How to Become an Expert


There will always be more people in grade school than grad school…

And grade school is always a prerequisite.


Last time we discussed traditional personal and spiritual development and how there are potentially different stages we go through as we evolve. To this end I used the metaphor of grade school in the beginning versus grad school as we evolve (reference Innate Ability Development 1). Let’s continue…

Those who are wise, and have at least tasted what they believe to be grad school, will never disrespect grade school students but rather see only earlier versions of themselves. Are you following the metaphor?

In reality, who can state with certainty what it means to truly be in the “grad school of Life?” Certainly not me. In an Infinite Universe it’s entirely possible that what we at one point think to be quite advanced… is actually barely getting started in the grand scheme of things.

Most of us tend to believe that to be “an expert” in a chosen field we have to know all there is to know (or at least a lot) about a particular topic. I submit this is incorrect, for none of us truly knows much of anything. Even the most adroit and seminal theoretical physicist in today’s world can’t say anything with certainty—they only speak of “probabilities.” And even these great minds if not careful have a hard time letting go of what they once thought as the most likely probability. A little research on Einstein’s resistance and complete disdain of quantum theory will prove this point quite nicely.

“God does not roll dice!” ~ Albert Einstein’s response to quantum theory

I suggest a different definition of an expert. Possibly to be considered “an expert” (if there is such a thing) is to first and foremost know the most about the pitfalls and traps that we can fall into; as well as the mistakes that can be made in a particular field; and then to know the best ways to avoid them. Secondly to also, through personal experience and observation, know some of the probabilities in that field; and finally, to hold those probabilities quite loosely. Please read that again.

If that definition is a possibility, then how does an expert become an expert? While some masters in any field can give guidance and direction… the greatest mastery comes from actually falling in the traps, making the “mistakes,” and learning how to make adjustments ongoing. Do you follow?

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest of souls:

the most massive characters are seared with scars.

~ Kahlil Gibran

Coming full circle, in my experience, one of the greatest traps and pitfalls is the arrogance that states, “You better get busy… because I’m way more advanced than you are!” How do I know about that mistake? Only because I’ve been there and done that one—I have the tee shirt and the scars to prove it. Unlike many… my foibles and scars have been paraded boldly in front of the world.

Scars are tattoos with better stories attached

As we grow and truly evolve we realize that we must “transcend yet include” the previous stage. Respecting it for what it has taught us and where it has brought us. Simultaneously we must respect those who are still immersed in our previous stage and realize that we’re all moving in the same direction whether consciously aware of it or not.

Again, grad school is relative. We’re all in pre-school at some level of measure and from some perspective. Think about it.

If you’ve been reading along over the last several months, you probably realize by now that I’m speaking about, writing about, and advocating many things that are not traditionally propagated in the mass personal and spiritual development industry.

For instance, I was once considered an “expert” in the ever ubiquitous “Law of Attraction.” When my life went sideways by all external appearances I took a flogging in the media and of course the ever so loving world of the internet.

Accusations ranged from “he must have known nothing about the LOA or this wouldn’t be happening” to “he was a fraud” to “how did you attract this into your life James?” Of course slim to none (if any) were truly curious… rather, out of their own fear and pain, quite defensive and accusatory. I understand. Really I do. It took a while… but I eventually leveraged my own pain into clarity.

You see, if one of the so-called “experts” was having difficulty then “something had to be wrong!” Right? Wrong. This outrage and these accusations were nothing more than an outcropping and effect of a larger cause and grander illusion. And the cause was our much discussed traditional and romantic fantasy-filled mindset that we’ve invested much time exploring (reference Innate Ability Development 1; and Alchemy series).

In other words, “If I become an expert, or achieve a certain level, I won’t have any accidents or life challenges or difficulties of magnitude anymore.” Been there done that have the tee and scars on that one too. Over it.

To this end, I’d like to suggest that I’ve moved on. I believe I’ve taken a step forward. At least it feels that way to me. It feels really honest and raw and real. Actually it feels totally awake and alive. It’s possible that you’ve taken the step too or you wouldn’t be here. Or maybe you haven’t quite taken the next step but you feel that nagging little splinter in the back of your mind telling you the traditional means are not working any longer. Often nothing fails today like yesterday’s success.

