I want to thank all of the readers of TAOofDentistry.com through the years. I have learned a lot through my years in dentistry, and chose to write my original blog in order to share my philosophy—or way of practice.
I have recently retired from clinical dentistry and want to continue writing because so much has occurred in the dental profession and I would still like to continue to write about the perennial wisdom that helped me though my career. Last week I did an interview with an editor about my next project. Her last question was, “what one tool could you not live without in practice?” I thought about that for a while. I think she thought I would say something like my electric handpiece or even the telephone. But I told her it would be “my personal philosophy.”
That is the one tool that rarely changed and the one tool that brought me to where I am today. (Successfully retired).
I first started developing my philosophy when I went to the Pankey Institute many years ago. L.D. Pankey developed his own life and practice philosophy based on the writings of Aristotle. I became enchanted. I couldn’t get enough of that material and continued to study philosophy, psychology and personal development over the next twenty five years. I read everything and ended up writing four books. The theme of all the books was personal development.
I also studied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.
As you know dentistry is a very intimate profession. The craft of dentistry is quite objective but the human side of dentistry is filled with emotional situations that can change everything. The dentist must learn to become an excellent clinician as well as a businessman and a psychologist. In my Positive Psychology program I realized that the philosophy of L.D. Pankey, Aristotle, the cognitive psychologists, the humanists, and today’s self-help gurus like Tony Robbins, Dale Carnegie and Napoleon Hill were basically teaching what has been taught through the years by a group of philosophers known as The Stoics. Mainly the philosophy of the three most well-known – Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius.
Albert Ellis, the founder of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) credited the ancient stoics for being the inspiration for his work in helping patients to make rational sense of intense emotional situations. Viktor Frankl the Holocaust survivor used Stoicism to help develop his form of therapy—logotherapy, which helps us to slow down and get into the gap between stimulus and response.
Stoicism has become very popular these days. It is regularly discussed on the podcasts of Tim Ferriss and Joe Rogen. Ryan Holiday has made Stoicism into a cult following with his books, The Daily Stoic, The Obstacle is the Way and The Ego is the Enemy. I have been studying and applying Stoicism in my life and practice for the past four years.
That is why I am changing the name and the focus of this blog to Stoicdentistry.com. The posts will help answer much of the confusion that young dentists have these days concerning, leadership, purpose, meaning, practice management, excellence, burnout and motivation, well-being (physical, mental and emotional).
So this will probably be my last post on TAOofDentistry.com. Hopefully you can join me on Stoicdentistry.com for continual posts. I will try to post every week —maybe twice per week. If you are a young dentist looking for thoughts and ideas on dental practice, don’t hesitate to contact me – and if you have suggestions on what you would like me to write about–please comment below. Remember – before success–before happiness—there is philosophy.