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Saturday, February 13, 2016

5 Ways To Separate Facts From Opinions

A lot of people around the world get confused while making decisions because they are not able to distinguish between facts and opinions. Most times they assume that the opinions/ views expressed by the people around them are facts and make incorrect decisions for which they repent later in their life. Understanding what separates facts from opinions can have a huge impact on your day to day life.


What is a fact?
Fact is something which is supported by data or evidence. It has objectivity. It is not ambiguous. It is not based on someone's viewpoint. It does not vary from person to person.

What is an opinion?
Opinion is a viewpoint. It is based on observation and experience of people and may vary from one person to another.

Here are five examples which will help you separate facts from opinions in your day to day life:

#1 My Salary is less than my friend's or colleague's salary


Opinion:If you think that your salary is less than your friend's or colleague's salary then this is an opinion not a fact.

Fact: You compare your salary with the industry standard using tools like http://www.payscale.com/ or https://www.glassdoor.com and get results based on your experience, skills and location then the resulting indicators are facts not opinions.


#2 Working on a IT support project is not as good as working on a IT development project



Opinion: Based on what is told by your friends or seniors, you start believing that an IT development project in Java or any BI technology or niche technology is better than any IT Support project or Testing project then this is an opinion and not a fact because what may work for your friend or colleague may not work for you.

Fact: First you list down relevant information about your profile: 
(a) You realize what is your interest and strength 
(b) You understand what is your inclination towards technology
(c) You find out the career path and future growth path
(d) You gain experience in various types of work profiles by participating in few initiatives and taking few risks
Once you have done this due diligence then you reach a logical conclusion about the 'Type of Work' you are going to pursue in your career. This will be a decision based on facts and not based on opinions.


#3 These days IT Professionals don't save a lot of money in USA



Opinion: Someone may advise you: These days you cannot save much money in the USA because the cost of living and expenses have increased a lot as compared to 10 years ago. This is an opinion and not a fact because it is not supported by the details/ numbers.

Fact: Suppose you gather relevant figures/ numbers/ data about the cost of living in USA and then make a logical decision that savings may vary based on the life style, cost of living in different states and state taxes then this decision is based on facts and not based on opinions. 
For example, refer article: How Much Can I Save in USA?


#4 Which is better Amazon or FlipKart? or Is One e-Commerce platform is better than other?


Opinion: Most people follow the advise given by their friends or relatives when it comes to Online shopping. This advise is generally based on their own personal shopping experiences. These experiences may vary from person to person and is based on various other factors hence these are strictly opinions and not facts.

Fact: If you really want to know whether amazon.com is better than aliexpress.com or whether kohls.com is better than macys.com then you will need to do the comparative analysis yourself. Most e-Commerce websites offer deals and the best way is to search for each of the sites for the "specific product" that you want to buy. You may also get deals on better shipping rates or better offers on packages deals. So website 1 may sell a product for less price than website 2 but website 2 may sell another product for less price than website 1. One needs to collect all these facts before making any online shopping decisions. Just going by your friend's opinion may not work.

Fantastico Fact: Did you know that https://www.groupon.com has 1000 deals daily, it is available in over 500 cities and 48 countries around the globe.


#5 Jack is a jerk, is that a fact or an opinion?


Opinion: Let's take example of people having opinion(s) about people. If some of your friends think that Jack is a nerd then that is purely their viewpoint. It may or may not be true. They are calling him a nerd based on their experiences or feelings but you should not get influenced by such opinions. All you should do is to be more careful or cautious about your interactions with Jack and find out facts about him.

Fact: Suppose you lend some money to jack and he refuses to return your money then you know for sure that he is a jerk. Another example, if some of your friend produces evidence which is concrete to prove that jack has stolen money then you know for sure that Jack is not a good person. In these cases you are not just relying on the word of mouth, you have enough information or evidence to prove a fact about a person.


Conclusion: Be very careful while making small but important decisions of your life. You may seek inputs, opinions or advice from multiple people but don't get influenced by such opinions which may not be relevant to your situation. Look for facts or relevant information which is dependable for making the right decisions.

If you liked this article, you may also like reading How To Stop Procrastination & Improve Productivity

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.