Reduce Errors in

   How to I
Your Criti

Critical Thinking and Judgment

cal Judgment

by Gerard I. Nierenberg       

   CRITICAL JUDGMENT TENDS TO IMPROVE WITH TIME. Why? Because all your decisions and actions - the successful ones as well as the mistakes - have the power to augment the faculty of critical judgment, if you devote the time and effort to analyze them. No matter how much guidance you receive, you will invariably learn life lessons of your own that will allow you to exercise and improve your critical judgment. You can, however, learn from the wisdom gained through other people's triumphs and defeats as well as that acquired through your own successes and failures. The following dozen tips, though not necessarily products of your own experience, may therefore help you avoid some errors in critical judgment:

  1. Know and understand your present state.
  2. Prioritize your goals.
  3. Conform your expectations to your reality.
  4. Evaluate the situation. Are the values only black and white or shades of gray?
  5. Consider the lifetime patterns, processes and inclinations of those who might influence or be influenced to action based on your judgment, including your own.
  6. Understand how your actions affect all others.
  7. Use fact-finding analysis to help distinguish between a fact and an inference.
  8. Understand that your hidden assumptions lead to your known assumptions and that these assumptions help make up the "facts" as you see them.
  9. Recognize that you create the relationships through the inferences you make and the connections you draw. Relationships are not absolutes, but remain within your control.
  10. Understand that you control your evaluations.
  11. Remember that time changes everything.
  12. Since you can never know everything, don't be upset by uncertainty.

   You can surely apply some of these rules to your situation. However, you will inevitably learn additional lessons from your own mistakes. And you should incorporate these lessons of experience into your future critical judgments.

To contact Gerard I. Nierenberg, write to:
Negotiation Institute, Inc., 10 East 40th Street, Suite 1308
New York, NY 10016
Phone 212.447.0077 Fax 212.447.7880

Or visit his web site: website.