things that come second nature to us, a call for empathy and constructive criticism if you will. I found this writing constructive and positive, two things in short supply these days. You will not be disappointed reading further into her work it is equally fantastic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for Breaking News & Alerts