Credibility vs. Credentials

There’s a reason your parents prefer to call your uncle to take them to the airport, while we kids prefer to call an Uber or Lyft ride; why they call that one mechanic they’ve used for 25 years, while we pull into the nearest discount tire shop; why they love to learn from the local imam at the mosque, and we stick to those famous scholars we find on YouTube.

Our parents prefer these things  because they’ve had more time on this earth to internalize one lesson: Over time, we all ultimately learn to trust people, not names.

This goes deeper than mom and pop shops vs. corporations. On an individual level, as you present yourself to the world, are you seeking to be a name, or a person?

Names give you their credentials, whereas people earn credibility.

Credentials tell people where you’ve been.

Credibility is people telling you what you’ve done (and thus, can do).

How do you gain credentials? Spend time and effort and money investing in gaining titles and names. How do you gain credibility? Do good work, consistently.

There’s value in going to a good school, achieving a position, and being recognized as an expert or authority. But the thing is, after a while, people won’t care about any of that if you don’t do good work for them.

You don’t use Facebook because Mark Zuckerberg went to Harvard (which he dropped out of). You don’t watch Christopher Nolan movies because of where he went to film school (which was nowhere). You don’t care where your barber Big Bruce was tonsorially trained (his garage and YouTube).

At the end of the day, the work you do speaks for itself.

So stop speaking, and get to work.