Become Your Own Expert - Christine Kane

by Christine Kane

This is Part 1 of a multi-part series on money, prosperity, clarity, and anything else that came up as I wrote it.  To view the main page of this series, click here.

“An expert is a person who avoids small errors as he sweeps on to the grand fallacy.”
– Benjamin Stolberg, Journalist & Author
(1891 – 1951)

I’ve succeeded for 13 years professionally as an independent self-employed artist. So, I’ve had to go through many lessons around money, prosperity, lack, abundance, and accounting systems. I hardly ever talk about this with anybody as there seems to be an unspoken agreement among artists not to talk about money — which is probably why it feels so odd to choose to write about it. I think those of us who aren’t corporate or who don’t wear a neck-tie are all supposed to leave money matters to the experts. I don’t think anyone should leave anything to the experts.

The problem I have with experts is that I no longer believe in them. (Oops.) I believe in teachers. I believe in coaches. I believe in wisdom. (Okay, I’m beginning to sound like Don Williams meets Deepak Chopra.) But not so much in experts who purport to know more about your finances, your body, your health, or your life than you. Here’s why:

An expert in any given field — let’s say money — is operating from a limited context. He sees only the entity of money. And he tends not to look at it holistically. If you see money as more than just a paper exchange and as an actual consciousness, then its context shifts. And if you add another field of consciousness to the picture — yourself, for instance — then the context shifts even more because you bring thought forms, beliefs, and emotions into the picture. No expert can claim to have knowledge of the full spectrum of a field of energy like money, especially as it applies to other fields of energy — like us!

An example of this limited context paradigm is the Western medical approach to illness. A Western doctor (the “expert”) will look at a symptom (i.e., constipation) and address it as an isolated symptom. He will prescribe a laxative and send the patient on his way. The remedy may work on that symptom, but may actually harm the system even more without addressing the cause of that symptom. An Eastern practitioner trained in Chinese Medicine will look at the patient as an overall system. The practitioner will take pulses, evaluate all of the organs, and consider the emotions and thoughts of the patient. Treatment is based on the full picture. But that practitioner won’t give a laxative. The problem is not the constipation. The problem is an imbalance that causes that symptom. Fix the imbalance and you heal the problem and the symptom goes away. This is not expert. It is wisdom. Most experts are not wise. They just know a limited set of facts. (Not to mention that the medical world is now under the very powerful influence of pharmaceutical companies.)

Of course, most people who defy the experts are typically shunned and cast out of their fields. Bruce Lipton, a remarkable biologist, comes to mind. If you ever get a chance to see him speak, you’ll love him. His book, The Biology of Belief, is recommended reading, especially for those who need the proof behind all these freaky new thought ideas…
Another reason I don’t like experts is that many mainstream expert opinions are born out of fear, and mostly just keep us scared, helpless, and reactionary. After all, they’re the experts and you’re=well, NOT. In the same way that I am wary of experts, I’m also wary of fear. Advice based in fear says, “Stay helpless. You have no power.” My feeling is that instead of messages like, “Be Scared. Be VERY Scared,” the messages should read, “Be Conscious. Be VERY Conscious.” Lasting solutions don’t come out of panic or fear.

Here’s the last reason: I have, at times, given my power to the experts, and I’ve had to do some defying myself. A major instance of this occurred when I got to have a session with a very famous success guru/author. I had admired this person deeply. (I still do actually.) At that time, I was just beginning to record my CD Rain & Mud & Wild & Green, and had borrowed quite a bit of money to begin the project. This author listened to my situation and told me to stop doing music and to get a job. Seriously. The author was very grave about this without ever having heard my music or my performance. For the next several weeks, I had to come to terms with the fact that this expert whose encouragement I so wanted had pretty much dismissed me and my life’s work. I chose to defy the expert though. I made the decision not to get a job, to finish with the CD and move in the direction of my intent. It worked. I’ve said this before, but that CD sold five times more in the first year than any other I had released. It continues to do very well, too.

(Side note: It cracks me up to watch the media use experts and “expert opinion” to hook viewers. The Weather Channel alone provides endless stage-banter material. The mere fact that TWC has gotten us all to believe that we need a Winter Weather Expert who sits at this Assemble-It-Yourself-IKEA-Expert-Desk is simply awe-inspiring. (“No, no, no, Jim Cantore, you can’t sit here, as you are not an expert. Only Paul Kocin can sit here! You go back out and cling to a telephone pole in a hurricane or something.”) I’m not exactly sure what rigors one must go through in order to become an expert in all-things-cold, but I would like to know why they don’t have a Summer Weather Expert? Surely there’s a margarita-sipping-fin-hat-wearing Buffet fan out there somewhere that could stand in on occasion)

So, here’s what I’m NOT saying: I’m NOT saying to turn your back on the massive amount of wisdom being offered out in the world. (Unless, of course, it’s the Weather Channel.) I’m saying to use it to make informed decisions and become aware of your own life, your own values, and your own situation. I could certainly see why a success author wouldn’t want to encourage an artist to go into debt to make a CD, especially since that author had probably heard a lot of bad CD’s along the way. But my life experience taught me to turn the other way and decide something else — to look at my life holistically and to rely on the power of my own intent.

