Being an expert is one of the heaviest burdens that a person can carry. Once a person reaches expert status, there are certain expectations that get attached and the weight can be crushing.
There is something about being an expert that often stifles exploration, even though a pioneering, exploration spirit is one of the key ingredients that makes an expert. When a person breaks through and becomes something of an authority in a given discipline, there are two forms of pride that subtly harden arteries and make progress difficult —
1) The notion that one knows all there is to know. It’s silly, but we are geniuses at fooling ourselves. When a person is an expert, he or she has accumulated a lot of knowledge and experience, and to acknowledge that one doesn’t know it all can be hard. As soon as one becomes closed off to the potential that more exists, as soon as advancement is seen as a personal challenge to one’s identity rather than enhancement to one’s achievements, a hardening has occurred.
2) Fear of looking foolish. Experts have worked, and studied, and failed, and tried, and eventually broken through. And when a breakthrough comes, so does honor and notoriety and status. In fact, the fruit of exploration can become the roots of fear that prevent the next breakthrough. Once a person becomes distinguished, who wants to risk reputation by heading out again, out into the unknown where fools and experts are on equal ground.
Let’s keep pressing for more!