If any of these are the case… take heart. Get excited. In my experience you’re about to make a quantum leap and move forward in Life. Real Life. But to do this you must let go of the fantasy. You must find yourself so completely disillusioned with the old ways—again not disrespectful—just disillusioned. There’s a difference. Do you get that?

Life experience tells us that we tend to chase technique, secret and savior until we realize there are none… and then we potentially step on the path to true salvation. Please ponder that deeply. Again, not to suggest in any way that techniques, theories and teachers have no value—sometimes they can be invaluable. But none of them are saviors. None of them are a panacea. None of them bring a life that’s all rainbows and roses.

What have I moved on to? I’m going to tell you; and I’m going to suggest that you allow me to coin a new term that’s a step beyond traditional personal and spiritual development… or at least a more refined version at minimum. Furthermore I suggest that it will bring you greater meaning and fulfillment and the probability of much greater results than you can ever imagine. Irrespective of whether you intend to build a business, or just plain build a life I believe this to be true.

Please remember, life is not meant to be easy… but it is meant to be meaningful.

Want to learn how Leaders Win the Battle of Meaning Over Materialism? Click here to read more.

Don’t worry, I’ll explain it. Possibly it’ll resonate with you and where you are. Maybe not.

Either way I honor you and respect you for where you are in your current life journey. As I’ve stated many times all roads lead to the proverbial Rome.

Stay awake and Love Life,

james arthur ray


37 Responses

  1. Hi James, your message is always unique and mind stretching…
    You mentioned Einstein who apparently was reported to be using only 10% of his mind, while the vast majority of people tend to use only 4% of their brain. As the status of Genius is hardly every awarded, those very scientist stating the above mentioned facts are most likely to be 4% brain users…
    You are right James, a mind apparently functioning at such ridiculously low percentage, possessing very little knowledge about itself is hardly in the position to correctly state anything as being a fact… and it is the logical mind we tend to use while judging and condemning others.
    But is it not true that what we most dislike in others is in fact a disown part of ourselves, mirrored back?

    The constant search for better understanding of the human condition is it prompted by a futile desire of trying to make sense of things in order to gain a feeling of safety and try to avoid pain? And what place should it occupy in the minds of students wanting to implement the teachings you present?
    Part of what is currently referred as intelligence, can often be measured, even if somehow clumsily, but how do we go about measuring our own spiritual progress, and as students of life, should we?

    My understanding is that people’s minds like diamonds have different facets, some shining brighter than others, all simultaneously evolving, but at different rates, using your analogy -some are in grade school, some are in grad school, and in rare cases some have a spark of Genius in them.

    It is the superficial mind prone to generalisations that, when faced with a spark of genius emanating from somebody else’s mind tends to identify the owner of such mind as being a Genius.
    By extending the genius state to every area of that person’s life, as perfection is hardly a human trait, but more of a human’s aspiration, the newly elected Genius, like all Emperors who rose, will be the target of vicious attacks conniving betrayals, and more often than not, will be likely to fall, but not always to one’s own demise,
    in some rare cases there is a rebirth which brings further gifts to gain enjoy and share and further opportunities to grow and expand.

    “Transcend yet include” is going to be my focus for this week. This is great material James, food for thought, thanks once more for sharing your vast knowledge.


    1. Linda, very provocative to say the least. What if what appears to be the “demise” is actually the “rebirth” and the apparent rebirth is part of the demise? What if it’s all one and the same just Life moving ever forward regardless of how it may appear. Thanks for your post. Something to ponder ~ JAR

  2. Hi, James,

    You wrote: “Of course slim to none (if any) were truly curious.” If you remember, I truly was. (I wrote an article about it and shared it with you and the public). I watched this event in your life unfold. I had recently been up close and personal with you at one of your events and was scheduled to attend my second event with you, which then was not able to happen. I was very triggered with my own stuff, but then took what you teach and what I teach and what I believe and applied it here. I looked for the lessons, because you had come into my awareness and then into my world just before this all happened. I know nothing is for no reason. You polarized a nation! And more. I watched over and over and over again people bump up against all their stuff and have to face it and make a decision how they would perceive it and use it, of if they would even use it at all. And THAT is personal and Spiritual growth and development. And while it was very painful for you and not how you would ever orchestrate such a thing, there was evidence you were being the Spiritual Teacher in that moment that you are and that you were intending to be when this all occurred. I also had a knowing that when you came through this life event, you would have much to share, if you chose to do so. And I am grateful to you for doing so. I was blessed by that time in my life in so many ways that changed my life and my business forever, and I continue to be blessed by your sharing. Sending you much Love and Gratitude and wishing you all the best in your Journey. Michelle

