We are taught from a young age to trust doctors, lawyers, teachers, and other professionals because they are the “experts” and much wiser than us. We are to follow their advice without question.
Unfortunately, after 58 years, I have learned from the school of hard knocks that the “experts” with letters after their name are often either wrong, uninformed, or intentionally pushing you in a direction that is not to your benefit because they have an agenda. A common joke I am sure you have heard goes something like this: “What do you call the person who graduated last in medical school?… A doctor.”
I have learned that I must use my common sense, logic, and analytical ability to discern the truth from lies or misinformation. But trying to figure out what information and data are beneficial and which can harm or push us in the wrong direction is not always easy.
I have example after example of so-called experts who have given me bad advice over the years. Of course, we all seem to accept that salespeople will lie to you about almost anything to make the sale. Given I am a salesman and employ a team of other salespeople in my business, this stigma has been something that we regularly have to overcome. But I accept that my starting point is one of distrust when I approach a new relationship. I then work to provide data and evidence to back up any claims or advice I might provide. “Professionals” often have an attitude that their words are not to be questioned and that you should trust them completely.
I have concluded over the years that I need to trust my “gut” instinct when I hear something that doesn’t smell right. In my younger days, even when something an expert told me did not make sense, I trusted that they were the experts and wiser than me, so I blindly followed. Often, I ended up regretting that blind faith after I was steered wrong.
Probably the most blatant example of this came from my former doctor. He insisted that my refusal to take cholesterol medicine after I had tried it for several months, with harmful side effects, was a significant health risk. He said that “studies had shown” that you cannot have a low enough cholesterol level. He said that it was wise for every human being to take a statin drug for life. That made no sense to me, and I rejected that advice on gut instinct. After researching the topic further, I found his advice to be without any medical evidence or studies to support it—furthermore, the need to keep your cholesterol low to be (at a minimum) a questionable practice. I don’t know if he was getting a commission on selling the drugs he was prescribing or was just on a crusade, but either way, his tenure as my doctor ended there.
I have learned that my inner knowledge has more power than my limited human abilities. When I follow these urges and promptings, I always benefit. When I do not follow my intuition, I lose and then get mad at myself for not listening to what has proved so many times to be correct.
Of course, there are times you need expert advice, and it would be foolish not to seek it out and pay for it when the subject at hand is not in your natural wheelhouse. But make sure that the “expert” you follow does know his or her stuff.
You must be a powerful Advocate for yourself, and not just turn over essential things to outside people UNLESS you have had a personal experience that proves they are the real deal and will work on your behalf for your highest and best good.