Expert = Having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.
An expert is usually someone who is seen as an authority, such as a tutor, a doctor, a teacher, a master, a sage, an instructor, a guru, a coach, or a trainer.
For this article I am not referring to "experts" such as the ones who can tell you all about the Scottish Wars of Independence or the ones who can explain the Bear and Bull markets.
I am talking about the ones that we look to for guidance or advice concerning our physical, mental, or spiritual condition.
The everyday issues of life that we all face.
I would personally consider my significant other, Betty, an expert although she is not technically classified by any of the titles mentioned above, nor does she desire to be. But by definition she has a "particular knowledge derived from experience".
It was a 6 year journey for her, but in that time Betty lost over 140 pounds and has kept it off for an additional 6 years and counting! I'd say that pretty much makes her a weight loss expert.
There were days, or even weeks, in which she didn't stick to her eating or workout objectives for one reason or another. She never beat herself up over it, instead she would just refocus her mind and get right back into doing what she wanted to do - what she felt she needed to do.
She experimented with various diets and exercise regimens to lose her weight and get to where she wanted to be. Sometimes she began eating a particular way and it would have amazing results - for a while.
When her eating ways stopped producing changes she would then have to shift or change her way of eating to get continued results.
It was the same process with workout routines. There was a whole lot of trial and error and there was not one thing that seemed to work for her entire journey. There were always changes and adjustments that were needed to be made as her body adapted to what she was doing.
But every step of the way it was all done by diet and exercise alone.
When people would find out about her weight loss journey, many of them would have questions regarding how she did it. Usually they would tell her that they have tried or considered losing weight themselves.
I would notice that when she would tell them how she achieved her dramatic weight loss she would get a disheartened "oh", as a response.
This response was almost always coupled with something along the lines of, "I could never give up my (insert favorite foods here)."
I would see this pattern of conversation play out time and time and time again.
It was astonishing to me, to witness so many people get first-hand knowledge from someone who has achieved something above and beyond what they were wanting to accomplish, and suddenly disregard it all when they hear about the work and the sacrifices that it takes to get there.
It got me thinking -
There is no one singular way to do something and there isn't just one reason why we do anything that we do.
There is a number of reasons, I'm sure, why we don't listen to the experts who are in our lives, those who we are familiar with.
This is just a theory that I have surmised on ONE of those reasons:
Looking for Something
Many people are looking for something. Something different. A change. They're looking for better health, a certain spirituality, or that seemingly elusive peace and happiness.
Many of these same people have someone in their life who has what they are looking for. That person is rarely asked how they got to where they are, how it is that they accomplished what they did.
If and when they are, their ways are always dismissed as taking too long or being too hard or we come up with some other reason to not have to listen to them or accept their advice - their knowledge gained from experience.
It's not what we WANT to hear.
We spend so much time and energy hoping to find some magical quick-fix for what troubles or ails us. Not finding it may create confusion because we want to believe that there's a certain way to get something, which requires not having to put in a whole lot of work.
We don't want to listen to the ones who have actually felt and experienced and understand the struggle.
Instead, we'd rather turn to books or to the electronic gurus, the ones on the TV or the internet. They will tell us how we can achieve the results that we desire in the quickest and easiest way possible.
How strange; we'll listen to the experts who are trying to sell us something, but we won't listen to those who are closest to us who have no intention other than to see us improve our well-being.
Nevertheless, we want our Top 5 lists. We want everything summarized and wrapped up nice and neat in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step plan.
We want change but we want convenience…we just want it all on our own terms.
When we look to someone who is not an immediate part of our lives for those answers then it becomes easy to dismiss them. If we don't agree with them or we don't believe them then we can simply turn the channel or turn them off or keep scrolling.
We can ignore it and it goes away. We can go back to our comfortable and cozy world and doing things the way we WANT to do them.
But if we look to those in our lives that have been there and have the experience for our answers, we have to face ourselves and the cold, hard truth that we may be wrong or that there is no easy way. That can be painful and uncomfortable.
It's much easier to listen to someone we don't know. Someone that we can easily ignore or turn off when they say those things - the things we don't want to hear.
In truth, an expert on the everyday issues of life doesn't give us something that we didn't already have, they just guide the way. They help us to see what has been there, within us, all along. They have a personal knowledge, gained from experience.
Everyone wants answers and as long as we get answers that we like, we’ll keep listening. As soon as we start getting answers we don’t like or we don’t want to hear, we stop listening.
We don't listen because we have fixed ideas and beliefs.
We don't really want the truth, we want our traditions and beliefs to remain intact.
We can agree or disagree with others about what they know or don't know...or we can emulate those who we know that have what we are seeking.
And nobody is coming to tell us to turn off our devices and get off the couch and move. Nobody is coming to write out our life plans for us.
Nobody is coming to give us permission to pursue our dreams.
Nobody is coming to give us some magical answers to make life easier.
No one can.
A real expert has already done the work. They know how hard and difficult the path is. They know of the sacrifices required to stay on the path. They have already experienced it.
That experience gives a completely different insight than watching or reading about it.
The real issue is not in what others can offer us.
The real issue is not what others have that we don't.
The real issue is in understanding ourselves, experimenting, and discovering what works for us.
No one ever said it would be easy - except maybe the "experts" who are trying to sell you something.
There is no magic answer or magic pill. Your spirit, your mind, your body, and what you do with them - that is the magic.
"Doctors won't make you healthy. Nutritionists won't make you slim. Teachers won't make you smart. Gurus won't make you calm. Mentors won't make you rich. Trainers won't make you fit. Ultimately, you have to take responsibility. Save yourself." - Naval Ravikant
Photo by Grant Krasner