Elon Musk's Important Advice on Criticism - Investment Capital Growth

The Investment Capital Growth Blog

Welcome To The ICG Blog

Strategic Insights For Business Leaders & Their Teams

Investment Capital Growth is dedicated to the personal and professional development of C-Level Executives and the management teams that run modern business. Our blog shares insights and strategies culled from years of entrepreneural and executive experience. Our thought leaders regularly publish business articles to inspire and empower.

Get Inspired, Stay Connected:

  • Subscribe To Our Blog For Updates
  • Follow ICG on Social Media
  • Engage Our Consultants

ICG Newsletter Signup

ICG's Monthly Newsletter delivers insightful and actionable information for business owners and their teams. Get the latest updates from the ICG team each month including exclusive case studies, expert commentary, special offers and real life examples of business success. Join the thousands of subscribers that enjoy our informative publication by entering your contact information below.

Contact us.

Elon Musk’s Important Advice on Criticism

Posted by Cliff Locks On November 10, 2021 at 10:06 am

Elon Musk’s Important Advice on Criticism

Our brains are composed of 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion synaptic connections.

But despite this vast processing power, we are unable to process all the data entering through our senses.

Because of that, our brains take shortcuts called “heuristics” that unfortunately introduce a number of (sometimes dangerous) cognitive biases.

These cognitive biases can sometimes warp our decision-making process and lead us to incorrect conclusions.

A key step to overcoming these biases is to first acknowledge them.

In today’s blog, I’ll discuss what cognitive biases are, how they affect our view of the world and our Abundance Mindset, and what this means for you as an entrepreneur.


Cognitive biases come in all flavors. They are the result of time-saving and energy-saving shortcuts our brain takes in analyzing the flood of data coming in through our senses.

Here are a few examples:

  1. Negative Biases our tendency to give more weight to negative information and experiences than positive ones.

This tendency has roots in our evolution.

Every second of every day, our senses (eyes, ears, touch) bring in way too much data—more than we can possibly process in our brains. And because nothing is more important to us than survival, the first stop for all of that data is an ancient sliver of the temporal lobe called the amygdala.

Our amygdala is our “early warning system.” It sorts and scours through all our senses looking for anything in the environment that might harm us.

…and when our brain senses danger, it puts us on *red alert.*

As a result, we pay 10 times more attention to negative news than positive news!

It’s for this same reason that the nightly news and the New York Times (pick your favorite rags, I don’t read any of them) have a 10-to-1 ratio of negative news stories to positive ones.

  1. Anchoring Bias: An anchoring bias is the tendency to be overly influenced by the first piece of information that we hear. For example, the first number voiced during a price negotiation typically becomes the anchoring point from which all further negotiations are based.
  2. Familiarity Bias: Simply put, this is your brain’s tendency to give greater credence to conversations and information from people who look like you, dress like you, and are in a similar socioeconomic and cultural bracket to you.

This is the shortcut the brain uses as it judges who is a “trusted source” of information.

  1. Recency Bias: Imagine you’ve listened to a public debate. Your brain will give greater weight to the data presented at the end of the debate, versus what you received at the beginning. Why? It’s simply the human brain saving on energy and time—remembering the data that you received most recently.
  2. Self-Serving Bias: The self-serving bias is the tendency for people to give themselves credit for successes but blame others for their failures. When you do well on a project, you probably assume that it’s because you worked hard. But when things turn out badly, you’ll call it bad luck.


The most important cognitive bias to be self-aware of is Confirmation Bias.

This is the tendency to listen more often to data that confirms our pre-existing beliefs. Through this bias, people tend to favor information that reinforces the things they already believe.

This is the one that we as entrepreneurs must carefully avoid.

If you go out of your way to surround yourself with advisors and employees who only compliment your work and never criticize you, you’ll rapidly get yourself into trouble.

In one of Peter Diamandis’s conversations with Elon Musk, he imparted some wisdom we should never forget: “My friends tell me how great all my products are, but my BEST friends are the ones who give me the most brutal criticism.”

Elon Musk

Your ability to recognize and not fall prey to Confirmation Bias, the ability to really hear everybody’s thoughts (including the negative ones), and then weigh and balance these beliefs, is vital to an entrepreneur.

Question your core beliefs and surround yourself with people who think differently from you.

Turn intent into impact.

Let’s talk about working together,  schedule a call: www.calendly.com/clifflocks

Contributor: Peter Diamandis, Founder, X Prize Foundation and Chairman of Singularity University and edited by and Cliff Locks, Investment Capital Growth, Managing Director and Executive Coach

Recent Blog Post: Successful leadership depends on how we manage paradoxes


Cliff Locks is a trusted mentor, confidant, and advisor to CEOs, C-Level Exec, and high-potential employees to help them clarify goals, unlock their potential, and create actionable strategic plans.

Available to join your Board as a Certified Master Professional Board of Director and Advisor.

