How’s this for irony? Our five-month-old puppy had to have an extensive dental procedure.

His lower canines were coming in way too far to the lingual and at 1/3 eruption were already hitting the palate. I took him to a doggy dentist, who fitted him with temporary orthodontic blocks to guide the lower teeth into a better position.

After we committed to the procedure, we learned that he could not be allowed to chew anything for the next 2–3 weeks and would have to wear a conical “collar of shame.” This poor guy is all personality. Like me, he’s full of energy and loves to play. But now that he’s restricted, there can be no running around, no playing with toys, no hard food, none of the hard treats he loves. Naturally, he doesn’t understand why all this is happening. We can tell he is not happy. I feel bad for him, even though we know years of better health for our dog are well worth a few weeks of restrictions.

I mention all this to make the point that sometimes you simply have to do what is best, regardless of how you feel, in order to get a better result. As a dentist running a practice, you may have to appease an unhappy patient, forego the ideal treatment for a patient who can’t afford it, or accept dental insurance even though the reimbursements are meager. We do things we do not want to do, for the sake of a better future.

Personal energy is a favorite subject of mine.

I’ve written about it many times, often in this blog. I speak about it in all my seminars. It’s the main topic at Levin Group’s upcoming fifth annual Total Life Success Summit. And I am a high-energy person, traveling more than 160 days every year without a hint of fatigue.

But a couple of Sundays ago, I experienced a level of excitement and energy I never dreamed was possible. I went to the Super Bowl.

The Baltimore Ravens, my home team, were playing. That had me totally fired up, and the spectacle of the event cranked the energy even higher. Here I was cheering my team on to win the biggest game of all, in a thunderous crowd of Raven maniacs, in the heart of the Great American City of New Orleans—where the crowds were electric, jazz pumped out of every bar in the French Quarter, and you could eat $1 oysters all day and night.

The game itself, except for the strange power failure, was pure energy. So much so that even I, someone who prides himself on being inexhaustible, was pleasantly and completely drained by the time I boarded the return flight for Baltimore. I fell asleep before takeoff.

The main point is… being energized is fun, and if you have too much fun, you have sweet dreams, in purple!

I believe that a positive attitude is one of the most powerful attributes of success in any walk of life. Unfortunately, so much negative information comes at us every day—from TV, the internet, and our personal experiences—it’s hard to avoid getting dragged down by it all. Even if you're in an upward spiral, something negative always comes along to send you downward again.

Much of the advice you hear about maintaining a positive attitude is ridiculous, but I have a technique that really works… and it’s simple.

When you encounter something negative or disappointing, ask yourself this question:

                                                         Will this matter a year from now?

Someone tailgates you on the way to work. Will this matter a year from now? Your kids make a lot of noise while you’re on the phone. Will this matter a year from now? The computer freezes while you’re writing an important email. Will this matter a year from now?

Of course, the answer to that question will sometimes be “Yes!” But most often you’ll realize that no, it won’t matter in a year—or even 10 minutes from now.

We can’t prevent negative things from happening but, simply by asking this question, we can keep them from wasting our time, draining our energy and sending us into a downward spiral.


For more anti-stress strategies, read an excerpt from Dr. Levin’s book, Get a Life and Keep It, by clicking here.

Here is a quote that I often use in my seminars... "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve." This is a famous line from the landmark motivational book, Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. This famous book has guided many people on their path to success. Over the years, I have reread it numerous times, always picking up new insights.

Hill's quote is about opening the mind to possibilities. So many people have a fixed belief system and will not move beyond it. Some believe that there are things they can never accomplish or that they've been treated unfairly and live too much of their lives as victims. The whole idea that "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve" is lost on them.

Dentists cannot afford to limit themselves. The rough economy has caused some doctors to resort to inaction in the belief that things will change eventually and everything will be alright. Don't be this kind of doctor. When things get better, you'll be left behind.

Be open to possibilities. Expose yourself to opportunities. Take a practice management course, hire a consultant, read a biography, study another field to see how people overcame seemingly impossible obstacles. As Napoleon Hill said, you can achieve it... if you believe it.

Get Dr. Roger P. Levin’s latest thoughts on the current state of dentistry and what dentists can do to prosper in the new economy. As one of dentistry’s most influential leaders, Dr. Levin has unique insights on how every dentist can achieve greater practice success.

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