Find Experts To Look Up To
Regardless of the discipline you are pursuing there are experts in it, dead and alive, who have already scaled the mountain to reach a level of true mastery. You are doing yourself a huge disservice if you don’t seek out the work and ideas of these experts to use as a central element in your learning and growth.
We’re not talking about listening to a college professor’s dumbed down interpretations or looking at a Wikipedia page, we’re talking about going directly to the source and delving deeply into the real material, struggling with it and learning from it in its unabridged form. We believe the biggest reason more people don’t do this is psychological. It endangers your fragile ego when your subjective perception of how far along you are in your discipline is shattered.
But you can use comparison as a good friend if you let go of the false pride of your ego and focus instead on your authentic inner desire to grow. If you really want to grow you should welcome any and all nutrients. Awareness of the gap between your level and the level of masters in your field is a nutrient because it helps you see in no uncertain terms that the job is far from done while opening you up to the rich tapestry of ideas that will help you bridge the gap.
Finding experts to look up to doesn’t have to mean denigrating how far you’ve come but can just mean a more realistic outlook on where you actually are. Don’t let yourself be duped into accepting a few bullet points, a couple of lectures, or a couple of chapters as an acceptable level of knowledge about the work and ideas of the masters. If you delve as deeply as you can your own work and ideas will flourish in a way that never would have been possible without this encounter.