A lot of knowledge, but nothing to show for it

A friend said, “My life is like my relationship with Brazilian Jiujitsu: a lot of knowledge, but nothing to show for it except injuries.”

I’ve often felt the same way about topics I know a lot about, where on the outside, there’s not really anything that indicates that I have this expertise.

I think one solution is to make something that shows what you know. You can create a blog post, website, side project, contributed article in a publication, podcast, YouTube video. It’s pretty powerful to send someone a link and say, “I made this.”

It also saves you a lot of energy from explaining common questions over and over. You can point to a link and say, “I discuss that here.”

With publishing things online being accessible, it’s a lot easier to put forth your knowledge and show the world what you know about. The thing that stopped me from doing it was being afraid of people judging, criticizing, and saying, “What right do you have to talk about that? What do you know? You’re not enough of an expert to talk about that.”

Actually, I am. I think many of you are too. I think that there are a lot of smart people who are holding back on sharing their opinion, because they think they need to do more research or learn more about something before being able to state an opinion.

You should be well-informed, for sure. But after a certain point, let’s just admit to ourselves that we’re scared of having someone disagree with us or point out an edge case we hadn’t considered. There will always be people who disagree. There will always be edge cases. If you have a baseline knowledge of a topic, and a passion for it, chances are that you’re a lot more ready to state an opinion than you might think.

I had a friend recently say that he wanted to start a travel blog. He said, “I don’t know if I have enough international travel experience though.” He has been to almost every major city in the US at least half a dozen times and to almost every continent in the world.

He definitely has enough experience to write a travel blog. And no one ever said a travel blog had to be about international travel. In fact, it could be more interesting to do a more focused topic.

For example, a travel blog about interesting bathrooms around the world. At nice restaurants, run down places, local people’s homes.

Or a travel blog with anecdotes of things that happen at airports, conversations overheard, and things like subtly sneaking a look at people’s boarding passes while in line to board at Southwest, so you can see if you can rightfully claim your spot in front of them.

The point is, smart people tend to doubt themselves because they know how much bigger the world is. Dumb people tend to think they know everything, and will loudly and regularly state their uninformed opinions with conviction.

If smart people stay quiet, and dumb people fill the world with content and noise, we’re missing out on the opinions of smart people that are truly worth hearing.

Don’t deprive the world. Say your piece.

UncategorizedWes Kao