Is there a difference between an expert and a beginner?

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Adam Fisher of Soros Fund Management says in Tim Ferriss’ book Tribe of Mentors that finding an area of expertise is a bad idea. Just learn how to learn and we can figure things out.

That’s an interesting thought – because we become experts by getting to know almost all there is about something.

How do we do that?

We study and we practice.

When we are experts – when we know something, then we’ll come up with adaptations on existing ideas and even our own original ideas.

On this… all too often people say that everything has already been written. There is nothing new under the sun.

But we’re discovering new things all the time. New species, new places, new ways of understanding how our brains work.

So, how do we learn?

We study and we practice.

We take in ideas, think about them, let them take root and grow in our minds.

Perhaps the problem is that we are looking for signs. Looking for validation.

If we appear to be experts – if the world accepts that we are experts – then does that make us expert?

Is it our expertise that shines through? Or are other people just so good as coming across as expert that they fool the rest of us?

What is the point of all this?

The point is that there is a difference between what is and what appears to be.

When we start learning something new – we don’t have to pretend to know it – we can be open and take in ideas and just learn.

When we have many years of practice behind us – we don’t have to pretend that we know – we can be open and share our ideas.

It’s the bit in between that can get us – the part where we have learned enough to be dangerous and think we know, but not where we know how much we still have to learn.

It’s very Zen. Before Zen, mountains are mountains. Then mountains are not mountains. And then, mountains are once again mountains.

It’s just going to take time to get it.

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