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Six Steps to Getting Honest Critical Feedback

I was just listening to the Lifestyle Business Podcast, "Episode 51 - 5 Signs You Might be a Loser" - great podcast. It's an aggressive title, but it's actual a super helpful episode that's not aggressive at all.

One of the topics on there was criticism - Dan and Ian were talking about how it's a sure path to loserdom if you can't take constructive criticism.

I think that's true, but I still try to almost never give negative criticism to anyone, ever.

"As a general rule...people ask for advice only in order not to follow it; or if they do follow it, in order to have someone to blame for giving it." — From Alexandre Dumas's "The Three Musketeers"

I've found the vast majority of people will never take any criticism you give them, will be upset at you for criticizing them, and will dislike you even more if you were right.

"They don't get it!" No, you don't get it.

I'm writing this largely as a reminder to myself.

Sometimes I do something that I think is really cool. Then I go share it with the world. And sometimes, I get feedback that seems off-base to me.

Y'know, I'm wrong a lot of the time. I'm wrong more often than most people, simply because I try to huge volumes of stuff. When I'm 55% sure, I'll usually write up my initial thoughts and just note that I'm not sure if it's correct, but it's what I'm thinking about.

So, I'm wrong a lot. A lot of times, someone points out a glaring error I made. For instance, Jason Shen was kind enough to point out that the vast majority of people think to some extent that business/commerce/wealth is zero sum, so maybe it keeps making sense to talk about "adding value" - oh, right, selction bias on my part since most of my peer group either directly create things that didn't exist before (artists, engineers, programmers, experimental scientists, etc) or facilitate trade and exchange and wealth building (entrepreneurs, managers, investors, financiers, etc).

But most people that aren't directly involved in the creation or trade. The world is complex, most people in the West work in big corporations and don't see how their role directly contributes to new wealth being created. So anyways, mea culpa there, and I'll amend my position. Thanks Jason.

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