September 2, 2010

Beware of the Self Proclaimed "Expert"

In the industry of fitness and health everyone is an expert. I am sure it is like this in other professions, but I only really know this one.  I spent some time yesterday reviewing a few websites of fitness leaders, trainers, and yoga/pilates instructors on the Island. It appears everyone has a website now and everyone is touting their expertise in areas from pilates, yoga, back health, and even mind fit (something that has obviously taken flight whilst I was sleeping). At any rate, I was reading statements like "Let me inspire you to live your best life", and advertisements on the latest DVD or book written by the leading expert in the area.

This leads me to the question of the there such a thing as an "expert"?  And if so, what makes an expert?

In my opinion, a combination of life experience, professional experience, intense self honesty and reflection, extensive education, and an ability to critically think is a good start. I know many academics in the area of exercise science and psychology who don't proclaim an "expertise" let alone someone with a certificate in training. The most educated, most revered researchers in the world know they don't know.  That's the trouble with knowledge, the more you know; the more confused you get.

I'm not inferring that I am an expert in my field in anyway. I have never made this claim nor do I like it when others promote me as one. I can literally lie in bed at night trying to figure out what makes people change and why is it not as easy as just knowing what to do. I think I have a few ideas and have proven their success working with people, but I still have no clue. There are many theories that help to explain events and behaviour, but they are just theories...nothing more and nothing less. However, I believe, it is important to understand these theories just the same. They serve as the jumping off point and help to avoid the "blame game" (i.e. If you want to loose weight, just eat less and exercise more. - classic statement).

So I guess my message here is be very very aware of the self proclaimed "expert". They are usually the ones that possess  little in-depth knowledge and have the ability for amazing self-promotion (something I envy).  I believe that those who inspire us to "live our best life" (such an Oprah statement) are the ones that do so silently and without awareness. They are our true role models and the ones that are able to self-examine, give to others unconditionally, and practice honesty with self and everyone else. 

Those that spend their lives in pursuit of knowledge are the ones that understand the to truly "know" is to have no clue!

That's all I got.....K

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