In this episode, we’re going to be talking about being an expert, or that is the people that we run into all the time that claim to be experts – what you need to know and even why it’s important. I want to go through that, the self-proclaimed experts. Why is it useful to know about that? Why is it useful to find an expert, not just somebody that’s a friend or an acquaintance, or somebody that knows a little bit more, but to locate experts? And why there is a difficulty in becoming one, but that’s good. I’ll explain that.
Welcome to another episode of Life Unsettled – New Path, Better Future. This is an interesting different swing on things in this particular episode, because here we are talking about a new path, better future, but what I’m going to do is warn you about some of the path and how you develop that path. What I want to talk about is this recent thing where people are pushing the idea of being an expert. Supposedly, and this is actually what gurus out there are doing, they’re telling people: “If you know a little bit more than the next person, you’re an expert to them.”
There’s really a disservice and a problem with that, and that’s what I want to get to. Let’s think about that for a little bit, and look at it as an interesting topic for what you would like to do with yourself and how you would build your own expertise in business. We’ll talk about how to do that in another episode coming up.
First I want to talk about the idea of being an expert. It’s interesting, because really the way an expert is defined by many of the researchers out there, psychologists, as well as operations, research, etc.… There’s one noteworthy thing back in the past, 1980 at Berkeley, there was a Professor Dreyfus, and they had a model of skill acquisition. They looked at it as you would go through this period going from novice, to competence, proficiency, expertise, and mastery. Why is that important and why is that necessary?
The interesting thing was there were another few things that were done where researchers made some very good points. David A. Dunning for one, Psychologist at Cornell, talked about the fact that incompetent people don’t even know they’re incompetent. At first I read that and I thought: “That’s kind of weird.” Really, how could this be? They’re supremely confident of their abilities. It’s kind of like: you don’t know what you don’t know. They don’t know the landscape, they don’t know how to evaluate. The BBC came out and said: “The more inept you are, the smarter you think you are.” If you are incompetent, you can’t necessarily know your level of incompetence. Why is this a danger if you know more than the next person and you’re helping them out? Then you’re a novice, that’s fine, but let’s think about it and revisit some of the fields existing out there where this may be a danger. Actually, I can think of just about every one of them.
I had somebody a few years ago, actually I went through three different people, for trying to get something for me to do for SEO for one of my websites. I believe that you have to know enough or find somebody else that knows enough to evaluate. You have to be able to evaluate. I knew enough to be able to evaluate, plus I had looked at some of the things having to do with problems and changes that Google had made, and what to be careful of, what not to do. It turns out that all three of these that I went through were all about to do things that were either already considered bad, or were going to be in the near future. These “experts” were going to harm me, yet they knew more than me. What do you do? You have to go out and find somebody, obviously, that has a great deal more expertise or evaluate it yourself.
What I did was I read Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, Crush It!—this was two years ago—and I also went through Amazon, and looked at all the latest books because it had to be a recent book, on SEO, found the one that seemed to have the absolute best ratings regardless of cost or anything, bought that one, went through those two books, and was able to do it because it turns out SEO was fairly simple and straightforward because it was all about content. Google has gotten so smart, and it was the thing that people needed to know, that not only had it got so smart, but it was getting very smart very fast. Why? Because that was the stage of database processing power, etc. that they were able to enable within the system.
That’s SEO, but what about other things? Take a look at, for example, what people are doing with exercise. You have a lot of trainers out there. I was lucky, I had somebody when I was in the service who was a champion. He won the heavyweight division three-state championship for Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas. Winning that, he really knew his stuff. I exercised with him for three and a half months. Literally, every single time, he just instructed me, showed me what to do, gave me all the reasoning and the understanding behind it. I made gains that were just absolutely unbelievable. I have never seen anything like it since. He was a master. He was an expert.
Now, I go to gyms because I still exercise, not like I used to, but I still exercise regularly and most of the trainers I see out there are giving people little instruction, or instruction in many cases that’s wrong. They’re not showing people proper posture. Yes, there are some that are really good out there. Glad they’re out there. But many of them, it’s like they’re enthused about what they’re doing, but they don’t even have the exercises necessarily in the right order; the large muscle before the smaller muscle, etc.
Think about the medical field. The medical field starts out. Do you want somebody who knows a little bit more than you do, giving you medical advice? That’s kind of like the girlfriend consult. One girl says: “I have something wrong with me,” she calls her girlfriend and she says: “I know what to do. Do this. Hey, I’ll even loan you some drugs.” Come on. Even within the profession itself people start out, and it’s the experience that matters a lot. It also depends on hard work and everything else, and the willingness and desire to be that expert. When they first start out, do you really want to go into the hospital the first week when the new interns or residents arrive, or would you like them to be there a few months before you have to go in for your elective surgery? Hopefully you don’t have to go in because you have no choice.
Getting back to exercise, think also of the athlete and the trainer. Remember the episode with Drew Bledsoe where he talked about the fact that he was so lucky because his father ran a camp, and people came to that camp that guided him and gave him information and ideas, such as Fred Biletnikoff of the Oakland Raiders. The outstanding receiver of the year gets the Fred Biletnikoff Award. He had this advice, of course he just listened to it and followed it.
Would you rather have your next-door neighbor? Can you imagine that you need to learn something about football, and you’re a football player, are you going to follow the same people who are just starting out in the NFL? Are you going to talk to your high school buddies, or are you going to be talking to the people that you know are the best expert that you can find, who know and understand it?
