In this commentary, John Risley, President of Clearwater Fine Foods Inc., member of the World Presidents’ Organization, director on the Board of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and Chair of the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, discusses the decline of common sense and long-term thinking in the Western world.

Common sense seems to be in very short supply. Examples of this are everywhere. We send an email, one which is important, and we expect a reply virtually instantly. Indeed, if one is not forthcoming within 15 minutes we begin to wonder if the recipient has died.

Now think about this: assume that the question being asked is important. We must therefore want a careful and considered response, a response which has had the complete attention of the recipient. Is it reasonable to assume this could possibly have occurred within 15 minutes?

We know intuitively when a government builds a road that someone has to pay for it. Yet we resist vehemently any attempt at imposing such costs, by way of tolls, on those who would use that road. Now just think about that, if the users don’t want to pay for it, who should?

In Think!, Risley writes what needs to be done to turn this around. We all need to wake up to the value of common sense. We need to take personal responsibility, not look for someone else to pass it on to or blame. We need to demand change in our health care and education systems, to insist on accountability. But most of all we need to slow down and think, to make use of that valuable feature called common sense.

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