Wendy Gladney (File photo)

We live in a society where there is a lot of pressure to obtain as much education and advanced training as possible and although I respect people who go to school and continue their education, I have learned that just because someone is certified does not necessarily mean they are the best or most qualified for a specific situation.    

Sometimes there is nothing that can replace real life experience. Society is fascinated with people who have a lot of initials behind their names, but do we pay attention to what is in their hearts, souls, and minds, as well as their background? Sometimes there are individuals who are considered autodidacts that can be the best choice.    

When you break down the word auto means self and didact comes from the Greek word for teach.  When you put it all together it means one who is self-taught. Usually, autodidacts have had to deal with some real hard life lessons that they can share with others. 

I felt led to talk about this subject because I am amazed at how many times I have a conversation with someone who is considered an expert just because they have a lot of credentials, but as I talk to them, they have no real-life experience in the area we are discussing therefore they cannot provide a solution for the situation being discussed. On the flip side, I have sat down with others that have plenty of life experience and are also considered an autodidact.   

History has given us plenty of examples of people who are self-taught and have gone on to accomplish and achieve great things such as Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, Ben Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln, to name a few. Many of us have relatives who were prevented from learning how to read and write when they were enslaved so they taught themselves. Some of these individuals could provide wisdom beyond any degree. 

I have someone in my family, my aunt, and her name is Kathleen who I call Mommy. She did not attend college, but she is one of the smartest people I have ever met. Due to various circumstances, she had to take care of not only herself, but also her family, and yet she never let that hold her back from learning and becoming her best self.   

Even as an octogenarian, she is committed to reading books and other materials daily and she keeps up with the news and current events. She is my go-to person when I want to know what is going on and what is her perspective on the matter.   

It also amazes me the variety of topics that she is knowledgeable of.  Her depth and width of knowledge is vast. Who in your life are you overlooking to be a qualified source of information just because they do not have a long alphabet behind their name.  

Remember, a certification indicates that an individual has met certain standards or completed specific training programs, but it does not necessarily equate to being fully qualified. Therefore, while certification can be a valuable indicator of certain skills or knowledge, it should not be the sole measure of someone’s qualifications.  

A comprehensive assessment of an individual’s experience, practical skills, adaptability, and personal attributes is necessary to determine their true qualification for a particular role or task. Sometimes we also must look at someone’s soft skills and not just their technical abilities. How do they handle their selves under pressure and are they good at problem solving?  

So, although certifications and degrees are a good thing, just make sure you know what you really need and where you need to get advice or the correct answer before you just sidestep someone who might be right next to you with the answer you need. 

I am Kathleen’s Daughter. 

Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on. 


Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker.