Two Traps That All Dentists Need to Escape
Human beings are creatures of habit, and sometimes this is a good thing. Being able to transfer a number of actions to our unconscious mind frees up the present-centered, deliberate parts of our brains to focus on new things.
Think about how much conscious mental effort you put into driving a car now, compared to when you were first learning.
We create systems and routines so we don’t have to “start over” each time. The problem arises when the systems become so entrenched that they inhibit fresh thinking and you end up trying to deal with pressing new realities by using the same old strategies.
I know from years of teaching dentists that the problem is not getting new ideas into their minds; it’s getting new ideas into their systems. A well-established routine is a powerful force to overcome.
The Isolation Trap
It is the nature of the profession that dentists work, for the most part, in isolation. In a sense, each dental practice is like an island: part of a greater constituency in an abstract way, but for all practical purposes a separate entity with its own unique culture and processes.
Sociologists studying the phenomena have said that people who work in environments like this, with little interaction and input from outside sources, predictably develop a kind of self-reinforcing groupthink. When we don’t have immediate evidence at hand to contradict us, it’s easy to imagine that our world is the only world there is, our way of doing things is the only way of doing things, and the way we’ve always done it is the way it should be done.
Breaking out of these two traps is instrumental in achieving real growth. The systems you have created protect you, but if they don’t evolve with you, they’ll end up holding you back. The only way to break out of those confining old systems is to break out of your isolation and get to a place where you can be with people who challenge and motivate you to grow; a place where you can get excited about a future for yourself that is a real break from the past.