I hope you’re feeling really motivated at this point, if you have yet read the first article in this serie. You’re pumped up and ready to start in on your journey to become an expert. You know that becoming an expert is a means to an end. You have huge goals and dreams and you’re going to stop at nothing to make them happen. Becoming a respected expert in your field is a fantastic way to achieve your goals and get to where you want to be.
If there’s any takeaway I want to make sure you have down pat at this point, I want you to know that it doesn’t take a lifetime to become an expert. You can become an expert, and you can start within the next 30 days, or possibly even sooner.
This is something you can truly start today. After you read this book, you can develop your plan and follow through. You’ll work your way toward becoming an expert a little bit each day. Little by little, but faster than you think, you’ll develop a workable level of expertise that will take you far.
In his book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell tells us that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. He believes you that you need to spend this time intentionally as you try to become an expert.
That book has been extremely popular. So popular that the “10,000” hours is often quoted as fact. I agree that it might take that long to reach a certain level of mastery. But, I think that putting a specific hour limit on it might be too restrictive.
Remember— that level 5 expert has something to offer, even if he’s not at a level 10 yet. That level 3 expert has something to offer, even if she’s not at a level 5 yet.
I recommend that you not restrict yourself or discourage yourself in this way. Yes, you need to dedicate yourself and really focus on whatever it is you’re determined to become an expert in. But, you don’t have to wait “10,000” hours to call yourself an expert. That’s pretty short-sighted, especially when you have real goals that you want to achieve by showcasing your expertise.
Another author I admire, Jason Fladlien, has said that you can become an expert in 15 hours. His belief is that 15 hours of dedicated study, on any topic, will turn you into an expert. The thought is that you’ll know more than most people after 15 hours of solid study.
He also believes that it will help you — a lot— if you put a specific hour figure on your path to becoming an expert. It’s not the “15 hours” that’s important, it’s having an end-goal in mind.
It’s hard to wrap your mind around a lifetime of dedicated study. That seems impossible to start… how do you even know where to start? When you’re faced with a massive length of time like “10,000 hours” or “a lifetime,” it’s so daunting that you might give up altogether.
When you have an easy number like “15,” you’re a lot more likely to push through. 15 hours is doable, right? It absolutely is. There’s an easy end there, something you can achieve.
Do I believe you can become an expert in 15 hours? Yes, I do. It depends on the topic. It depends on how you define “expert.” It also depends on your goals and how you go about achieving those goals.
But, someone who really dedicates 15 hours of study is going to know more than the person who’s dedicated 1 or 0.
Is that the end-point? No. It’s a start, if anything. But, it’s a solid start and it’s more than the average person does. As long as you know more than the average person in your audience, you can consider yourself to be an expert.
My own philosophy falls somewhere in between. I do think it helps to have an end-point as you start on your path to becoming an expert. It’s not a true end-point, as this is a lifelong journey. You will eventually achieve your 10,000 hours. You will eventually achieve that master level… if you want to, and if you spend years and years becoming an expert in just one field.
In Jason’s case, I know him well, and I know that he loves to acquire expertise in dozens and dozens of different fields, and spending shorter time on each subject, so that he can talk and write with confidence, is what he’s going after. He can create an infoproduct about a topic where he has studied hard, and that infoproduct will be helpful to all the many people that haven’t spent the 15 hours or whatever amount of time Jason (or you or I) have spent.
In my eyes, that is a perfectly acceptable level of expertise, and what we write about or teach or talk about after that short amount of time will benefit our audience, who don’t want to spend those 15 hours because they have better things to do with their time.
I’m going to have you start your journey over the next 30 days. I want you to dedicate yourself to becoming an expert over the next month. Can you achieve a 2, 3, 4, or a 5 on the “expert” scale by that time? I think you probably can.
30 days is do-able. It’s easier than you think to become an expert; you just need a mindset shift.
You have to be willing to dedicate yourself to do it. You have to follow through and do a little bit every day. Spend an hour or more every day on this, for 30 days. You can do that, right? You need to really focus on this and develop a game plan that you can follow.
You have to be willing to acquire the knowledge you need. You have to be willing to read, look things up, come up with your own questions, interact with others, and possibly hire a mentor or coach. Those things can all help you over the next 30 days, and beyond.
If you want to succeed, you need to have a plan, goals, and the drive to follow through. You aren’t going to become an expert through osmosis. You aren’t going to become an expert just by deciding that you want to be one. You become an expert through study and practice.
It’s fine to decide that you want to become an expert. But, you have to know why. Why do you want to become an expert? Why is it so important to you that you’re reading this right now? What is it that you really want to achieve.
What are your goals? We’ve talked about possibilities for life, business, work, and more. Sit down and brainstorm what it is you really want to achieve. Maybe you think it will help you achieve more money and get more recognition. But, those things are an end-goal. Do you want an easier life? Do you want to live life on your own terms? What is your WHY for wanting to become an expert?
You also have to have the passion and drive to follow through. It’s easy to decide you want to do something in the beginning. Maybe there is an expert you admire and you really want to emulate that person. That’s not enough to carry you through to the end. You can’t just decide that you want to do this without feeling that drive and passion.
If you want to achieve true expertise, then you need to push yourself. You need to feel like nothing is going to stop you. You should really feel immersed in the journey you’re about to embark on. If you don’t feel that way or if you’re not sure, it’s time to do some more soul-searching.
Next, we’ll go deeper into why you want to become an expert and the purpose it will serve for you.