Ask the Readers When Can You Call Yourself an Expert?

Updated: February 22, 2012

Caleb Wojcik

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Welcome to another Ask the Readers segment.

When we first launched Expert Enough we talked about whether or not shortcuts exist to becoming an expert, but what if you are getting closer and closer to that "elite" level. When can you officially start labeling yourself as an expert?

Do other people need to give you the label first? Are there other titles that work just as well, but don't make it seem like you're boasting?

How long do you think you need to be doing something until you can call yourself an expert? What milestones or accomplishments make it OK?

We'd love to hear in the comments below.

Last time on Ask the Readers

Previously we asked whether you thought the 10,000 rule was the only way to become an expert.

One of our favorite answers came from Hugo in the comments of the post:

With the right approach, you don’t need 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery at something. There is always a better way. Find it.
Agreed. No matter what you are trying to do, there is probably a better way. Search for that better way and do it.

We also liked Kate's answer:

The 10K hour rule is too big a generalization. The MW definition of expert is “one with the special skill or knowledge representing mastery of the subject.” There are subjects that can be mastered in a week. On the other hand, I’ve been parenting for 21 years (I have five kids; that number is chronological, not cumulative) and I’ve fairly certain that there is no such thing as a “parenting expert.”

It seems the responses were split between those of you who agree with the 10,000 hour rule and those who don't.

But, back to today's question: when can you start calling yourself an expert?


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