    1. Michelle… you were part of the “slim” and I’m proud of you for looking inward versus outward. I agree that there was more opportunity for learning for us all in this then in ANY seminar I ever delivered or could have delivered. There are many ways to teach… I chose (at some level) a very precarious path to teach from. I applaud your wisdom and insight. Thanks for being here. Much love ~ JAR

  3. Totally agree!
    “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”
    Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. – T. S. Eliot
    Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing. – Denis Waitley
    The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision. – Maimonides
    And, finally, from one of my heroes:
    The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live. – Leo F. Buscaglia

    1. Claire… Love Eliot and have used and referenced that quote many times in my life. If I may be so bold as to add something to “your heroes” quote, I submit that there is NO WAY and NOTHING that avoids suffering and sorrow for the greatest suffering and sorrow comes from a life half lived. Something to ponder. Stay awake and Love Life ~ JAR

  4. It’s good to see you write about all of this, and what you got out of it. Thanks for setting an example of how to move through crisis and adversity with grace. I feel a step coming on myself! Keep up the blog – I’m (as always) listening intently.

    1. Rennette… you continue to be cherished and I’m so happy that you’re here. Let’s move forward sweetheart. Much love ~ JAR

  5. It feels true to me. It feels good to take a risk! I know so many people who do not want to take a risk and are unhappy about their live.
    And later on they say: I regret I did not go for it.
    I want to feel good about the risks I am taking, not to regret the risks I did not take.
    Thank you!

  6. I think you’re really onto something, James. I think spiritual growth is way bigger than just being able to manifest a Mercedes. It’s almost a cliché now to look at anyone whose life seems to be difficult and assume that they have “Blown it” as far as the Law of Attraction goes.But we’re here for BEING much more than we’e here for HAVING – and being courageous, being in integrity, being open and trusting the Universe, even through the hard times, becoming wiser, more compassionate versions of ourselves is worth way more than being able to “magic up” a car, a house or a six-figure salary.
    The trouble with being seen as an expert is that it can “freeze” you in place. You’re not free any more to learn and grow because the minute you make a mistake, you lose your expert status. And you can see lots of “experts” who stay in one place pretty much and build a shop there. More respect to the people like you who pursue their own growth beyond the confines of their zone of expertise.

    1. Wendy, very well stated, there’s nothing for me to add but I completely agree. It’s time for our world to move forward. While some continue to hug the shore the shore is slipping away. Thanks for being here ~ JAR

  7. The last time I saw my father alive was when I was 9 years old, but the thing he said to me some time before was “The more you learn the more you realize how little you know”, that was 56 years ago or more and still rings true today. EFO

  8. James,

    It’s terrific to read your words and see you being the “James” I’ve chosen as one of my teachers. It was hard to watch your Piers Morgan interview as you weren’t fitting the picture of you that I had in my mind…the you I wanted you to be.

    I know that you took a beating and that many jumped on the “JAR must have been a fraud” bandwagon. As for me, especially with those who know that I’m a fan and who had heard of your legal challenges, my response was, “People make mistakes, people have situations and challenges. Just because something “bad” has happened in his life it doesn’t make what I’ve learned from him any less valuable and I’ll be the first to listen to what he has to say when he’s ready to get back to work.”

    There will always be naysayers and there are many who look to point at others, especially those who have been successful and “fallen” and say, “See, I told you so.” To me, that’s simply their choice…the path they choose to take.

    Keep the faith brother. Be bold. I look forward to the time when I can once again sit in and “the work” with you!


