GLOSS Issue 20 FEB 2015 - Page 40

Is the rise of “the Expert” Think for I love how these days the access we have to technology, social media, and online journalism leads to everyone being an expert, “The Everyday Expert,” as Daniel Gulati in the Harvard Business Review expressed. Think about those new mums searching Google pages to find the perfect remedy for their newborn’s symptoms and diagnosing any gurgling sound with good ol’ gripe water! Come on, I know you’ve done it too! How many times have we gone to Google before an actual medical appointment, mortgage meeting, or financial planning consultation? Have you noticed that everyone around you now seems to be an expert at something? How good are your friends and family at providing unsolicited advice on your moods, career, parenting skills, or financial direction? Are you someone who receives hundreds of emails and blogs from many sources just to find the one thing you hadn’t thought of before? In the past, we received our most important life advice from a counselor, business accountant, solicitor, doctor, or financial planner. People with years of qualifications, training, and specialised knowledge. However, today we herd together to follow the latest thing trending on the net – just out of popularity and hype – sharing opinions rather than facts and evidence. What will become of our nation if we continually allow our children to succumb to outsourced “surrogate thinkers” (explained by Patrick O’Shaughnessy, Millennial Invest). Have we become so desperate for ‘celebrevice’ that we now reach for anyone perceived to be better-known, more intelligent, or better-looking to provide us with the solutions, rather than continue to investigate fully and use the specialties of someone with qualifications and experience? Are we put off by the costs, fees, and expense of seeking credible, knowledgeable, and factual advice, that we’d rather make crucial life mistakes to save a mere “dollar”? Or is it our lack of self-worth that is key to this new disorder amongst us, seeking a reality promised by another, the untouchable dream, the certainty that someone else has been there before and the comfort of assurance this will be a valid outcome? Are we willing to part with $25,000 and upwards to be taught, mentored, and candy-coated by these so-called experts? I think not. In reality it’s an excuse for many to continue to hide in the shadows with the fear of having to stand alone should others not follow. Is the bittersweet ideology that follows the path of someone who has been there before the only way to achieve your own life’s success? Haven’t we been guilty of this at some point in our own lives? Time to stop and think! “ If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you; but if you really make them think, they’ll hate you. — Don Marquis ” Interestingly enough, as Patrick O'Shaughnessy details in the Tetlock’s study: “ It made virtually no difference whether participants had doctorates, whether they were economists, political scientists, journalists, or historians, whether they had policy experience or access to classified information, or whether they had logged many or few years of experience in their chosen line of work. The only consistent predictor was, ironically, fame, as indexed by a Google count: better-known forecasters—those more likely to be fêted by the media—were less well-calibrated than their lower-profile colleagues. ” Scary thought indeed!