Here’s what I AM saying: What I AM saying is that we are each called to be an expert in our own life, and then help other people be experts in theirs. Being an expert in your own life requires that you also become an expert in process as you keep changing and growing. Books, classes, lectures, workshops are all helpers and guidelines, but you ultimately will do best if you become your own expert. Is it harder to do this? Yes. Because you have to consistently be conscious and aware and present. And because you have to be willing to make mistakes sometimes and defy the grouchy experts — and when it comes to money this can be scary.

I’m also saying that in this context, money is not a segmented or separate part of your life. It’s tempting to say, “I don’t do money. I’m a teacher.” Or “I’m an artist. What does this have to do with me?” Your life is a whole picture. I’m going to keep that idea as a backdrop as I write this series…

  • Williams

    Hello. Great job. I did not expect this on a Wednesday. This is a great story. Thanks!

  • Monica

    What a concept. I love writing and presenting on gardening topics, but am often stymied by questions like “What is the best shade tree?” or “How should I take care of my lawn?” There are so many factors to consider–not only the soil, light, temperature, size, and moisture needs of the plant, but the asker’s own needs, wants, lifestyle, ability/enthusiasm for yard work, etc. etc. In other words, there’s no One Answer and I was hoping to provide as targeted answers as possible. Interestingly, many folks long for the easy, one-size-fits-all, no-ifs-and-or-buts answer.

  • christine

    Hi Ron, I just now caught this comment from a few weeks ago. (Guess I was in christmas land!) Thanks for the thoughts. Yes to the dining at different restaurants. I’ve gone through a surprising amount of internal changes in the last two years and have been constantly surprised by how much I just would prefer it all to be a simple equation and not have to continue the work of going deeper!

    Hi Mike, Thanks for the note! And what I’ve noticed is that “experts” get REALLY upset when they read that they are not wise. In order to be wise, you kind of have to get out of your head!

  • Mike Korner

    Great article (and great blog, in general) Christine. Your comment, “This is not expert. It is wisdom.” reminds me of this quote: “A wise man avoids getting into unpleasant situations from which the smart man manages to escape.”
    Most “experts” are smart but they aren’t wise.

  • Ron

    Great posting. Thanks.

    I do think that an inordinate amount of grief is caused by a failure to distinguish between cash flow, a career, and a calling. All are needs that need feeding. Ideally they are fed around one table, but there are, at a minimum, times in life that they dine at different restaurants. The trick is to remember that any one of the three can be ignored – but only for so long. Or so it seems to me.

  • christine

    Hi Caren…Nope. You’re not too late. I get comments on old blogs everyday! Wow. You’re really going for it with your children. I applaud you. I have a friend who is the same way with her daughter and I’m so inspired by how self-motivated and self-directed this child is. Have you ever considered starting a blog on this subject? More people need to see that there are people DOING this kind of thing, and how great the results are! Thanks for sharing…

  • Caren

    Don’t know if it’s effective to reply so *late* to a post… will you see this? lol But the bit about experts caught my attention this second time I’m reading it. We (my sons and I) are unschoolers. This means we live our lives, doing what we enjoy… they don’t follow any curriculum, and I don’t force any *learning* on them. It’s been an amazing journey, one which has challenged me to find my own passions, my own true self. AND one which has helped me grow into completely trusting my sons, and their ability to know and follow their own paths. They are 7 and 13 – and are amazing, creative, energetic, funny guys. As unschoolers, we are members of several un- and home-schooling communities… and I am always surprised by other parents’ willingness to follow the advice of learning “experts”. Believe me, they’re out there, people who charge money to tell us what our children should be learning, when; what to do when they don’t… essentially, people who prey on the insecurities of other parents.

    The only experts on how my kids learn are my kids themselves. They make choices about that every day. And who can know them better? Their inner voices, their dreams, their motivations, their learning style… all done without paying anyone! lol

  • christine

    Thanks Jane! Me too…

  • jane.

    * um, i’m glad you didn’t quit music.