The Instant Expert Syndrome

The Instant Expert Syndrome

November 16, 2017 1 Comment

The instant expert syndrome is a term I use, referring to someone who feels they know everything they need to know and close down opportunities to learn new things. Ironically, it's quite easy to accidentally become an instant expert yourself without even knowing it. I should know, because I've been an instant expert many times in my career. Of course, I eventually realized I didn't know nearly as much as I thought.

In truth, there were many moments in my early career, where I thought I was a perfect expert. Where I thought I knew all the important details. I remember taking my first horsemanship class as a teenager. That's all it took. I knew enough to get started in my career as an expert horse trainer. I knew what I needed to know. I confidently walked the planet as the sole possessor of important, almost secret, horsemanship knowledge. 

That cocky attitude was abruptly knocked out of the picture, when one particularly challenging horse helped me find the hard ground, head first. I already knew where the ground was. So I didn't think it was so important. But apparently, this horse thought I should get reacquainted with it. 

After holding tightly to the ground for a few minutes for fear of spinning off the planet in a dizzy frenzy, I regained my composure and reset my expert status to NOT Expert.

It's happened more than once. Unfortunately! Over the years, from time to time I would begin to feel like I had all the knowledge I needed again. And through some force of fate, another clever horse would help me get re-acquainted with mother earth. Each time I would have to re-set my expert status. Not to say I didn't have expertise. I did and I do. I'm very good at what I do. It's just that at times, I thought I had it all! I didn't need to learn more. Which of course is folly. There is always more.

I'm lucky, in more ways than one. First because I'm not dead. I've had some ouchy falls. But second, because I've been humbled. I've been lucky enough to realize that there is more to learn, no matter how much I learn. 

Did you hear about the guy who won the "MOST HUMBLE AWARD" of the year? As soon as he accepted the award. The committee took it away from him:)

Falling to injury isn't the only humbling experience. I've had people tell me I've got more to learn too. At times, I didn't believe them. But for the most part, I do now. I always want to stay open. 

And that's the big problem with "Instant Expert Syndrome." It causes people to close up. They don't need to learn more, or check out new things. Because they've got what they need. 

Another problem with IES or instant expert syndrome, is that when some people share their basic knowledge with the world, they leave no room for other ideas. Instant experts seem to believe that their way of doing things is the only way of doing things.

If you've ever said any of the following statements, you could have accidental and hopefully, only temporarily, become an instant expert.

"Parelli is the only way!"
"Dressage is the only way!"
"Natural Horsemanship is the only way!"
"Vaquero style is the only way!"

Basically... if you've ever said that anything containing these words: "the only way to do something." You've fallen prey to instant expert syndrome.

The good news is... you wont stay there. It's impossible. Everybody snaps out at some point. My hope is that you snap out sooner than later. Because horse people, who think they know everything, can get hurt like me. Or they can get stuck in a rut, and not make progress for years. Or they can hurt horses without even knowing it. 

Horses get hurt because a 'know it all trainer' will often impose the only strategies they have to fix problems. Some horses don't cope well with some strategies. It's better to have thousands of techniques and perspectives on horsemanship. It's better to see the whole picture.

All real experts know that they are not experts at all. They are just students. Constantly learning. Constantly growing. They share from their passion and they share with a cautious, open minded attitude to other ideas. 

When I first learned how to do a flying lead change, (a simple, yet not easy maneuver to achieve with horses), I thought there was only one way to do flying lead changes. Now I can give you a dozen different ways to train flying lead changes.

There is always more to learn. 

In my opinion, that is what makes a true master. A master is someone who is, and always will be... a great student. Always observing, always learning.

And that's why I want you to take my Mastery Courses. Not because they are the only way to do something. But because they will give you knowledge. Knowledge that I can guarantee, isn't secret, but is rare. Only a handful of people in the world intimately know what I want to share with you. There are details within details. There are things hidden within simple experiences. There is power in this knowledge. 

That may sound too "expertly" ... Let me re-phrase. It's awesome. I believe in it. And I believe that you will grow and experience new freedoms by taking the courses. 

I've had the good fortune of studying with real masters. People who not only achieved great things, but continue to learn new things, even today. People like Pat and Linda Parelli, Buck Brannaman, Walter Zettle, Phillipe Karl, the late Ray Hunt, David and Karen O'Connor, and more. I want to share with you the things those masters do, and sometimes don't even realize they're doing. I want to share the basics, the whole picture, and the minutia. 

Join me on the quest to mastery! Invest in your education.


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1 Response

Sherrill Shotigian
Sherrill Shotigian

November 22, 2017

Loving your articles!

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