Experts help us. Indeed. Specialists are invaluable. Assuredly. They can instruct. They can inspire. None of that should be confused with “conclusive.”
Instruction is not conclusion. Inspiration is not conclusion. Information is not conclusive. These are related, but distinct. Don’t confuse them.
I’ve had a persistent interest in nutrition science and exercise science for over 30 years. That does not make my experience conclusive. Informative, sure. Helpful, I try. Beyond question? Never.
Since becoming a certified trainer and health and fitness professional 15 years ago, I have logged hundreds of specialty certifications and workshops, both attending and leading. Through the course of my career, I hired and managed coaches with their Masters Degrees in Exercise Physiology, Doctorates of Chiropractic, Licensure or Registration of Dietitian. Some of my employees came from clinical experience. Some afterward went into the clinical world or Division I collegiate coaching. I’ve mentored medical doctors. I’ve coached psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, scientific researchers, physical therapists, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, surgeons, sports medicine specialists, naturopaths, massage therapists, acupuncturists, reiki practitioners, and martial artists. I spent most of 2012 learning the entire USMLE1 curriculum. I know anatomy. I know physiology. I know behavior change psychology. I’ve completed over 10,000 consults, developed hundreds of trainers, managed record setting coaching teams, worked with thousands of clients, observed tens of thousands of members. It gives me insight, not authority.
I’ve gained well over 60lbs of muscle as an adult late-in-life lifter with no PEDs. I’ve lost 70lbs. I’ve gotten as lean as a human can. I have clients who have kept off over 100lbs on 14 year followup (which NO weight loss clinic or weight loss show in the world can boast). I’ve had the joy of getting Lyme disease and various injuries, close family with complex migraine, hormone and autoimmune issues; and I’ve been fortunate enough to figure out all of them. That gives me AN experience. It doesn’t mean I have THE answer.
I’ve also had 5 near-death/out-of-body experiences. I’m so skeptical I’m not even sure I believe in them. I almost never talk about them. They are not the centerpiece of my identity or existence. I HAD THEM and I’m not sure I believe in them. Forget about being an expert at them, or having THE conclusive take on them.
It’s interesting to me to see people conclude with finality so many things so much of the time. I’m over here with over 45,000 hours of speciality professional expertise at something; and I can easily, regularly, and readily acknowledge that two completely different tactics can both work. That is, based on my empirical testing, my direct observation, I can admit that there are at least two mutually exclusive nutritional and exercise practices which both work for different people, or even the same person. Yet, somehow, without any direct observation, and without any empirical data collection, all kinds of “experts” on the internet have reached an absolute and final conclusion about everything?
I think what they mean is instruction, not conclusion. There are many things which help to direct us and instruct us. Do they conclude? No. Instruction is not conclusion.