    1. Jeff, Thanks for your continued support and belief in me. Means more than words can communicate. Seriously. I appreciate you being here and look forward to what the future has in store. ~ JAR

  9. This experience called life and the meaning does not exist for puppies. Our four week old beagle pups sleep, make noise and eat. Their mother is the same plus take care of puppies. She will return to sleep, make noise and eat soon enough.

    As a child, I learned the purpose of life is to know, love and serve God. The more I know the less I know in total, the more I think I understand about love, service and God always and all ways expands. This puzzle is either missing the board, the pieces or any instructions that appear in my language. Human is a make meaning machine, especially about what we do not know or have any experience.

    I was the kid in grade school everyone bullied and teased. Even at the time, I saw I had the better side of the arrangement. I learned a lot about people that has proven repeatedly invaluable. When someone hits you and you turn the other cheek, they never hit you as hard the second time. Boys are nasty and girls are vicious.

    The most difficult part is how often we end up believing our own propaganda. It is a place where severe caution is advisable. By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise. – Adolf Hitler – All of us participate in the riddle. Another person who had it all and then cashed out early: The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away. – David Viscott

    If I do ‘understand’ it, I missed something. If I don’t understand it and can remain engaged, miracles will appear. I thank you James for helping make Monday such a wonderful day to breathe and read.

  10. You don’t know what you don’t know until you know…and even then, you may not understand.

    James, I’m not sure if I’m in grade school, grad school, or preschool-and you know what? That’s pretty ok with me. Subject to change is all of life-my level of understanding may be rocked tomorrow. All part of the adventure. The only thing I claim to be an expert in is, well, being human. I’ve fallen into enough traps, I think, and occasionally (not always) manage to navigate around them. I’ll take my PhD in that.

    Looking forward to what you have hidden behind the curtain. I find it so curious that we like to hide behind others’ knowledge, ie. experts. What’s up with that?!

    Play on-

  11. Wow, James, I loved this. Totally devoured – or so it seemed, I was reading so quickly – this blog post. You know, I never questioned “what did you do to deserve this” or “karma brought this on” or anything like that. I just felt incredibly bad for you and for everyone related to this experience and what they must be going through.

    I’ve said it before, but I feel compelled to share yet again, that I am glad to be connected with you and so glad to be able to experience your teachings, your blogs. I always learn and typically, become very introspective as I think about where I am, what my experiences are.

    I agree, all roads do lead to Rome.

    Thank you for sharing,


  12. Hey James! Really thank you for this lesson I loved the: “You must find yourself so completely disillusioned with the old ways—again not disrespectful—just disillusioned” part! I think that is the first step to take a new road. The only way we are going to be moved to try something new and take the experience from the past.

    Thank you for being so open with your life experience, I hope we all can learn from it!

    I hope we all can follow your example and take the next stop forward.


    1. Come on over Hector, the air is clean (even in the smog) and you’ll feel alive (even when fraught with scars) Much love ~ JAR

  13. James,
    Great article. I have really enjoyed following your journey on your come-back journey. God has big-big blessings for you and YOU WILL make a difference in the lives of thousands again. I can really identify with your story as I feel like your intentions were so misunderstood in the whole ordeal. But, I realize that the court system cares nothing of intentions. I feel like I also lost it all and am having to create a come-back. However, I won’t go into my story.

    Incidentally, I saw you in Dallas twice and had my picture taken with you although you probably don’t remember. So, I am rooting for you and the huge come-back that you are going to make. Watch out world—here he comes!

    Many blessings,
    Rose Kirkland

    1. Rose thanks so much sweetie… we all have trying times and it’s those times that truly make us who we are if we’re only willing. Glad you made it and thanks for your kind words on the other side. Keep the faith ~ JAR

  14. James, I resonated stronly with you years ago. Now I am seeing why! The greatness in you has always been there, and I think it took the trip to “no mans land” to purify and bring it out fully. Like all who reach this stage of development, we all need the fire to purify the gold.

    Our message and what we have to bring is in alignment, it’s also rare in this world of sunshine and rainbows. I look forward to your new (maybe old) definition and to showing peeps true freedom and enlightment. l hope to work with you one day and take this field to a new plane.

