Thursday, April 25, 2013

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Expertise: How to get it

Having expertise empowers us. 
Expertise gives us capability. Expertise allows us to gain employment. Expertise affords us respect. Expertise gives us unique perspective. Expertise changes our thinking. Expertise begets expertise.

I have noticed that most experts share certain traits; the way they approach what they do can be modeled by practically anyone ... expertise, is in my view a 'teachable' trait/skill.

Expertise usually begins with passion. Passion is the fuel that propels us toward expertise. Without passion, we may still get there but it's a hard slog. 

Experts love to delve deep. They are curious about the subject matter and are unsatisfied with shallow levels of understanding or cursory knowledge. They want deep understanding.

Experts, even in the early stages of learning, trend toward and develop a sense of finer and finer distinctions between things that their lay counterparts do not see or appreciate (eg: eskimo's have many, many ways of describing 'snow' as opposed to most people who only have one word to describe it).

Experts tend to drag others along with them. Usually, experts have a passion that is infectious; and they are often happy to share their expertise with other people. In sharing their understanding, experts are thereby continually expanding on, clarifying and crystallizing their body of knowledge. In short, teaching others, helps build expertise.

Most of us can readily model these traits that most experts share - and thereby set ourselves on our own path toward expertise. Invest in those things we are passionate about. Delve deep; cultivate a palette for finer and finer distinctions between things that at first glance, seem very similar. Contrarily, find the similarities between things that at first glance, seem to be very different. Share with others; talk about your subject matter with like-minded people, with people more expert or less expert than yourself; write about it, read about it, think about it. 

The kernel of expertise is already within each and every one of us  - we need to become experts and developing expertise. In my view, this is what the school-system should be all about. 

JBW 2013



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1 Comments

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"In sharing their understanding, experts are thereby continually expanding on, clarifying and crystallizing their body of knowledge. In short, teaching others, helps build expertise".

So true John, the teacher becomes the taught. In writing my own blog I have spent hours researching what others have written on the subject, comparing and contrasting my thoughts vs. theirs. The result: a much better understanding of the subject.

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