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Experts Use Ten Simple Concepts: #5; Have a Conversion Experience
By:Drew Kittinger

An expert is useless unless he or she is credible. Credibility comes through any number of ways, none of which actually have to be based on reality. Once again, perception is King. I said that before, didn't I?

You know, I once was an artist. Not just any kind of artist, but a real one. I was the kind of guy who labored 25 hours a day for three years to create something magnificent that I couldn’t sell for a frikkin’ penny. My parents kicked me out of the house and into the streets because they couldn’t stand to look at the damn thing. The art piece was based on a mirror.

But, like I said, I wasn’t a cheap substitute. I picked myself up and began the process again, this time with another art form. I was an artist, after all, and really, neither the medium nor the money ever mattered as much as the fact that I was a "Principled Artist" and carried that sensibility into everything I did.

This went on for years and years. I received my sustenance through my ideals and values. I also learned the best mixtures of dry and wet cat foods to produce a flavor somewhat like chunky chili.

And then, I woke up.

I realized this whole aura of goodness and integrity and aesthetics and sacrifice that surrounds the artist was a total crock! I began to leave behind the haze of illusion surrounding the romance of the artistic life and got down to brass tacks.

“Life is money. Money is life. Screw satisfaction of Spirit. I want a Condo in Ibiza!” I called out on the first morning I was sober in perhaps six months. It was actually my third morning in jail but I guess it takes your body a little while to get purified.

Anyhow, in that moment I realized I could leap away from my old impoverished life into a new one filled with immense riches. It’s the experts that make all the money, and here I had discovered one of the most powerful steps to becoming successful as an expert, which, in my mind IS all about money: Have a conversion experience to share.

A “conversion experience?” you may ask. Well, since your question lives only in my head, I may as well answer it quickly so I can make room for the next voice.

Simply pick the area of your life in which you have the most experience. Now figure out what is the exact opposite of that way of life, or business, or being. There you have it. That is now a viable area of expertise for you.

Do you follow? Okay, I'll explain. That's my job, you know.

The conversion experience is about that moment when you realized your life was so vile that you vowed to devote the rest of your breathing days righting that wrong. As an expert, that is the most valuable commodity you have to sell because that passion makes you instantly believable. The inner voice of your target sounds something like this: “Who better to follow than someone who has lived the other side?”

We don’t have to go very far for one of the most potent examples of how this works. You may have heard of Paul of Tarsus. Saint Paul. He’s the guy who was the expert on Jesus. Without Paul, we’d all have stale Matzoh in our cupboards.

Everybody believed him -- and not only during the time he was around, but for about a couple thousand -- that’s a couple thousand years! – after -- considerably longer than even a K-Mart sale.

Before Paul had his calling he was riding through the countryside extracting monetary tributes in the most violent ways by literally terrorizing the followers of Christ. And then, one day he got struck from his horse by a bolt of light. He must have hit his head or something because from that day forward, every moment of his life was spent in opposition to the life he once had.

Do I have to say more?

Well, yes, actually because I’m the expert and that’s my job, too. Why am I getting through to you? Because I, who once was the artist espousing the value of poverty am now the expert urging you on to riches. I am the Anti-Paul. I’ve been there, done that, just like you, and now embody how you, too, can leave your past miserable Spirit-driven life and join me as an expert.

As long as you don’t be the expert on becoming the expert.

At this point you might be wondering why the fifth concept wasn’t Concept #1. After all, doesn’t it make sense to choose your area of expertise first?

To be perfectly honest, it probably does. But remember, I promised Ten Concepts. I didn’t say anything about them being in a straight line. I would hope you’d have more faith in yourself in being able to piece this all together.

Drew Kittinger

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