Death of the layman

I’ve been reading a bunch of different articles about authority and decentralized responsibility lately.

In case you’re wondering, none of the following links are affiliate links.

Mark Joyner recently published a report entitled, Rise of the Author which is about how you’re automatically an expert if you publish a hard copy book and how you ought to do it soon because books are going out of style… but only if you want to be famous (probably not at all his point- that’s just what I got out of it).

Doctor Douglas wrote an article about how doctors are firing patients who do their own research and have concerns about diagnosis or prescribed medications.

Harlan Kilstein said NLP is dead because there haven’t been any industry wide advances or even cohesion recently.

Ryan Healy wrote about how we ought to make sure our hypnotists have enough training … or at least as much as our barbers. I was completely enjoying that article until it took an unexpected turn into a sales pitch.

And of course we’re all probably familiar with Michel Fortin’s report entitled Death of the Sales Letter .

Incidentally, I just finished reading a book called, The Laughing Jesus: Religious Lies and Gnostic Wisdom . I highly recommend it. Of course, don’t read it if you like the idea of clergy and having religious middle men.

And then I began reading Therapeutic Metaphors and Big Mind, Big Heart .

What do all these threads have in common? They all suggest that the layman is dying if he’s not already dead.

Here’s what I mean by that.

The reason we even have the word, "layman" is because there’s the assumption (perhaps presupposition), that people can be divided into two categories: the expert or the layman. The other assumption that’s less helpful is that if you’re not an expert, your effort or contribution is questionable. In the academic community, you don’t even have a valid opinion without a PhD.

What I see in all of this is that the internet is brining down the walls between expert and layman… at least for the layman. I recently met a financial planner who routinely uses NLP to get his clients to take action in their best interest. Where did he learn NLP? From reading books. I guess he didn’t know he needed an expert to bless his efforts.

This isn’t to say that there is no place for the wise and experienced among us to practice our crafts. And there’s no question that all the different establishments held together by experts will continue on for some time yet. It simply means that if one person can do something, another can too. You don’t have to be an expert. NLP modeling can expedite that process but someone way back in the day had to figure out how to light a fire on their own too the first time.

It reminds me of my training as a medic. We finished our EMT basic certification the first 6 weeks of the 4 month training course but our senior drill sergeant became famous for constantly telling us we weren’t medics yet. We were only about 45% medic. And then about 80% medic. And on and on. Finally, after graduation, he said we were 100% medic and competent enough in our skills to go out there and do something.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait to be christened an expert before you get going. The not-as-good news is that the upcoming generation of buyers and sellers don’t recognize the same marks of authority as previous generations. Keep in mind that Generation Y might as well mean, "Why?" as in, "Why should I listen to you at all about anything even if some people think you are a so-called expert?" Credentials won’t go as far as they used to.

As for me, I’m glad. It just means there’s more opportunity for us non-experts.

Let’s toast to the death of the layman.

PS. My NLP copywriting for non-experts video is coming along nicely. Today I was suddenly overwhelmed by the amount of examples all over the web. I’m having to pick and choose which ones to showcase this first time.

19 Responses

  1. Thanks Louis for helping us get this expert/layman thing in perspective. What you say is true that we can learn a lot and know a lot without being a PhD. I look forward to seeing your copywriting video which will teach me a lot more 🙂

  2. Just found your blog and would like to sign up. But for the life of me, I can’t find anywhere to sign up for the bog. I do see RSS feeds for comments on various blogs.

    I’m probably missing something obvious, but how do I sign up to receive your blog?

  3. James,

    You’re right, I haven’t set up an auto responder for people to be notified when I post a new entry. I’ve been meaning to get to that. I ought to have it up some time after I finish the video I’m working on.


  4. I agree.
    As soon as anyone slap together a book, suddenly there a guru. Take for example my aunt, she reads a book on vegtable growing in the garden, all of a sudden, my methods i’ve been doing for 6 years are not good enough and i should be doing them as this book says.. but they work for me i say !

  5. many IM gurus, like Eben Pagan, espouse this point of view that everyone is an expert on one subject or another. i tend to agree with that. it only takes a month or two of concerted effort to know more about a subject that 99 percent of everyone else out there, so that does tend to qualify you as an expert or sorts.

  6. Hi…
    Thanks for the information. I ave read “The Laughing Jesus”. It is a book that goes to show that everything comes from the same Source. Gnosticism is Buddhism but with God in it. A really inspirational read. I think that should open the readers eyes up to the danger of Religious Literalism which gives birth to Fundamentalism the type which led people to participate in the crusades.

  7. Your knowloedge is never as wide as the application yourself and I often go through a lot of knowing just to find a way to make my life easier as I use this article for my next plan, great resource, well done!

  8. The person is bound by his thought he becomes what he thinks. If a person thinks he is a layman than no one can help him to be become an expert always thinks that you are great and try to become the greatest. By the ways thanks for sharing this great post about layman and expert. Some times we non expert know more than who call themselves a expert or gurus.

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