Learning as a way to avoid expertise trap

I don’t know how many times I’ve stressed the importance of learning continuously in my blog. You can type “knowledge” or “learning” or “education” in the search box or read this post – Self-learning Mindset. However, I’ve kept it opened for everyone, be it students, teachers, bosses, workers, parents, rich and poor, young and old etc and even for myself as a reminder. Learning is a must for everybody and it is a lifelong pursuit.

Today, I want to reiterate the importance of learning to people who are already in the workforce. In the recent HBR issue, there’s an article that emphasized the need to “rededicate ourselves to learning and growth” to avoid falling into the expertise trap. I would highly recommend you to read the full article here. When you think you are an expert in an area and you don’t keep an open-mind to other people’s ideas and views, the risk of you overlooking the blind spots is high, which can then lead to poor execution and subpar results, as highlighted in the article.

Here’s an excerpt from the article that describes vividly the impact of falling into the expertise trap:

When we begin to identify as experts, our outlook can narrow, both in daily work and in times of crisis. We become reluctant to admit mistakes and failings, thus hindering our development. We distance ourselves from those “beneath” us, making it harder to earn their affection and trust. And as the dynamics of our businesses change, we risk being bypassed or replaced by colleagues on the rise, outsiders adept at learning new things, or artificial intelligence algorithms that can perform rote tasks faster and better than we can. Over time the very expertise that led to our success can leave us feeling unhappy, unsatisfied, and stuck.

Hope this will encourage you to learn more to stay current in the area of your expertise or even learn new skills. It’s not easy to carve out time for this especially when you are drowned with day-to-day work, meetings, emails, presentations, and by the time you are done for the day you are just mentally tired.

But there is no shortcut to this. I personally find that the only way is to force yourself everyday and intermittently if you have to. If you wait for the right time to do it, wait until you apply for a leave to spend the time learning, something else props up and you will forever lose the time and stuck in the expertise trap.

 

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