Be your own expert and the power of yet

Everyone’s an expert on something. If you can’t think of one topic, you might be an expert on many. It often depends on your hobbies, interests and what kind of work you do. I live in a house with six people, and with different interests we are all an expert on something. Personally, I’ve got some things I know plenty about but I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an expert on any of them. However, changing the frame of reference to just yourself and the people who could benefit from the knowledge makes you an expert just like that *snaps fingers*.

For instance, I know a thing or two about the English language and friends sometimes ask me for help. However, I’d have a hard time explaining the perfect tense to sixth-graders. I’m not an ‘expert’ in the dictionary sense of the word, but can use my expertise to help others nonetheless.

Point is, take pride in what you know a lot about. Know that those are the things that make you unique, it makes you tick and it makes you worth more to yourself and others. Someone else would love to know the things you know, and vice versa. Also remember: what knowledge you feel you lack now is out there ready for you to learn.

First and foremost: become an expert on yourself. Know yourself. This is the journey of personal development. If you get the basics right and truly know yourself, the rest will come more naturally. Know your strengths and weaknesses and accept them. Realise that you can work on improving all of them. Which leads me to the ‘power of yet’.

A high school in Chicago gave students who didn’t pass a ‘not yet’ grade, instead of a ‘fail’. You can guess the outcome.

Carol Dweck mentioned the above in her Ted Talk: ‘the power of believing you can improve’ in which she talks about the power of yet and how it was used in education. This was well received by the students and can be equally useful for many things in our lives. I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful. It is not necessarily about your grades or achievements, it is the mindset. If you change your mindset into a more ‘not yet’ one, you will find that your own bars will be lower and you will be able to perform more and more. Hard work is still hard work, learning a new skill still takes time. There is hardly a way around this. Nevertheless, your view on what you can do will change when you’ve realised not the things you can not do, but the things you can not yet do.

I feel there are two ways of looking at it, small and big picture:

1) There is a skill or ability that I can’t yet perform, but I’m going to work on it.
2) With the amount of years we have in our lives, how can we exclude so many things from our potential skill set or abilities?

We tend to put unnecessary limitations on ourselves. Or make excuses for why we can’t do a certain thing (yet), some are valid, some are simply for a lack of proper trying. I for one, suck at playing the guitar, no skill whatsoever. I can blame it on my anti-dexterous fingers all I want, truth is, I’ve never really tried. At the moment I don’t really have the aspiration to learn it, but I’m comforted knowing that someday I will be able to play more than the first 10 seconds of ‘Nothing Else Matters’. I’m looking forward to it because I haven’t excluded it from my future skill set.

It’s up to everyone what they want to learn or not. That should be obvious, right? However, knowing your skill set was chosen by you and that you are open to learning more is a lot nicer than believing you have an internal list of things you inherently can or can’t do. The new world has little room for absolutes. You have the power to change it.

I can’t play the guitar and will probably never be an expert. I’m OK with that. Someday l’ll look for an expert to teach me. 🙂

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