Beware of Experts

expertsSeems like everyone is an “Expert” these days.  No matter what field of expertise you are in, someone has an expert opinion and they are more than willing to share with you.  Now there’s an old wise saying…on maybe it was an ancient Chinese proverb…or maybe it was just something we used to say when I was a kid, but it went like this: “Opinions are like Butts…everyone has one and most of them Stink!”

I don’t know why I feel the need to say something about this other than there are a lot of good intentioned people out there that are being taken advantage of  by “experts.”  And since I am an advocate of free thinking, I thought I would give you a few things to think about next time you are seeking advice about something. (which you should be constantly doing by the way)

1. No One is an expert on all things.  Lets pick on doctors for a minute.  Just because your doctor wears a white coat, spent half his (or her) life in school and has forgotten more things than you will ever learn, that doesn’t mean he’s an expert on all things.  That doesn’t even mean he’s an expert in all things health related.  It wasn’t that long ago when doctors were telling everyone that smoking isn’t bad for you.  And their are plenty of doctors today that don’t seem to want to acknowledge that what’s on your plate matters more than whats on your family history.  An expert in some things is not an expert in all.

2. Credentials do NOT an expert make.  Listen…I believe that education and training is extremely important.  It’s important to know what you are doing.  BUT with that said…I have met a lot of really incompetent people with a whole bunch of letters behind their name.  Don’t mistake someone’s willingness to endure schooling with their competence as an expert.

2.5 Credentials are often stupid.  While I’m on the subject of credentials.  We live in a day and age where you can become an ordained minister in less than a day.  I keep hearing these commercials on the radio about a local supplement store here in St.Louis where all their employees are “Certified Nutrition Specialists.”  HAHAHA!  I know that just means that they took some weekend class (realistically more like an hour or two) and someone printed them off a certificate.  Now all of a sudden they are qualified to recommend supplements and give you nutritional advice.  What a joke.  And this happens with nutritionists, trainers and even chiropractors.  I know chiropractors who take a weekend course in acupuncture, buy a bunch of needles at the vendor selling them outside the seminar and now all of a sudden they are an acupuncturist!  Yikes.

3.  Beware of the amateur expert.  I think that wisdom can come from anywhere.  And I think that the ability to listen and be open about new ways of doing things is important as well.  But crazy is sometimes just crazy.  There are people out there who have tried some goofy thing that “worked for them” and now they thing everyone should do it.  Like I said…I’m not against trying something new.   But just because someone else can get away with eating 30 bananas every day or claims they can eat 50 lbs of fruit every day, that doesn’t mean it’s good for everyone else.   But it doesn’t mean it’s not either.  This is where you have to use your brain.  Like I said before, it wasn’t that long ago that experts were telling everyone that smoking was ok.  You only have one body…be kind to it.

4. Expertise can come from anywhere.  Since the beginning of time, people have been learning things and passing down that information from generation to generation.  Some of the wisest and insightful people that you will ever meet, will likely have no credentials or even formal training.  This is one of the reasons I love the internet.  I am an information junky.  I’m constantly learning new things and the internet allows me to do that on my own terms.  But also, it gives people a voice that didn’t used to have a voice.  There are podcasts, websites, blogs, youtube channels and social media pages that are all  used as platforms for getting out information that is against the grain.  Stuff that isn’t mainstream.  Yeah I know…it gives the crazies an opportunity to speak as well.  SO WHAT!?!

Final Thoughts: If someone told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it? (a nod to my mom there)  Most of you wouldn’t.  And that’s because you are using your brain.  I would encourage you to do the same when dealing with “experts.”  Ask questions.  Listen to the advice of others.  Commit to being better tomorrow than you are today.  But USE YOUR MIND!  There is a lot of information out there and a lot of experts who are happy to give you advice for reasons other than your wellbeing.  Much of the stuff you have been trained to believe is wrong.  This should be evident by the health and wellbeing of our society.  We are Sick.  We are Fat.  We are dying.  And it’s only going to get better if we are willing to change.  It starts with YOU.