Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fact vs Opinion: Our basis in making correct decisions

If you've ever watched or read a detective story, you know how the detectives rely heavily on evidences to solve their cases. This means that, before they point a finger to anyone, they use methodical or scientific proof to justify their claims. As you've read the story, you might have an opinion as to who committed the crime. But according to the detectives, the one who committed the crime is the man who is less likely for you to be the suspect. Who did what & when is a matter of  fact. That's because they have enough evidence and they can prove it.

Definition of Fact
  • fact
  • is something known to happened or to be true or to exist.
  • opinion
  •  is something believed to have happened  or to be true or to exist.

Hence, The difference between fact & opinion is the difference between believing & knowing.
It is important to know the difference between fact and opinion when you're making a decision. When you make decisions, asses others' arguments, and support your own arguments, use facts, as they essentially carry more weights  than opinions.
Notice these two examples:
  • I really think I should get a promotion. It's about time, and I deserve it. I've earned it.
  • I really think I deserve to get a promotion. I've met all my production goals since I've been in here, my evaluations have been excellent, and I was the employee of the month.
As you can see in the second example, facts support the opinion "I deserve to get a promotion".

Furthermore, distinguishing between fact & opinion is important because people will often present their opinion as fact. When you're trying to make big decisions or solve complex problems, you need to know that you're working with evidences rather than emotions. I didn't say that we shouldn't include our emotions in making decisions, but it is more likely to make the correct choice if we base only in facts. 

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