Criticism

Tips for Evaluating People’s Work

1. Find something positive to say about the work of others, even if you do not like what they have produced.

2.  Offer suggestions for how they might improve what they have produced.

3.  Remember that people are human beings and do not want to feel humiliated by your critique of their work.

4.  Be honest and polite in evaluating people’s work.

5.  Understand that people have invested their time, energy, and resources into what they have produced.

6.  Be specific and precise in the feedback you provide.

7.  Give encouragement to people about their work.

8.  Ask questions about the work when you do not understand aspects of it.

9.  Remember that evaluation is not about finding everything that is wrong with a work.  You want to make sure that you highlight things that are done well in a work.

10.  Explain your rationale for why you evaluate the work in the way you do.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Look Inward Before You Look Outward

We cannot be a help to others until we are a help to ourselves first. Far too often, broken people who need healing themselves are the main ones who like to criticize others and like to appear like they exude strength—when it’s really their weakness that radiates brightest. You cannot lead until you lead within yourself first. You cannot criticize until you have engaged in a comprehensive self-critique first. Never try to seem like you have made it to the mountaintop on your own, especially when you know that your ride to the mountaintop has been made possible by those who have assisted you.

Your critiques of others need to come from a spirit of compassion, while still maintaining a commitment to truth. Always make sure that what you have to say is guided by a desire to promote uplift. I am not contending that uplift has to always come from the most polite words and actions—uplift does not always come from polite words and actions—but your words and actions should have the purpose of moving people upward.

Don’t overlook your weaknesses and flaws when you are critiquing others. Your weaknesses and flaws can be the very sources of the problem with how you are critiquing others.

Guard the way that you perceive others with great care. The way you perceive others can simply be a product of how you view yourself. People are different so you have to understand that you cannot impose your values, paradigms, and expectations for yourself on others. This is what makes the world such a beauty place to live. We all do things and view things differently—We are simply different! Although we are all different in many ways, we are all united by the reality that we are human. We must never underestimate the power of what being human can do for us and the limitations of what being human means.

I’m all for people judging others—have at it! I just want people to make sure that they have engaged in close examinations of themselves first. When you have an honest evaluation of yourself first, you will offer yourself an opportunity to see why you say the things you say to others, why you view people the way you do, why you question them the way you, and why you think what they are doing is wrong or right.

Spend some time with yourself. Learn yourself more. Learn how you might have to move beyond the limitations of yourself to understand others and to understand why they don’t do and say the things you do. Take a moment to rise above what you would have them to do and say and embrace the value of what it is they do and say.

The only way that you are going to get some of those inner problems and demons that you battle is to allow yourself to undergo a serious comprehensive self-critique. Always ground your serious self-critiques in truth. Be willing to acknowledge and embrace the lessons that you learn from self-critiques that are truly grounded in truth.

Love yourself for who you are. If other people don’t love you for simply who you are, then get away from them because they don’t matter.

Even though you don’t have to share everything with everybody to be a real person and an open book, I recommend that you be more transparent with people about why you are revealing what you do disclose to them. The reason why I recommend this is it helps clear thinking people to comprehend that there could be a vital personal reason involving your safety that is responsible for why you don’t divulge everything down to the most microscopic detail to them.

When we look inward first and not outward first, then we will begin to gain a better understanding about why things may appear the way they do. Inward evaluations bring us to an understanding of physical, social, and emotional realities that we never might have considered and discovered without true and comprehensive self-examinations.

By looking within before you look outward, you might just find what you have been missing all of your life. You might just find the answers to what you have been searching for all this time. You might even begin to muster the courage to simply be yourself.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Righteous Unrighteous

It never ceases to amaze me how people whose lives are complete messes can find it within themselves to criticize large categories of groups and individuals. I guess some people forget that they are not in a position to criticize others, especially when their lives are a mess. When you criticize others, make sure you have cleaned up your own mess, or be prepared for people who are not afraid to unsettle, unnerve, and unhouse you to air your dirty laundry. Don’t get mad either—sunshine is the best disinfectant! There comes a time when you just have to call people out. You have to let folk know that they are a mess and are living in mess. You should not worry about how they are going to react either.

When you make blanket statements that you think will get you some attention, don’t be surprised when those statements come back to haunt you. People can use your vain efforts to get attention to serve as the catalysts for exposing truths that you know you don’t want to wrestle with in the public sphere. Some of you know you are not emotionally strong enough to respond to potential criticisms that may result from something untutored you have said simply to get a laugh, attention, and/or temporal fame. If many of you would concern yourself with improving yourself first and not others, then you might place yourself in a better position to be a qualified judge of others. Unfortunately, many of you don’t worry about what’s going on in your own life, in your own home, and with your own family and friends.  Instead, you concern yourself with trying to bring down others.

When you feel like you need try to criticize someone negatively, I simply ask you to check around your own home first for people and things to criticize. Be sure to criticize yourself. When you criticize yourself, make sure that you criticize yourself in the public sphere so that your self-criticism will match the public criticism you intend for others.

Trust me, I have no problem with you criticizing others, but I want you to be open to the same level of criticism and don’t feel like others are doing you wrong when they respond to your criticisms. If you’re bad enough to dish out negative criticism, be bad enough to take it when it returns to you.

It’s time out for people trying to get attention by hurting people with reckless statements and comments. You need to be more considerate of people’s feelings when you say some of the things you say. When you are not living a flawless life, you need to know that you are no more righteous than the next person. Don’t try to make anyone’s sins be more horrible than your own sins. Sin is sin!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

People Always Want to Have Something on You

The more successful, popular, intelligent, attractive, articulate, athletic, and/or etc. you are, the more people will go to extremes to try to find something on you to use it against you. Even when you are transparent, open, and unbothered by negative criticism, people will still go to extremes to find something on you to attempt to bring you down. I would also like you all to be watchful of even jokes people make about you because jokes are often used as furtive vehicles for viciously attacking a person and/or trying to make the person feel uncomfortable, terrible, and/or degraded. For those of you who are tremendously transparent, open, and unbothered by negative criticism, as I am, you don’t have to reveal every single thing to people to continue to feel within yourself that you are still transparent, open, and unbothered by negative criticism. When you don’t give those who are seeking to critique or evaluate you the information they are so eager to receive, then don’t feel like you are wavering on your tremendously transparent, open, and unbothered by negative criticism nature.

When people attempt to negatively criticize you or attack you for not giving them the information they desire so that they can use it as a potential opportunity to have something on you, I recommend for you to take this as an opportunity to turn their malevolent attempts into opportunities to unnerve them. You can unnerve them by asking them questions about their motivations for seeking the information they are requesting and asking them why it is so important for them to get the information. When you are clear that they have intentional negative motivations for obtaining the information, go ahead and begin to unsettle them with probing observations and critiques about them. Let them know you know they are trying to hate on you.

What people who attempt to gain negative information on people to use the information against these people don’t understand they are wasting their time. When people have earned such a distinguished reputation and record, their reputation and record is difficult to sabotage. I am not suggesting that people seeking to destroy your reputation and record with negative information cannot succeed, but I want to comfort those of you concerned about people using negative information against you that you should not fear them.

While many of the motivations for people wanting to have something on you to use it against you are conspicuous, I will be spending a little time in the future just thinking about more complex motivations they may have. I will let you all know the fruits of my reflections too.

If you are a person who is always seeking to use something against someone, I would like to hear from you to better understand people like you. If you are afraid to place a comment on my blog, then feel free to contact me at antoniomdaniels@gmail.com.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison