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It helps to be an expert in something. Pick something you’re in to or uh, ‘Passionate’ as they say; management, communication, finance. Something. And commit to it. Read everything you can about the subject, join a group, write down your thoughts. Steal ideas. Try stuff. Fail fast. Learn fast. It’s the Myth of Genius that you’re born brilliant. So you can give that one up now. Sir Isaac Newton wasn’t just being modest when he said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” You’re going to have to work at it.
Actually, it might be better to think of yourself as a student of something (as long you don’t go around telling people, “I’m a student of blah blah blah” because that sounds douchey and turns people off) instead of thinking of yourself as an expert, at least in the beginning. This does two things. First, it puts you in the right frame of mind for solving problems because you’re open to learning and two, it actually does make you kind of an expert. You’d be amazed how little you have to know about something to know more about it than the guy sitting next to you.
It’s a well-worn phrase for a reason but, luck is a matter of being prepared when the need arises. I ended up being a social technology expert at Best Buy not because I’m so good-looking (which doesn’t hurt) or particularly charming (I’m not) but but because I knew more than anyone else in the room when the subject came up - which wasn’t much. Plus I was in to it - don’t forget to be ‘Passionate.’ If you’re not an expert in something you’ll never be prepared for anything even if you are in to it. In fact being an expert in something prepares you for more than just what you know about. Expertise is mostly a side effect of paying attention. If you get good at paying attention (even when you’re not ‘Passionate’ about the subject matter) you’ll pick up analogs and correlaries and other related stuff. This is especially true if you’re exposed to ‘inside baseball’ conversations - the minutiae and arcana of a particular subject matter that insiders trade with each other. It’s also a side-effect of being curious and if you’re curious you’re likely good at knowing how to find answers. And if you’re good at knowing how to find answers you can get there much faster than than that guy sitting next to you. Especially when you’re in to it. Whatever it is.