Personal Improvement

The Expert Paradox: The Move from Being a Learner to Being a Knower

Updated on March 27, 2020 Updated on March 27, 2020
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"Learning never exhausts the mind." —Leonardo da Vinci
Table of Contents  
  1. Show Notes

When you become an expert at something, it stops the learning process and stunts your growth.  But knowledge is infinite and we should always be learning.

Charles Holland Duell was the commissioner of the US Patent and Trademark office between 1898 and 1901.  He once famously said, “Everything that can be invented has already been invented.”  Ok, that was debunked, he never actually said that but think about the ridiculousness of that statement.

If that were true, air travel, space travel, the internet would never have been invented.  That’s the point of the expert paradox.  You can never know everything about anything because there are new things to learn all the time.

For some people, the “expert” label becomes such an integral part of their ego, that they can’t bear to come down from their ivory tower to get back in the trenches to learn something new.  Soon enough the label no longer applies because they haven’t kept up with the movement in their field.

That is so hilarious and cute because you don't actually know anything.

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Learning should be an on-going process for everyone in every area of life.  There can never be a certainty that everything is known about anything.  I am a (very) amateur expert on Percy Shelley.

Everything he is ever going to write has been written.  But everything he has written has not necessarily been found.

Right now his magnum opus could be lurking in a trunk in someone’s attic, one day to be discovered.  The thought thrills me and if there is a topic you love, you should be thrilled that there is always the possibility of more to learn.

How does this relate to personal finance?

If you want to move up in your job, you had better always be learning.  Because if you aren’t you can bet there is someone younger than you who is savvier about the new developments in your industry who will happily take your place.

The same goes when it comes to your money.  HSA’s weren’t really a thing a few years ago but if you listened to Episode 171, you know they are a great place to park your money.

Read, talk to knowledgeable people, keep up with the changes around you.

Show Notes

Abbaye De St Martin:  A blonde ale.

LMM Tool Box:  Everything you need to manage your money in one place.


Candice Elliott - Senior Editor
Candice Elliott is a substantial contributor to Listen Money Matters. She has been a personal finance writer since 2013 and has written extensively on student loan debt, investing, and credit. She has successfully navigated these areas in her own life and knows how to help others do the same. Candice has answered thousands of questions from the LMM community and spent countless hours doing research for hundreds of personal finance articles. She happily calls New Orleans, Louisiana home-the most fun city in the world.

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