This one I love: what about the financial advisor? Maybe you have heard the commercial that’s just been out recently. I was just about to start doing this episode, and lo and behold, I remembered as I was watching and saw this commercial on TV, and I want you to hear it. I’m sure you’ve seen it or heard it, but just in case, here it is: Speaker 2: Let me talk to you about retirement.
Speaker 3: The 401k is the most sound way to go. Let’s talk asset allocation.
Speaker 4: Sure.
Speaker 5: You seem knowledgeable, professional.
Speaker 3: Would you trust me as your financial advisor?
Speaker 6: I would.
Speaker 4: I would, indeed.
Thomas: There it is. Everybody’s trusting this guy by the way he looks, and because he’s able to throw out a few words.
Speaker 3: Let’s be clear, here. I’m actually a DJ.
Speaker 5: No way. [Laughing]
Speaker 2: I have no financial experience at all.
Speaker 4: That really is you?
Speaker 2: If they’re not a CFP pro, you just don’t know. Find a Certified Financial Planner professional who’s thoroughly vetted at www.LetsMakeAPlan.org. CFP, work with…
Thomas: Hopefully they don’t mind me throwing their advertisement up there, but it mentioned the site, so hopefully they’re happy with it. The key thing is that: yes, he now knows, because he was given a briefing, a little bit more than they knew. Does that make him an expert? No! He doesn’t know very much at all. He shouldn’t be guiding your finances even though he knows he’s ahead of you.
The person who knows a little bit more than you may be able to help you because they’re a novice or they’re an advanced beginner. They’ll be able to show you what they’re learning. But to allow them to choose your direction in your field of study or in the expertise area would be truly malpractice. That’s one man’s opinion.
The same people that are following this, think of it as how you feel when you hear people give you unrealistic claims. People are too ready to listen to how they can do something in 60 days, 90 days. “You’re going to be a millionaire this year,” or: “You’re going to make six figures this year,” or: “You’re going to be seven figures a year.” Do you know how incredibly rare it is? Do you realize the top 1% is just a little bit over $300,000? Really, to get there, there’s not very many people that do it. Yes there are, and if you’re the first into something, that really helps.
You have to really set up and decide what plan you have for your own goal and for your own expertise. You want to be an expert, that’s fine. It’s a very, very good, strong goal to set. You want to be able to position yourself as an expert. While you’re in training or while you’re an apprentice, you’re going to be paid differently, you’re going to have things differently, but you can only get yourself bruised and your reputation bruised if you position yourself as something that you’re really not. Yet, there are so many people that believe this. I’m just going to say: oh my god, it’s hard to believe that people just think they can do this without a thorough plan, a thorough understanding of where they need to go and how to get there. You want to start a business, you want to build your business, you want to be labelled as preeminent in your field or your business to be preeminent in its area – you have to take a slow, deliberate look at how to get there. As I said, we’ll discuss that in a future episode.
The people who are turning around and telling you, and expecting you to believe that you can get some place in 60 days, or six months, or this year – you better live in Colorado or Washington because what you’re smoking is legal there. I don’t want this episode to sound discouraging. It is just something that you have to realize: there is a process in order to develop and build your business or build your expertise. You do get paid somewhat accordingly.
Just think of it: If it was that easy that everybody on the day after tomorrow can say: “I’m an expert because I’m better than him, so I’m an expert to him,” which I just showed you is not true. I can pick almost any field you want and show you why it’s not true. You also realize that there’s some, what we call in economics, impediments or let’s say there are some obstacles or difficulties to enter a market to compete against you. You really don’t want some business. Actually, one of the choices that you would make is: if this business that you want to go into is so easy that you can start it up, be making money and doing well next week or next month, then so can thousands of other people.
What are you going to do to specialize the business, to really make it something that’s going to make it a little harder for somebody to come in and take away your market share, or do it a little bit better, a little differently, or beat you on price? Because if it’s that easy, every place around the world can start doing the same thing.
What you can really look at is: if there’s a fair amount of difficulty… As a matter of fact, the more amount of difficulty there is to what you’re about to do and what you’re doing now, the harder it will be for other people to enter and compete directly against you, or to lower the prices which makes it less profitable or actually possibly unprofitable for you to stay in business. Rather than feeling bad about something not being easy, feel good that you have to learn a little bit more to get that label of being an expert. If you do that, then you really have positioned yourself well in your field.
So often I’m hearing people tell me that they have no time. Have you noticed that? Everybody you talk to: “Can you do this? Can you do that?” You try to even pay them and hire them for something, or they complain about something, and you show them about a possible opportunity where they want to know more information, but then the next words out of their mouth is: “Gee, I really don’t have any time.” Time is the most valuable asset we possibly have. Everybody gets the same amount of time, and we’re stuck with what we get. 86,400 seconds a day. When the day is over, it is gone. There is no holding onto it for the next day. We have to find out how to use it more efficiently.
One of the things I did just recently is I decided that I’m going to share some of the things that I use to really make my time much more efficient. I probably save in the neighborhood of close to two and a half hours a day just using some of these apps and tools. What I’ve done is I’ve put them together. They’re free, just go pick them up. It’s on my website: www.LifeUnsettled.com/time/. You’ll find a little PDF there that you can have and you can take. By the way, I’m going to update it as I find other things. Actually, there’s some things that I am already going to put on it in the very near future that I’ve already done and that I’m using. Go take it. Let me know what you think. Also, let me know if you discover anything particularly interesting that you find efficient that you’d like me to pass on to others as well. Thank you very much.