Compiled by Tomas Yono (aka Girdzijauskas), 2009 version.
Can only be distributed if the compiler is credited.

CONTEXT. This topic has been taken from a very extensive and old collection of knowledge about the laws and secrets of communication and understanding.

The canonical rules of golden criticism:

What is a fair and effective way to present comments and teachings?
How does one accept criticism?
Why is it so important to criticise effectively?

Take a look at yourself before you accuse others.
Doctor, treat your own illnesses first!

The term ‘criticism’ should be replaced with ‘giving feedback’.

ABOUT CRITICISM

  • The wrong kind of criticism inhibits creativity.
  • Effective criticism helps people learn.
  • People who receive the wrong kind of criticism become upset and angry.
  • People who receive positive criticism avoid making mistakes.
  • The ability to criticise constructively can be learned.
  • Positive criticism allows the prevention of trouble in the future.

THE GOLDEN RULES OF SUITABLE CRITICISM:

  • Warn a close one and you will not be harmed by their mistakes. If you see a close one making mistakes, you must warn them – then you will not be harmed by their mistakes either.
  • Emphasise personal progress – 90% percent of the conversation should revolve around the positive.
  • 10% of the conversation should be allotted to criticism, but it should be mentioned casually, as if in passing, without highlighting it emotionally.
  • Do it fast and eye to eye (privately).

THE CLASSIC STAGES OF GIVING FEEDBACK:

  1. Between 2 sets of eyes (just the two of you). As you give your feedback, you must offer your own help to fix the mistakes and arrange a deadline.
  2. If this does not work, try the conversation between 3 sets of eyes (with a witness). Offer the help of several people and so on.
  3. If this does not work, try it again in public. And, accordingly, offer collective help.
  4. If this still does not work, more severe measures must be implemented. If no measures are implemented at all, then the critic becomes responsible for the situation.

DO NOT GET PERSONAL:

  • annul (sic!) yourself, do not talk from your perspective, present the objective rule “from above” that applies to everyone. If you cannot formulate things in this sense then it is best not to criticise at all because you will be judged for the very same thing.
  • criticise actions and positions but not the individual themselves
  • Come to an agreement about the facts
  • Ask questions and listen
  • Explain why something happens and what the right recourse should be
  • Come to an agreement about how things will be rectified
  • End with praise
  • Do not criticise frequently – then the person will ask for your opinion themselves and value what you have to say.

SELF-CRITICISM

This is an even more effective tool. If you periodically ask others what they think about the aspects of your behaviour that might need some correction, then you will grow and make progress much more rapidly than others, and your example will affect others magnetically and encourage them to improve as well. Smart people hire famous experts-critics and pay them money in order to hear them say what they should change in their behaviour or character.

THE MOST INFLUENTIAL METHODS OF GIVING FEEDBACK/CRITICISING

are considered to be the method used by wise men.

A wise person does not actively seek to intervene in other people’s lives on their own initiative, they do not force their opinion on others (e.g., the donkey minder mentioned in the Zohar), however, they do often present curious, seemingly innocent, childish, but very deep questions aimed at the heart of a matter (Socrates’ maieutics or the midwife method), e.g.:

  • How do you implement the theoretical knowledge that you have?
  • In your opinion, what is the most important formula for success in life?
  • What is the best way to take care of the (spiritual) health of the public these days?
  • What is the meaning and objective of life?
  • How do you balance the finances of a single individual, an organisation, a country, the world?
  • How should you solve problems from the very root?
  • In what ways do you control your thoughts?
  • What does it mean to know yourself?
  • Why were you born in this exact nation or family and why are you of the gender that you are?

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