I am not an expert.

Posted on October 10, 2015

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Too many people in this world avoid personal or professional development because the unstated implication of growth and maturation is that there is some level of incompetency or immaturity that exists in your current state of understanding. This is known as being “insecure,” “feeling threatened,” or “being vulnerable.” This dynamic frequently sabotages and thwarts human progress.

Teachers don’t want to learn about new pedagogical approaches because it may imply they’re “bad teachers.” Parents don’t want advice from other parents for fear of and the stigma of being labeled a “bad parent.” Technical professionals don’t want to be corrected because it threatens the power of their knowledge.

et. al.

Completely against the natural impulse, the solution is to embrace a posture that says, “I am not an expert. I don’t know everything. I’m insufficient in an area of which I may be unaware. Teach me. Show me. Help me be better.”

This does not mean you do not have expertise (skills, or knowledge). To “not be an expert” does not mean idiocy, incompetence, or ignorance. In fact, it may mean the opposite; that you are not an idiot as you exemplify the wisdom of inquiry, that you are highly competent as you draw on the skill of learning, and that you know enough to be aware of blind spots and the damage of ignorance. To “not be an expert” means that your attitude is one of humility, prompting yourself to continually ask the question, “What else can I learn about my job / work / profession? What else is there to discover? How can I improve?”

Remain a rookie. Continually play the novice. Never be an expert.

Posted in: leadership