The young lady wanted some advice on a serious question. She handled the security at a roller-rink. She'd been in a number of fights while wearing roller skates, usually with people much larger than herself. What she had learned in martial arts about foot work and power generation and base and other things just didn't apply when your feet were tied to wheels.
We brainstormed some stuff, but I had to say, "Why are you asking me? There's a very real possibility that you are the world's foremost authority on fighting in roller skates. I should be asking you."
It's probably a pretty small world, the roller skating security set. But she had clearly learned things that I couldn't imagine. And this is one of my peeves. Not really. It's not a peeve. It's something I see every day with a little wonder and a little sadness: The human ability to discount personal experience and seek validation. Often validation from someone with paper.
They may have more than paper, these experts. That's the idea behind certifications and stuff, if you see a five-year pin you can assume five-years of experience, but sometimes it doesn't fly so well.
Not the point of this post, the experience of others. The point is discounting your own experience. Sometimes to preserve an illusion. Often to preserve a relationship. Very often to defend identity.
Experience isn't absolute, either. In my analysis a single violent encounter almost always does more harm than several. With one, lucky illusions can be reinforced or, more commonly, things you were certain of can be destroyed. A single violent encounter shows some gaping holes, but gives nothing to fill them. You find out what was wrong, but it often takes more experience and some experimentation to figure out what is right.
You are all expert at something. At what? Where do you look for validation? Why do you look for validation?