I was recently reading my first post on this blog, published back in November 2009, when it was called the Community of Experts. In that post, I revealed a secret: experts are people just like you. Experts have lots of questions, more questions than answers in fact.
Experts are not smarter than you. Experts have simply made more mistakes.
Making mistakes is one of my greatest strengths, which is why I am such an expert.
An “expert” is someone who openly shares their mistakes (and the lessons learned from them) with you, hoping to help you learn the lessons and avoid making the same mistakes yourself.
Oscar Wilde once wrote that “experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”
I have found that the sooner I can recognize my mistakes, the sooner I can learn from the lessons they provide, and hopefully prevent myself from making the same mistakes again. The key is early detection. As I gain experience, I gain an improved ability to more quickly recognize my mistakes and thereby expedite the learning process.
Experience is popularly believed to be the path that separates knowledge from wisdom, which is usually accepted as another way of defining expertise.
However, expertise is not a static state, which once achieved, signifies an end to making mistakes.
Expertise is not static. Wisdom is not timeless. The only constant is change.
As the German poet and philosopher Friedrich von Schlegel once explained:
“One can only become a philosopher, not be one.
As soon as one thinks one is a philosopher, one stops becoming one.”
If you substitute “expert” for “philosopher” you would get what I call the Philosophy of Expertise:
“One can only become an expert, not be one.
As soon as one thinks one is an expert, one stops becoming one.”
Therefore, I am still becoming a data management expert — and so are you.