We live in a time when where are many experts and many gurus in many fields. Sometimes gurus or experts in an area can literally spring up overnight or a matter of weeks or days. It can be difficult and times confusing on deciding when to take advice especially when those giving it are so certain and sure of it What gives people this kind of confidence? Even coaches who have won World Championships in sports are sceptical that their approach might work but some gurus will almost swear that if you do A and B, you will definitely get C. And some of the gurus will do so with no verifiable track record!
They say the only things certain in life are death and taxes. I would like to propose a simple test for the guru or expert. The test is quite simple really and hopefully it will not take too long to run it and get results. If someone claims to be an expert in something, determine to what extent their own advice has worked for them. Do they drink their own medicine? In other words is the guru their own best client, the best proof that what they say actually works. Let me give a few examples.
Let’s say that someone has brilliant strategies on how to create wealth. How has that strategy worked out for them? If it hasn’t worked out for them, why not? Why is someone who has tried and failed using a certain approach trying to recommend that very same approach to you? Why would it work for you when it has failed for them, who know the strategy and approach better and more intimately than anyone else? Why are they not wealthy if they have such great ideas or methods on how to become wealth? Surely if it was as easy as they say, would you not at least expect them to be able to show how it can be done.
If it turns out that the person who is giving expert advice on how to become wealth is actually struggling with bankruptcy or struggling immensely with their finances, how seriously will you take their advice? Chances are you will be very concerned if that were the case. How can someone be certain of success when they have no idea of attaining in their own life? How does that work?
The phrase Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence was popularised by Carl Sagan. If you come across someone making great claims, they have to be ready to back it up. If they are extraordinary claims it is only fair that they should be accompanied by extraordinary evidence. We do not live in a theoretical world. Things should be practical. If the guru does not have any evidence of their claims perhaps the way they present or market the claim should be revisited so that those who are listening to it know that it has not actually been proven. This might be necessary because sometimes ideas, products, services are marketed as fail-safe. People are told to do something with a guarantee of results. However, there is absolutely no accountability whatsoever if things go wrong. This might be one of the reasons why some industries are highly regulated. For example in financial services not just anyone can give financial advice to a customer because there are huge risks to this.
A person has to be qualified to give that advice. They need to have gone through the necessary tests and certification before they are worthy enough to talk to customers about the weighty matters of money. Now the guru, what tests or certification has he or she done before he gives you advice. The more we put gurus to the test, the more we stop wasting time on quick fixes and untested things that can ruin lives. We should be discerning in who we listen to and even more when it comes to implementing advice from dubious or untested sources.
It is certainly worth the investing auditing or checking out the source before you take risks in your life. It is easier to stop something before you actually commit than to embark on a wild goose chase and only realise later on that you have been taken for a ride. Often when things go wrong those who were generous in giving the advice are nowhere to be seen. You cannot complain about their advice then because it is too late and the damage has already been done. The hard work and research should have been done before you ran with something you were not completely sure of.
By also putting gurus and experts to the test we force them to raise their game and to take the people they deal with more seriously. Even the term guru should not be used willy nilly. It has to be earned. One needs to have the mileage, the results to show for it before such a term can be associated with them. Maybe some of these terms have become like cliches were anyone can claim to be an expert or guru. Imagine someone working up in the morning and claiming to be a doctor who can treat serious diseases and even more shocking if when someone takes them seriously. Well sadly this kind of thing is happening a great deal. It doesn’t have to be this way if we put our gurus and experts to the test.