Shower 135958384When was the last time you sat by yourself, perfectly still and not thinking about anything for 30 minutes? Heck, when's the last time you did that for two minutes?

We are so bombarded with information and stimulation that most of us are mentally active almost all the time. If we're not working, we're watching TV, going online or otherwise occupying our minds.

When does the brain get to rest? Not when we're asleep, apparently. Scientists tell us that brainwave activity continues unabated through the night. We have plenty of ways to relax our bodies, but how about our overstimulated brains?

One activity that really seems to help is showering.

How many times have you heard about someone coming up with a great idea in the shower? I think that happens because, after you've finished with the soap and shampoo, your brain is relaxing. As you stand there rinsing, the brain has a few moments of blissful rest... and then the ideas begin to flow.

We can all benefit from turning off our brains once in a while. That could mean getting lost in an everyday activity, like showering or some menial task. Or learning meditation. Or just getting away from all the stimuli, breathing deeply and letting your mind drift aimlessly for a few minutes. Find whatever works for you and I think your mental powers will grow exponentially.

Eis kratzen - ice scraping 04 100773895Sometimes we can't see what's right in front of us.

When I got in my car one morning not long ago, I was surprised to see that the windshield was covered with frost. It was just heavy enough to make me wonder if I could drive safely. Should I just drive off with the defroster cranked up and wipers going, hoping to be able to see the road well enough... or should I get back out of the car and scrape?

Even though it would mean taking more time—and I confess I can be somewhat impatient about getting where I'm going—I decided to scrape off the frost. As I drove off to work a few minutes later, I had a perfectly clear view... and a new way to think about an important principle.

The frost-covered windshield provides an excellent analogy for how we often live our lives. We often have trouble seeing what's ahead. We lack the information and insight needed to know which way to turn, or how to reach our destination. Sometimes we just speed off anyway because we're in a hurry.

But if you want to reach a goal, you need to be able to see where you're going. That means reading books, taking courses, asking experts for advice. Take the time to perfect your vision and you'll actually get there sooner.

 

Broken Pencil 104788346Stress may be slowly killing you. It eats away at all of us bit by bit, day after day. It can make you appear older. It can cause fatigue… perhaps make you sick.

Even mild stress drains your energy. We all have internal batteries. The higher the stress level, the faster the battery runs out of power. If you’re wondering why you might be exhausted by late morning, stress is the culprit. It comes bit by bit until it gradually drains all your energy.

Stress may be impossible to eliminate from your life, but it can be reduced. The key is regular renewal. How do you renew yourself? Exercise, sleep, nutrition, reading, movies, friends? Figure out what renews you and schedule time for these activities without fail. Don’t let anything interfere with your renewal time or the penalty will be long-term loss of energy.

Renewal is critical. Dentists who regularly experience it are happier and more successful.

I recently presented a seminar to a study club and was delighted to see many dentists that I had met over the years. Most of them seemed very successful and well positioned to enter retirement.

But my perceptions did not match reality. Several doctors told me privately that they won't be able to retire when they expected and wanted to know how I might help them to improve their financial situation. This is no isolated occurrence. We've been seeing this same phenomenon across the country.

Obviously, attaining financial independence isn't what it used to be. Retirement is becoming more difficult due to taxation, price increases and government cutbacks. This means that the earlier dentists begin to improve their practice systems and accumulate income, the more they will be able to save.

Look at your practice as your main source of wealth accumulation, with savings and investments coming in second—a 180º shift from how we viewed this in the past. Every young and middle-aged dentist should pay careful attention to this paradigm shift.

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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