If anything, let 2010 mark the point in time where we stop relying on “experts”.
You see, the experts get us into trouble. They provide “insights” to guide our way when we think we don’t know the answer. Or they tell us we’re wrong.
It never fails to amaze me how many “experts” publish their predictions for the upcoming year. I wonder what would happen if we looked at all of their predictions from 2009 and compared them to what actually happened. (Wasn’t this Winter supposed to be warm?!)
But we eat predictions from experts up. We love to have the inside scoop and make our own predictions. It’s human nature.
If you take a look at many of the experts, most aren’t really that qualified, at least in a sense that we’d imagine. We’d like to believe that some sort of formal education took place in order to earn their lofty title, like education a doctor or lawyer goes through.
But, shockingly, most experts never earned a Harvard diploma.
They might have made been lucky enough to make an outlandish claim that became true to qualify them. Or they have “social proof” in their favor, with thousands of Twitter followers proving that they’re an authority. Some might have even had formal training or schooling of some manner.
I can’t tell you how many financial books I’ve read by average Joes who’ve failed with finance, did their research, learned what they did wrong, and shared what they learned through their failure. Those are real experts.
Still, one thing’s for certain: We don’t need modern-day prophets to hypothesize about the future. If they knew the future, then they’d be rich off the lottery or the stock market. Like Biff from Back to the Future II.
Let’s do a quick review:
- Most experts aren’t really experts, they’re just opinionated people who have at least a passing knowledge of a subject. But more importantly…
- We’re just as qualified to make claims as the experts.
Thanks to the Web, you can learn just about anything and become knowledgeable on about any subject. You and I are just as qualified as most of the experts. How many “social media expert” titles do you see on Twitter profiles? Apparently knowing how to toot on Twitter is enough to qualify…
So before you listen to an expert, ask yourself why he’s more qualified than you. (Here’s a tip: did he have to call himself an “expert”? Real experts don’t need to add their own title.) Trust and authority are earned, not found in a title. Even if it is a master’s degree from Harvard.
And what if you want to be an expert? Learn every day about your topic. Keep your eyes open. Pay attention to trends. Fail a few times.
And for the love of pete, don’t publish your yearly predictions at the beginning of the year. We both know you’re just guessing.