Is Everyone Really an Expert?
Do you find certain song lyrics stick with you?
I wish I could take credit for what I’m about to discuss but the truth is, it all stems from an incredibly poignant line a great friend wrote in a punk song.
Perhaps not the traditional place you’d find deep insight, but I was truly impressed how he only needed the last line of a chorus to make such a wise insight combined with a powerful comment on today’s society.
I would love to share the lyrics and the song itself with you, but knowing the work that’s gone into this recent endeavour it would be truly unfair to spoil the release and risk the work not getting the reaction it deserves. So I’ll do my best to summarise it for you here…
Perhaps you’ve noticed an increase, particularly of late, in the huge increase in people selling courses, e-books and a host of other educational content of this nature. And with the current situation in the world, it’s undoubtedly an action that can be viewed as a highly practical business decision.
You’ve got to stop and admire how great it is that technology has advanced to a point of such accessibility that there’s a level of ubiquity and that everyone is now able to share their message with the world.
Knowledge of content creation techniques and expensive production processes are no longer the barrier they once were and consequently it’s fantastic that lots of powerful and important messages which once may have struggled to have been heard will now be able reach the global audience they deserve.
However the other side of this, is that where in the past the ‘barriers’ of cost, access and equipment in some respects functioned as a filter through which only the more ‘valuable’ content could get through. You needed someone with a certain level of power to believe in your message, for it to jump through the hurdles to reach an audience on the larger scale.
If you’re reading this, perhaps nervous to start or continue content production, please know that this entire blog is written only to encourage you and hopefully offer a viewpoint that will be of some value to maybe one potential content creator out there. I have made some truly terrible content in my time and it’s only through learning and practice that in my experience, you can refine your craft to be ever-increasingly of more value.
But the point I’m making here is not about quality, it’s about the value of your content.
And my thoughts on that subject have been shaped in the most part by one incredible gentleman, who through great fortune, we were able to spend some time with towards the end of his life.
As an American teenager, although too young to enlist because of his age, he voluntarily signed up to fight in World War II, surviving situations that someone such as myself truly cannot imagine. He later went to work in Hollywood on productions with the world’s top talent before later coming to the UK to gain a PhD, becoming heavily involved with the academic department of one of London’s top universities. I know this barely scratches the surface of his endeavours and apologise that my knowledge of his life will fall far short of fully encompassing what he truly accomplished.
We were incredibly lucky that so much of our time together was with the intention capturing thoughts and opinions garnered from his life to share with others. And although libraries could be filled with the ideas he shared, there is one thing that stuck with me more than anything else.
Every time without fail, before we rolled the cameras he would want to make it explicitly clear to us all that…
“This is what I’ve learned and how I’ve lived my life, if it helps you that’s great, but I’m not telling you how to live your life”.
It was a sentiment communicated with far more elegance than I have captured in paraphrasing his words here, but I was truly taken aback by a man who even with a ‘life CV’ such as his, still had no intent of preaching that his way was the only or best one.
Fast-forward to today, if you’ve been on a social media platform there’s a very high likelihood you’ve encountered some content that was trying to sell you some expert opinion on a subject that you could use to your own benefit.
I do not wish in any way to pass judgment on whether the information contained in these courses, e-books and other mediums are worth the value they are being sold for…
… but what I do know, is that arguably one of the most valuable things I think I will ever learn in life was given to me by someone who had the humility to believe that even with a life of such intense varied experience and great achievement, he still hadn’t earned the right to tell you his way was the best.
So how does this help you with your content production?
If there’s one thing you take away from reading this please let it be that it removes the pressure of you to have to portray yourself as an ‘expert’ all the time. We are all human, sometimes we succeed, sometimes we fail, all we can control is our effort and intention.
My intuition says that the people who are truly experts are out there achieving incredible levels of success and educating others by the way they conduct themselves and run their business operations on a day to day basis. They are educating with their own actions first and formeost.
Please do share your thoughts and insight, but my intuition says it will be better received without having the audacity in thinking or trying to make yourself look like the absolute authority in your field (even if you are!).
Far be it from to tell you that my beliefs and intuition are the right way, but all I can say is that these thoughts have helped me out in life. If they’re a help to you that’s great but they are by no means the right or only way.
And I wish you every success,