What do you know? What is your specialized knowledge? Why do you consider that your area of expertise? Most consider the field they went to school to study is their specialized knowledge and unfortunately some think that is when the knowledge gathering ends.
General knowledge, although important, won’t necessarily get you to the level of success you want. Specialized knowledge could get you to the top of your field.
Now don’t let me mislead you, just because you went to college for a specific field doesn’t really make you one of the experts in the field. Education is a great start but to truly become a subject matter expert (SME) you need to devote time into REALLY learning about your field. Anyone can go to school to receive a piece of paper to get you in the door for a job, specialized knowledge may keep you in that job, or better yet, get you that advancement.
Earle Nightingale stated that you need to have about 10,000 hours in studying a subject before you can become known as an industry expert. That means if you want to become an expert in your area within a year you’ll need to put in 27 hours a DAY. The last time I looked a day isn’t 27 hours long so that’s unrealistic, even in two years that’s about 14 hours a day, still again not very realistic.
With that, a four year degree, if you went to school 5 days a week, would still mean your daily commitment would equal about 9 hours. That’s why most people don’t become experts in their major because they don’t continue increasing their knowledge in their area of expertise after they get that degree.
Bottom line, you really need to dedicate yourself to a daily commitment to feed your knowledge. How many hours a day can you dedicate to increasing your specialized knowledge? Even if you spend two hours daily it’ll take you about 13 years to get in 10,000 hours of training.
Consistency is one of the keys to being recognized as having specialized knowledge? At work do you spend time each day learning something new about your job? What do you do in the evening? Watch television or dedicate time to learning. Now I’m not knocking television, there are some great programs, but there are also some great time wasters.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2013 Americans spent on average 2.8 hours a day watching television, the most popular leisure activity. The second most frequent was spending time socializing with others at 43 minutes per day. In reference to leisure activities Americans participated in the joy of reading at about 27 minutes for men and 40 minutes for women.
What’s the lesson for this chapter of Think and Grow Rich? A college education doesn’t necessarily mean you have the knowledge level you need for your chosen field. It will give you the same edge as other students grabbing their diplomas, however what will set you apart is the time you spend learning your profession after you get out of school.
This information should be a relief for those that haven’t dedicated money into a formal education. A degree may be needed to get you in the seat of certain jobs, but to become a recognized expert you need to put the time in to your profession.
Now here’s a thought, if you’re not interested in investing money into a formal education, take that time you would spend sitting in a classroom and work for free. Contact one of the top people in the field and ask if you can be their personal assistant. But let them know the reason why you want to work for free. I know this sounds like an internship, but most of the time that’s linked to an educational center. Napoleon Hill even worked for President Eisenhower for only one dollar a year in order to increase his knowledge on what successful people do.
Another source of free education is the internet. There are a number of web sites that offer college level courses. It may not get you that diploma but it can give you specialized knowledge, because you get to choose what classes to focus on. Coursera is one of the on-line companies that offer classes.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” He helped all of us increase our specialized knowledge by starting the first public library. A free source of information that not only offers the information but a place to study. His contribution to our nation’s knowledge opened many doors, including more libraries, which allowed many to learn. Although the PEW Institute reported in 2013 that only 48% of Americans have visited a public library in the past 12 months, down from 53% in 2012.
What areas of your life do you need more knowledge in?