The Sweet Pleasure of Disproving the Experts

Don't be cocky or careless, but do be willing to try it your way if expert advice seems to stop you
By James Walpole, FEE.org
November 8, 2019 Updated: November 8, 2019

Want to run long distance? Experts say you need nice running shoes, controlled diets, and fancy nutrition gels.

Want to start a podcast? Experts might tell you that you need a certain microphone, a sound mixer, a perfectly soundproof room, and conferencing software.

Want to get into photography? Experts might say you need to get a fancy camera and understand aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

Of course, they’d be mistaken.

You can become a runner without equipment. Equipment can help prevent injuries in the long term, but then again, people were also running long before running stores were a thing.

You can be a decent photographer without investing tons of time and money. If you know how to capture the right moments and you use the right light and angles, you can get good shots.

You can start a podcast, even if you don’t have much in the way of production capability. Just get a microphone and someone interesting to speak into it.

Expert opinions are great, especially when they help you to get a job done. But I get rebellious when expert advice seems calculated to scare the listener into dependence on experts (and the things they sell). I’ve seen myself and others get to that place of paralysis before. I get out by doing the things I’m not supposed to be able to do and doing them with a lot less knowledge and a lot fewer resources.

It takes a bit more work, but it’s well worth it to try things your way (without being cocky or careless) when experts tend to stand in the path instead of clearing it.

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, intellectual explorer, and perpetual apprentice. He is an alumnus of Praxis and a FEE Eugene S. Thorpe Fellow. He writes regularly at jameswalpole.com. This article was originally published on FEE.org.

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