One of the biggest mistakes that I have made in my life is getting ahead of myself. I get impatient and want to to everything at once, and whenever I can’t do something perfect right away, I tend to give up on it, unwilling to cope with the fact that yes, I am human.
With Ego Engineering, it’s all about planning, so naturally, everything starts with the foundation. And when it comes to long-term planning (especially when it comes to life-long plans like this one!), habits are the right place to start.
But even beyond habits, there is also an even more basic place to start: the bare necessities.
Eight years ago, I thought I was perfect. But eventually my naivety wore off (like it does for all teenagers), and I came to terms with my imperfections. The account of this epic journey can be found here.
But as a result of my naivety, I ended up full of bad habits, resulting in a person who’s only merits were the knowledge that he had, and his ability to learn more.
Now that I have the opportunity to change these habits, I have to start from scratch– improving myself from the ground up. Fortunately for me, I know exactly what I need to do to succeed– I just haven’t started applying it until now, because in my naivety, I didn’t know better.
The bare necessities are the fundamentally basic habits of living– it’s what people refer to as “common sense”. A lot of people thought that I don’t have any common sense– so many people in fact that I convinced myself that they were right– that I didn’t have any.
But the truth of the matter is– I had the knowledge, I just didn’t apply it.
There are eleven different type of common sense (that I can think of right now):
Physical, Mental, Emotional, Time, Social, Psychological, Financial, Practical, Knowledge, Home Economy, and Spiritual
I’ve tried to arrange them in order of priority, using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a reference:
1. Physical sense: The ability to understand how to properly take care of one’s body, and the merits thereof. This sense deals with certain core aspects of “maintenance” of one’s physique, such as hygiene, cosmology, skin care, etc.
2. Mental sense: The ability to understand reality, and distinguish the “real world” from “false realities”, such as fiction, fantasy, games, delusions/illusions, etc. Also *controversially* referred to as “sanity”.
3. Emotional sense: The ability to understand emotions (both of the self and others), and respond appropriately to them. It can also extend to include the ability to intuitively develop emotional bonds with other people, although this crosses over with Social sense. Also known as “empathy”.
4. Time sense: You could have all the time in the world, and still not be able to do what is needed to truly successful, if you do not have this sense. Time sense refers to the ability and skills of time-management.
It encompasses organization of time, both at the micro and macro scales, and includes scheduling, the weighing of priorities, the practice of moderation, and time QA. The phrase “time is money” would be taken very seriously by the gurus of this sense.
It should be noted that although this sense usually refers to deals with money, it more broadly refers to investing in general. As a result, financial sense is directly linked and dependent on all of the other senses, since every aspect of life requires investments to be successful.
5. Social sense: This is arguably one of the most difficult sense to understand, and has yet to be entirely mastered, due to the fact that the potential variables involved are quite literally infinite. The reason why this sense is so complicated is because it deals with people, and is limited only to the number and complexity of the people that affect you.
It refers the ability to interact with people, start and maintain relationships, and from an evolutionary standpoint, deals with the exchange of power, between people who control, and people who are controlled.
Regardless of which end of this bargain you are on (controlled or controlling), both thrive on a need for security. What determines who is in control of a given aspect of your life (or someone else’s) is determined by perceived superiority in a given area (who is better at controlling the given aspect of your life, you or someone else).
This is the reason why an oft-cited phrase, “Knowledge is Power”, is so true. If you have knowledge in a particular area, it can give you the superiority you need to control that aspect of your life, as well as exert that control on others.
The recognition and application of superiority is known as “Leadership”; the recognition of someone being superior to oneself, and the application of this by submitting to that person in the interests of self-security might be known as “Servitude”, but there has to be a better word for it! oh well.
As I myself don’t know too much about Social Sense (possessing very little myself), I’ll probably edit this post later, but at least this is a start 😉
6. Psychological sense: As the name implies, this sense refers to your ability to efficiently and effectively manage your mind– particularly by “playing tricks” on yourself.
Through knowing the way that your mind works and techniques to effectively utilize that knowledge, you’ll find that psychological common sense is essential to unlocking your potential as a person.
There are many different ways of doing this, some of which are better than others (for example, mind-altering substances may be the easiest or quickest way to change your psychology, but they are far from the best– like all quick-and-dirty methods you might find in life, there’s *always a catch*; in the case of drugs, those catches are known as “side effects”.
Some safer and more effective methods include hypnosis, meditation, transcendence, chanting, and sublimation. But the most essential and universally important method is known as Positive Self-efficacy.
By enriching oneself with a continuous stream of positive self-affirmations, and by breaking down larger goals into small goals that can be reached in a small amount of time, self-actualization, the epitome of Ego engineering, can occur.
7. Financial sense: Having the knowledge and skills to spend and invest resources wisely. There are different types of financial sense, including “shopping”, “diversification”, budgeting”, “financial planning”, and “credit building”. One sociological field known to specialize in the sociological aspect of financial planning is known as “Game Theory“.
8. Practical sense: This sense, which I am most lacking in, refers to the knowledge of one’s environment, the ability to apply that knowledge, and the acquisition of skills necessary to blend in with and / or take control of that environment– commonly referred to as “street smarts”.
In essence, street smarts are the applied practice of physical and social senses simultaneously.
To clarify: A person that excels at being street smart could go just about anywhere and immediately blend in with the normative culture, social atmosphere, and practical structure of any given demographic.
People with street smarts are experts at improvisation and are information sponges, but the information that they specialize in collecting is not academic in content– a street smart person focuses on “practical” knowledge– information essential to one’s physical and social survival. People with street smarts thus have extraordinary survival instincts, a superb sense of direction, and are able to take charge of any situation should they feel the need to.
9. Knowledge sense: There is a lot of knowledge in this world, but even academia itself is only reasonably useful if it is learned efficiently, and that knowledge is applied properly.
This sense deals with the ability and efficiency of the aggregation, manipulation, management, acquisition, memorization, and application of knowledge.
The faster you can process, manipulate, memorize, and apply knowledge, the faster you can learn more, and the more you can apply that knowledge to the real world.
10. Home Economy sense: Too often do we overlook the importance of proficiency in every day tasks– in fact, most men (and many women!) do not know how to properly care for themselves, and often waste thousands of dollars a year trying to compensate for their own ignorance by relying on skilled workers and dummy-proof products.
Home Economy in its basic for accounts for everyday needs, such as cooking and cleaning, but ultimately encompasses survival skills in general, and thus overlaps heavily with practical skills.
Such skills include cooking, cleaning, sewing, patching, home improvement, travel preparation, linen maintenance, handyman skills, facility maintenance, and the repair and maintenance of appliances and electronics.
11. Spiritual sense: You might ask that, considering that I arranged these in order of priority (with priorities based upon the level of need), why would I put this sense way down here? It’s because in this secular society, spiritual growth is not important– and it’s definitely not a priority.
Spiritual sense refers to the methods and practices by which one achieves spiritual growth. These include studying and meditating on the Word of God, prayer, praise, worship, evangelism, blessings, spiritual gifts, fellowship, communion, abstinence, pilgrimage, asceticism, charity, celibacy, altruism, etc.
By making a habit of engaging in activities that promote spiritual growth (such as the ones listed above), one will achieve greater spiritual growth, strengthening their relationship with God.