No time? Listen to it instead
There’s no such thing as an expert. Expertise is a relative term. Someone believed to be an expert in a domain may be lower rung when it comes to true competence in it. Expertise is a process instead of something you can achieve. There are countless benefits to this notion. I’ll share the two things I learnt once I internalised this idea.
Before we begin, though, here’s what triggered this blog post. I’ve played around with graphics for more time than I know. It’s been a long time since I’ve made things as consistently as I have been for the past ten months or so. The last time I was this consistent was when I was freelancing, and even that depended on the orders.
Here’s how my approach on the same prompt of video games improved from the third MixAndMerge post to the twenty-third MixAndMerge post.
Some things scream improvement, while I can see others where I could’ve done things even better now. The idea is simply this: you keep doing something long enough, you’re bound to improve.
That’s what pushed me to combine a few notes I had and write this blog post.
Realisation 1: Anything is Possible
I’m often asked why I keep picking new things up or how is it that I manage to do that. I’ve written about the T-model in the newsletter as well before but to recap a bit. I firmly believe that the 21st century, especially the age of the internet, is the return of generalisation. The T-model says that a competent individual today has a broad area of knowledge and also possesses in-depth knowledge in some of those areas.
When you think like that combined with the idea that there’s no such thing as expertise, picking new things up doesn’t feel daunting, and neither does making mistakes. The mindset shifts simply to: I’m here to learn. If you believe expertise is a process, you keep learning. You also start avoiding the Dunning-Kruger effect. You get a student mindset instead, which is almost an opposite.
Every expert you know is continuously learning, reading, practising, trying. Every expert is striving towards expertise. Anyone who calls themselves an expert is no expert.
Realisation 2: Loving The Process
When you think from an expertise-is-a-process perspective, your competence stops becoming a means to an end. Instead, you start to enjoy the process of both learning as well as applying those learnings. The net moments of wonder you have when you’re studying or practising or creating increase, and you start to see this “I do it because I like it” attitude in yourself.
At least, that’s how it turned out for me. None of the things I’ve done in the past year have paid me anything significant. In fact, I’ve been burning money on most avenues, but I know the long-term ramifications and learnings are so abundant and beautiful that I don’t have to rush to make a quick buck.
In that sense, this year has been a hugely wholesome year for me because I learnt and at least wet my feet in various domains ranging from philosophy to graphics to audio and I loved each bit of it. The other day, I discovered a combination of a few tools on Illustrator, and that was the highlight of my day. The day I learned to clean an audio track with a few taps on a keyboard on Audacity was a day I still haven’t forgotten. In many ways, I’ve gone back to who I was as a teenager. I think that’s the entire point.
The entire world is running after expertise like it’s a destination. However, most people fail to realise that it’s a process. Expertise is a never-ending process where you keep striving to be better. I’ve learnt that if you keep at something, you’re bound to improve at it. Also, when you internalise that expertise is relative, trying new things feels less daunting. Plus, you start doing this for the sake of doing them, without any ends. The process becomes the end itself.
If you liked this post, you’ll like the newsletter which also reminds you of the previous week’s post. Also, if you’re absolutely inclined, consider buying me a coffee from that button down there to help support this website. Most important of all, please take care of yourself and those around you. These are trying times and I wish you all the health in the world.