I do not profess to be an expert on anything. As the comments and feedback trickle in on this recent adventure, mostly in Japanese, I feel the need to provide clarity. I am not an expert in anything. What I write are more musings, contemplation, ideas – not absolute rules, methods, facts, truths, because for each of us, these will differ. I have made enormous changes in my life, mostly for the positive, using the advice of those I have found wise, again, my personal belief, and I feel I benefited. I wish to share my observations, my personal wisdom in the hopes that it may appeal to and perhaps even benefit others.

On expertise; does someone who professes to be an expert on a topic really know everything there is to know about that topic? Certainly not. There is always more to know, more to learn, more to profess. At one point in history, it was professed that smoking cigarettes had health benefits. Now we know differently. Think of the technological advances made in the last one hundred years. The last fifty years. The last twenty years. The last ten years. The last two years. Always progress, always developments, always evolution. Our rate of progress increases exponentially with each passing day, week, month, year. Why do you think so many professions and certification programs require continued professional education? Because what we knew, as experts in a field, at the beginning of our careers, has evolved tremendously over the course of time, and as “experts” in that field, we need to know and apply those changes to what we do to be relevant, to be accurate, and in some cases, to be safe.

Again, what will “work” for some of us in self improvement, in personal development, will not work at all for others. And time is of the essence, as well. What worked well for me ten years ago does not now. Life is a journey, certainly we all realize that, and as we change, how we grow and learn, how we evolve, is bound to change, too. Or should. Using an analogy I employ in one of the classes I teach for work; you are making rice, you follow the instructions on the package, you get a certain result. You start adding a little more butter (always more butter), maybe a pinch of you favorite spice, you get a better result. And yet, the addition of your favorite spice may not appeal to others. Is life any different? Find your own spice.

I feel passionate about what I write. Of course, the level of passion is often impacted by the number of cups of coffee I’ve had, and the clarity of the delivery of my ideas, perhaps, by the size of the glass of wine! Regardless, there is always passion and I really want to share my ideas, my thoughts, my musings. Those who feel passionate about what they have learned, what they know, what they’ve observed often feel the need to profess that information to others. What they profess is nothing more than a collection of their thoughts, beliefs and observations, sometimes legitimized with corroborating evidence or opinions. In the end, it is still a collection of thoughts, beliefs and observations.

In college, all those years in college, what I learned more than anything else was, there are two sides to every opinion, to every theory, and the key to success is to be open to learning both sides, appreciating both sides, and then forming your own position based on your individual interpretation, knowledge and beliefs. What a professor professes is only what he or she currently holds valuable and true at that moment in time, based on the knowledge collected thus far. It is subject to change. As Socrates said, “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think”.

Additionally, how one professor delivers the content of the course will differ significantly from how another professor delivers the same content. And every student benefits from different delivery methods and certain teaching methods. So, in discussing life and personal growth and development, how one “expert” discusses the topic and presents their ideas, methods and opinions could differ considerably from how another “expert” professes their ideas, methods and opinions. No one is more correct than the other, only, perhaps, more appealing to you as an individual, at that particular point in time. Choose your favorite spice.

For these reasons, I keep my mind open to new ideas, new approaches, new methods and styles. I may profess my own interpretation of those ideas, approaches, methods and styles based on how I tailored them for my own adoption. It is up to you to decide what is of value and benefit to you, and what “professors” you prefer to have instruct you. At the end of the day, you will be your own professor, taking what you have learned and applying it in a manner that suits you. If you choose to share that with others, to profess, just know, your’s is not the only recipe for rice. Add your own spice.

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