Problems – we all face them, with
some being frivolous, and others life-changing.
Some cause us to tap into our greatest creative problem-solving potential, while others produce nothing but stress.
Regardless, we think about them. We think about what to do, and what not to do. But how often do we think about the way we think?
You see, the WAY we think is almost as important as WHAT we think. And one of the most common problems related to thinking is OVER-THINKING.
Over-thinking does not necessarily lead us toward deeper insight, because we can often use it as a tricky little way to justify that doing nothing about a problem is somehow productive.
“I need to think about that…”
And this problem arises because living is a process and not an event which we can quantify, box-up, label, and predict. The reality is that we can never, ever know what the outcome of anything will be until we experience it.
“Planning is essential, but plans are useless.”
Dwight D. Eisenhour
A common time for this issue to arise is when we meet a new patient. And this is because we have a lot of incentive to “size them up”.
That Gucci bag? A good sign!
That Mercedes in the parking lot? We are going to create a nice treatment plan today!
In other words, we project onto others – through over-thinking – what WE think THEY think, particularly with regard to how they value dentistry. And consequently, this often leads us down an Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole toward an outcome we never imagined.
That Gucci bag? A knock-off.
The Mercedes? On lease.
Their house? Two months behind on the mortgage.
Our over-thinking often leads us to believe that we are capable of creating a grand finale decision which will never change and forever be correct. But it never happens that way, and you know it.
You will always be wrong about something.
But that’s ok.
The secret to a happy life is to live it every day. And by that I mean fully experiencing its odd, paradoxical and funny ways. The minute we try to box it in, the joy is gone… wonderment lost, and disappointment enters.
Clarify your values. Define your boundaries. Align yourself with others who feel similarly, and live without thinking too much about it.
That is often a hard thing for a dentist to do, but today is a good time to start.
Paul A Henny, DDS
Thought Experiments LLC, © 2016