dentistThe sad fact is that the average dentist (and by average I mean statistically speaking, not as a judgement of clinical ability) invests about $900 a year in continuing education—less than they probably spend on their cell phone plans.

They take the minimum mandated amount of education—whatever is available locally and conveniently— and they go about it in an unfocused, piecemeal way. That is what the average dentist does.

Great Dentists Invest in Themselves

If there is one thing that dentists who consistently perform at a higher level have in common, it is that they have an investment mindset. And by that I mean they are not just prepared to make reinvestments in the practice; I mean they are committed to investing in themselves at every stage of their career. They realize they are not only clinicians, they are also entrepreneurial business owners. And entrepreneurs are always working on improving their most important asset—themselves. After all, every other success in life follows from that.

As much as most people like the idea of continual personal development, actually executing on an investment plan can be a different story—particularly for those who are fairly new in practice. When you have just spent several years and several thousand dollars becoming a dentist, the last thing you want to hear about is spending more time in a classroom.

But learning at the post-grad level is different. The education you get in dental school provides the foundational knowledge you need for a career in dentistry. It's what you do to build on that foundation that ultimately determines the success you will find in your career.

Discretionary dental education is a lot like discretionary dental care—how much you get from it depends on how much you come to value it. Just like the patient who says they can't afford the comprehensive treatment you are presenting (after showing you pictures from their exotic vacation), it's easy to say that you're not ready to commit to a comprehensive education plan right now. Maybe next year. But what is going to be different next year?

Just like that patient, if you truly appreciate the value of what it can mean to you, you will find a way to afford it. And just like that patient, if you don't commit to it today, you're probably never going to get around to it.


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