Who is an expert, really?

Several years ago my wife and kids and I were up in Bracebridge, Ontario visiting some family. My daughter got a strange bug bite. And since it looked weird we went to the local walk-in clinic.

I was totally impressed by the doctor. First, he listened and didn’t speak down to us. Second, he was very knowledgeable. And third, he said he needed to double check something he was unsure about. So he went down the hall and took a medical book off the shelf to confirm a possible diagnosis.

Everything turned out to be fine. But to me it was a demonstration about what an expert should be like. He was self-confident and humble enough to admit he wasn’t sure about something; so he went and looked it up.

A general definition of an expert is someone who has gained a high level of competence in a specific field. But I’d like to add a bit more. Experts are people who have gained a high level of competence in a specific field… and are honest enough to know the limits of their own knowledge.

The Bible speaks about a partnership between humility and wisdom. Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

With humility comes wisdom.

If you’re looking for some wisdom from someone, be cautious when you come across those who think they already know everything there is to know. They may be overplaying their hand because of their pride and desire to look impressive.

And if you’re the one who other people seek out for counsel or knowledge, cultivate humility. The true experts aren’t just the ones with a high level of competence in a specific field, but are honest enough to know the limits of their own knowledge.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

By Matthew Ruttan

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