“The moment you claim to be generous is the moment that people will begin to doubt it.” -Adam Grant (Wharton Professor, Author of Give and Take)
We live in a world where it has become easier and easier to raise yourself up as a “self-proclaimed” this or that. More and more we read in bios and hear people declaring their status, proclaiming to be an expert this, or a master that.
We are swimming in a virtual world glutted with guru’s and thought leaders, everyone an expert world.
Unfortunately, what many an “expert” or “guru” fail to realize is that “self-proclamation is a red flag“, or as Adam Grant recently shared on Twitter,
“The moment you claim to be _________ is the moment that people begin to doubt it.”
And it is not just that self-proclamation is a red flag, it also sends a deeper message. When we entertain the idea of being an expert, a guru, a master of something, it sounds finished, complete. It sends the message that you have apparently arrived, that you have learned all there is to learn and know.
And this is not to say that there are no experts or thought leaders, they just see no value or need in proclaiming this level of achievement. Very often, they are too immersed in their work to spend that valued time proclaiming expertise. Their focus is on the journey, not the destination.
Which requires retaining a learner mindset.
Or as Socrates so eloquently stated, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
Which is why it is so important to refrain from self-proclamation. Not only does it raise the red flag of doubt from others, it creates your own expert mindset, as opposed to staying engaged in a learner mindset. One says I’ve arrived, opposed to the other that says learning is an ongoing, never ending journey.
In the end, self-proclamation serves as the antithesis towards continued growth and capacity building. It stagnates and stalls momentum.
Which is why it is important to remember…
In this journey of life and learning, the expert mindset has a tendency to pull off at the rest stop, while the learner mindset keeps going, ever onward and forward.