I am a trusted mentor, confidant, and advisor available by Zoom and by phone to be your right-hand man, who will make a significant contribution and impact on your way to success.

As a Trusted Mentor, Confidant, and Advisor, I support you, along with your company’s strategic and annual operating plan. This plan may include marketing, sales, product development, supply chain, hiring policies, compensation, benefits, performance management, and succession planning.


Most successful leaders enjoy talking to someone about their experiences, which is why most develop a close relationship with a Trusted Confidant—a person with whom they feel free to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas without fear of sharing too much or being judged by the people they lead, or their colleagues and superiors. I am a sounding board who will help you to better develop and see your ideas through to fruition.

The most effective Executive find confidants who complement their strengths and sharpen their effectiveness. Bill Gates uses Steve Ballmer in this way; Warren Buffett turns to vice chairman Charlie Munger. In the end, both the Executive and their organizations benefit from these relationships.

As your trusted confidant, I am always by your side, holding your deepest secrets and never judging. Everything discussed is held in complete confidence.

What many executives feel is missing from their busy life is a trusted business person who understands the holistic complexity of both their business and personal life.

I strive to provide solid financial, business, and family expertise and serve as a dispassionate sounding board, a role I like to call “Executive Confidant.”

By holding a safe place for the Executive to work on life path issues as well as direction, I repeatedly see remarkable benefits as personal values become integrated with wealth and family decisions, enhancing a more meaningful life.

As an Executive Confidant, I welcome a confidential conversation about the most important issues facing the business leader, including:

• Strategic planning toward your visions of success and goal setting • Operations, planning, and execution • Career transition • Retirement • Legacy • Kids and money • Marriage and divorce • Health concerns • Values and life purpose • Vacations • Mentoring & depth of the executive bench • Succession planning

When I do my job well, I facilitate positive action in both your professional and personal life. This consistently has a positive benefit on impacting people within the sphere of your influence.

The job of an Executive can be lonely. For various reasons, confiding in colleagues, company associates, family members, or friends presents complications. Powerful, successful, and wealthy individuals often isolate themselves as a protective reaction because of their inability to find people they can trust and confide in.

Successful people are often surrounded by many people, yet they insulate and isolate themselves to varying levels of degree. This isolation factor is not often discussed in the same context because the assumption is that success and wealth only solve problems. The false belief is that it does not create more problems, when, in fact, sometimes it creates a unique set of new challenges. Success and wealth do not insulate you from the same pitfalls that the everyday person faces. It may give you access to better solutions perhaps, and that is what I can help you achieve. Financial business success can create unique vulnerabilities, often overlooked as most people feel that the “problems” of the wealthy are not real-life problems.

The Executive Confidant can be particularly helpful when:

• Aligning life priorities with the responsibilities of wealth. • Wanting more meaning and purpose in life. • Desiring a candid and experienced perspective. • The answers often come from within, and we cannot arrive at them easily. • Clarity often comes into focus, with skilled questions and guided discovery. The right questions can be the first step in achieving ideal outcomes.

Who can you turn to when you need to find clarity? Who is your “Executive Confidant”?

Referrals to team members or family members are always welcome.


One-to-One – Individual payment: Strategic Coaching: $295 per month (weekly for 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the depth of our conversation Zoom meeting).

One-to-One – Corporate payment:
i. Coaching & Leadership Development: $600 per month engagement (weekly 1 hour Zoom meeting).
ii. One-to-One Executive Coaching and Mentoring: $600 per month engagement (weekly 1 hour Zoom meeting).
iii. Increasing Top Team Performance and 1:1 Mentoring Sessions: $600 per month engagement (weekly 1 hour Zoom meeting).
iv. Planning New Futures for Senior Executives: $600 per month engagement (weekly 1 hour Zoom meeting).

Team coaching:
i. Enhancing Boardroom Effectiveness & Executive Impact Group: Starting at $15,250 per annual engagement.
ii. Strategic & Operational Planning/KPI Development: Starting at $25,500 per annual engagement.
iii. Productivity Assessment & Profitability Improvement: Starting at $25,250 per annual engagement.
iv. Sales Channel and Product Development: Starting at $25,250 per annual engagement.
v. Energy and Sustainability Efficiency Initiatives: Starting at $18,500 per annual engagement.

Board of Directors or Board of Advisors:

Email me: [email protected] or Schedule a call: Cliff Locks #WSJ #privateequity #boardmembers #corporateleadership #IBD #CEO #CFO #COO #BoD #CXO #management #privateequity #PE #hedgefund #limitedpartners #LP #venutrecapital #VC #ethicalbusiness #directors #corporategovernance #accountability #integrity #ethics #corporateleadership #leadership #nonexecutivedirector #nonexec #boarddevelopment #leadershipfirst #mentoring #thoughtleadership #managementdevelopent #mentorship #leanmanagement #leadershipdevelopment #business #leanstartups #businessstrategy #InvestmentCapitalGrowth

[gravityform id=”1″ title=”true” description=”true”]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.