The Monday Morning Quote #608

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

William James


The Monday Morning Quote #607

“Let everything you do be done as if it makes a difference.”

William James


…and I thought self control was always a good thing.

Sometimes you have to admit that everything you thought was wrong was (possibly) right. Could it be that all those good habits, all that resisting temptation and weeks of denial were for nothing?

Is it possible that beating myself up after the third chocolate digestive and saying “no” to things that would have been fun but would have distracted me from my goals may well have done me more good than harm?

I now find out that there is a “Dark Side” to self control. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Kokoris and Stavrova point out the downsides of resisting temptation.

It is true that people with strong self control have better health, relationships, finances and careers and fewer problems with overeating, overspending, procrastination and unethical behaviour.

However there is a downside:

Self control:

  • Can restrict emotional experiences.

  • May lead to long term regret.

  • Can lead to increased workload.

  • Can be used for ill.

  • Isn’t for everyone.

  • Can lead to long term bias.

Before being full on about “self control” perhaps we should practice some “self compassion”, learn to know and like ourselves, perhaps cut ourselves a little slack and be more realistic.

Read the full paper HERE

I’ll have another marshmallow now please.

…on the other hand, life can be good.

A contrast from yesterday’s blog where I said that many people who work as clinicians are not suited to the job, have made decisions for the wrong reasons and are unhappy.

Dentistry is rewarding in many ways, if you get the design of your job right – and I’ll talk about that tomorrow. It pays relatively well – especially in early years, it is challenging both intellectually and physically, has social kudos, it provides ways of stimulating your interest in different areas as time progresses. There are opportunities to be your own boss, to build a business or businesses, you get to work as part of a team and above all you get the thanks and respect of your patients who you are able literally from cradle to grave.

Take a look at this recent survey from US News about highest paid and “best” jobs and see where a dental degree might take you. I am aware that most of my readers are in the UK (& Ireland) and the reason that I have used this link to help you to see what might, could and should be possible for you to achieve with your degree.

But, and its a big BUT, and at the risk of using a cliche, you must think, look and act outside the box. The climate of fear, in the UK especially, is dividing the profession, helping to keep people down and constantly looking over their shoulder for the next problem. Those who want to serve their patients, who get involved in successful clinical and therefore, business relationships will flourish. Of course there is a need for personal and business resilience to safeguard yourself. Of course you need strong and effective systems to ensure that you can serve your patients to the best of your ability.

Personal and business success is achievable in any country, any jurisdiction and any health system but it will not be delivered on a plate, it takes time, dedication and hard work – if you’re willing success will come, if you’re not then prepare to be disappointed. 


A Happy and civil New Year to you.

“Civility”: formal politeness and courtesy in behaviour or speech.

2019 was a year of change, so will 2020 be and 2021, 2022, 2023. I think you get the picture. Get used to it, there is little point resenting change. No matter who you are or where you are you have choices in response. Anyone who has read “Man’s search for meaning by Viktor Frankl” (and there is no better way to start your year) will be familiar with his experiences in concentration camps which led to his belief that you are always free to choose your attitude in any set of circumstances.

My blogging has been reduced and distracted this year because of one person’s criticism of something that I wrote and their persistent and personal attacks upon my integrity. Briefly, I wrote a blogpost following the death of Chuck Berry and told the story of how I had once seen him in concert – the post mentioned the date, the venue, the set list and an event which Chuck was famous for in the way that he conducted business.

The individual concerned contacted me, said that I had libelled and defamed them (they had been involved in organising the concert) and was seeking damages. I apologised for any mistakes, firstly edited the post and then when they persisted, took it down. Sadly this wasn’t sufficiently contrite for this individual and they persisted in making accusations. I blocked their emails but they were still able to contact me via the blog site.

Incidentally I stand by what I wrote but that is now academic, the complainant has consulted with his “learned friends” and there is no case for me to answer.

What upset me about this occurrence was the lack of civility with which the complainer behaved and how they decided that I was somehow driven by greed and malice. At all times I tried to show civility to them in the face of unpleasant personal accusations. There are many things wrong with the world in which we live but this event crystallised the lack of civility the definition of which is at the top of the post.

If anything, on reflection, this event has made me more determined to be civil, to be an ambassador of goodwill and to not be distracted from the work that I do, the life that I choose to live and the way that I live it.

So thank you Chuck for this reflection, and helping me come to a conclusion, may you Rest In Peace and Rock ever on.


The Monday Morning Quote #585

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”




Thanks to Roz Savage for pointing me in the direction of Colin Beavan who asks powerful questions and has made me examine the way I live my life.


A reformed cynic speaks.

There is an old saying, “a cynic is what an idealist calls a realist”.

Peter Senge wrote, “Scratch the surface of most cynics and you find a frustrated idealist — someone who made the mistake of converting his ideals into expectations.”

Most of us start our businesses with high hopes and ideals of changing the world. I had dreams of ridding the world of dental diseases until someone said to me, “If you can’t get all doctors to stop smoking, what hope have you of getting everyone to floss?”

Once I had recovered from what I initially thought was an offensive comment, I soon realised that it is not only silly but a life shortening exercise, to want something for someone more than they want it themselves.

Once this simple life lesson had been inwardly digested and understood I was able to go back to being an idealist – but on my terms, nobody else’s.



The Monday Morning Quote #569

“My formula for success was very simple: Do whatever is put in front of you with all your heart and soul without regard for personal results.

Do the work as though it were given to you by the universe itself – because it was.” 

Michael Singer

(thanks Roz)


A Builder’s Lesson

How shall I a habit break?
As you did that habit make.
As you gathered, you must lose;
As you yielded, now refuse.
Thread by thread the strands we twist
Till they bind us, neck and wrist.
Thread by thread the patient hand
Must untwine, ere free we stand.
As we builded, stone by stone,
We must toil, unhelped, alone,
Till the wall is overthrown.

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