A Mindset of Accomplishment In Your Dental Practice Begins with Making Your Bed??

Multiple times in my life, starting with my youthful dreams of basketball stardom in the NBA, I’ve either failed or I’ve been told that what I am attempting is impossible. I’ve listened to these voices, both my own and others, at various times with varying degrees of success or failure. Many dentists, operators, and leaders I’ve met in my life have shared these same types of successes and failures.  

What I’ve come to learn from these experiences—and what I hope dental entrepreneurs take from this post—is that only when I’ve steered clear of comfort and dissenting voices and faced challenges head-on with eyes wide open, have I been able to live up to my true potential. 

“You are in danger of living a life so comfortable and soft that you will die without ever realizing your true potential” -David Goggins

In his book, Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds, David Goggins contemplates what he calls the mindset of accomplishment. He emphasizes always finishing the day ‘in the black’ as opposed to ‘in the red’ or at a deficit. The general idea is that each day if you complete what needs to be completed you will have and maintain a habit of accomplishment. This habit yields self-esteem, confidence, and a trust in yourself that you are a person who is filled with GSD, in other words, someone who gets stuff done.  

Teach Yourself to Finish in the Black in Your Dental Practice

Diametrically opposed to that mindset: If you finish every day in the red, if you chronically fail to complete what needs to be completed, this too becomes a habit. You will teach yourself to consistently not finish things or to let things go that should be done. That habitual mindset leads to stagnation and, yes, failure.  

If you build the habit to finish every day in the black, you will self-replenish your well of confidence, moving things forward in your life and your dental practice. Due to your positive mindset, you will also be preparing for setbacks that will inevitably arise. Setbacks happen, this is a guarantee. But, a mindset of accomplishment helps us prepare so that setbacks don’t become stopping points. 

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Think about it like this: There’s an angel and devil on your shoulders, the angel represents your conscience while the devil represents temptation. I’m personally fascinated by this angel/devil trope. However, in Goggins’ world, the way I see it, the angel is really trying to save our minds and hearts by steering us into the unknown, uncomfortable, and uncharted reaches of life’s challenges so that we must confront our fears and overcome our inner obstacles. While the devil is guiding us away from challenges and into an existence of softness, and comfort. Too much of this makes us weak and threatens to soften us to the point of being unable or unwilling to take on the challenges that life throws our way.  

In essence, we are training our minds every day, it’s just a matter of what we’re training them for, facing our challenges or putting them off until tomorrow. It’s up to each of us to decide how we’ll show up.  

So, how do you train your mind? Goggins has several strategies he describes in the book. These are three of my favorite strategies:  

Dental Entrepreneur Accountability

Doing the Stuff You Don’t Want to Do In Your Dental Practice

While Growing Your Dental Practice, Remove the Little Saboteur

Developing A ‘Calloused Mind’ As A Dental Practice Entrepreneur

So much of what Goggins talks about really starts with small steps. These small steps start to recondition our minds into believing we are the person we’re trying to be. We all want to believe we are the people that “get stuff done” until we actually have to push a little harder to get that shit done and then we tend to fail ourselves by giving into our lesser angels (or devils). But starting small is key to building up a “calloused mind” capable of pushing through the hard part, when we want to quit.  

Getting started is key and it’s where many of us give in to the governor or that little devil. We see the task or sucky thing we have to do, and our brains freak out a little, like their looking for an exit in a crowded movie theater. You know the feeling. It’s that scramble in your brain where you hear yourself say, “I can do that tomorrow” or “does that need to be done right now?” or “I don’t wanna do this right now!” Or maybe you go into a little denial cloud and steer your attention quickly away from the thing.  

Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist and tenured associate professor in the department of neurobiology and psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, coined a term for this very phenomenon in our brains that frantically look for the exit when faced with a challenging task, chore or job. He calls this frenetic phenomenon, Limbic Friction. He describes limbic friction as the gap between having or needing (or even wanting) to do something and actually doing it.  

It’s the uncomfortable feeling you get doing something before it has become a habit. But Huberman also says that this feeling, this friction, can actually be a very helpful and useful tool. Think of that friction as a small atom bomb waiting to go off. If you point it in the right direction, the direction of the task, that friction will give you the energy to complete the task. Thereby strengthening the neurosynaptic spark that becomes a connection in your brain responsible for making a new habit.  

Retrain Your Brain for Optimal Success As A Dental Practice Owner

We humans have evolved to save mental energy, not expend it. So, it’s normal to want to cut corners, knock off early, or not make the bed in the morning. After all, making your bed is not going to help you scale your business. Or will it? Andrew Huberman and David Goggins assert that it will. By reconditioning your brain to do the sucky stuff, by recognizing that the limbic friction you’re feeling is the energy you need to get the task done, you are retraining your brain to find comfort in the uncomfortable; to enjoy and thrive on discomfort; and to experience excitement when faced with challenge.   

In essence, we must find consistent ways to challenge ourselves and get out of our comfort zones so often that it becomes second nature. This will lead us down a path in which we see challenges as the norm, and we are able to blow past our fears directly into the calloused mind; the mind that instead of swerving to avoid the unknown, excitedly asks, “how do I achieve this?”

Time to GSD!!!!! 

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