    In gratitude,

    1. Peter, thanks so much my friend. We all need the help and support we can get. The world is in transition and transition is always hard. Yes, we all need the purification that comes through pain my friend, like it or not it’s in this that our awakening potentially resides. Keep doing great things ~ JAR

  15. I came across your blog after not seeing anything of yours since the public flogging you referred to. At that time, I was going through my own person crisis, or major growth spurt and I couldn’t deal with the negativity you were dealing with from all angles. I’m happy to see your blog and I was surprised to see a recent photo of you. You look authentically and non-judgmentally happy. I remember your pictures from a few years ago; you looked arrogant and hard. I can see that you transcended your difficulties and you have benefitted greatly in the process. So have I. I’m very happy for you and I will make it my intention to read your blog going forward. Blessings.

    1. Emma, my personal crisis soul mate. Thanks for your kind words and yes I was definitely arrogant and caught up in the spin of it all. The Universe has a way of humbling you and bringing you back to the heart. I’m grateful and I’m happy you’re here and that you made it as well. Much love ~ JAR

  16. I have followed your journey and have learned much from you (chuckle both good and not so good). I do think that you have grown, advanced and are ready to move forward and beyond. And I will be there reading your posts and taking your words into my life, as I too want to move forward and beyond what is currently my life. Thank you..

    1. Thanks Gloria, I appreciate you being here and apologize for anything you’ve learned from me that you feel is “not so good” I’m definitely a work in progress and will continue to always be. I appreciate you being here. Stay awake and Love Life ~ JAR

  17. I join the club of “way to go James” fans. Really enjoyed the awakening crown chakra here.
    One of my favorite quotes for years is an unknown arabic proverb: “Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it!” BUT, there ARE others walking on it–and we find each other–always. This feels good doesn’t it?

    Another one on my wall I just noticed: “one of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world, is to stand up and show your Soul…”
    Clarissa Pinkola Estes

    Thank-you for showing us your Soul James.
    If you want to show your soul near San Francisco, let me know. Don’t know if I can help or not, but I would be happy to talk about it.

    1. Thanks so much Victoria! Love the Arabic proverb. You can bet I’ll be using that quote soon. Much love ~ JAR

  18. Hi James, let me clarify something first -when I mentioned “a mind apparently functioning at such ridiculously low percentage, possessing very little knowledge about itself is hardly in the position to correctly state anything as being a fact”, I was referring to the minds of those “know it all scientists”, not to your mind as that would have been insulting and my aim was not to insult you because I actually happen to have great regard towards your intelligence.
    I concur everything must be all one and the same, however as humans in this somehow limited physical dimension while attempting to communicate our perceptions to others the only tools we possess are words, and they are not always equipped to successfully express the intangible, but you unlike many teachers, do a very good job at expressing those tricky concepts. Thank you James.


    1. Hey Linda, I never took it as insulting trust me. But thanks for the clarification anyway, I appreciate that. Thanks also for your kind words and I’m doing my best to communicate that which ultimately can’t be communicated. I agree, words are most often ineffective and fall short… but then again, they’re all we have to talk about =) Much love ~ JAR

  19. James, I am just so very happy and thankful that you came back from that sideways life experience better and stronger than ever. These blogs are so insightful and meaningful and I love how you communicate that which ultimately can’t be communicated. I seem to be taking the long, scenic route to Rome, but finding my way would be much more difficult without your help.

    1. Wow Rosie… I think I might be on that long scenic route with you. And maybe that’s the best route since it’s long and full of experience and adventure. Thoughts? Thanks so much for your kind words. Sometimes sideways is the best way after all ~ JAR

  20. James,

    When I got listed as a subject matter expert, l I thought it sounded really cool. I got the title because of the level of my education and the number of best selling books, which I co-authored and teaching college. I know that there is always somebody better and there is always somebody, who knows more. I think we should focus on growing, learning, adding value and being humble.
    When you teach, it is easy to see that you are an expert. A couple of years ago, you might have bumped your head with a sweat lodge, but I know you are an expert. I am proud to have been in your seminar.

    1. Thanks John… If I am an expert in any way it’s only in the mistakes that can be made in my profession and Life (for I’ve made plenty) and in how to possibly avoid them. The only way beyond them is to go through them. Stay Awake, Love Life and Be Epic ~ JAR

Comments are closed.