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The Choluteca Bridge

Jon Gordon’s weekly newsletter was titled: The Best Advice I’ve Ever Heard. This was a quote from Dr. James Gills, in his late fifties, who was able to complete a double triathlon six times. He said, “I’ve learned to talk to myself instead of listening to myself.” He continued, “If I listen to myself I hear all the reasons why I should give up. I hear that I’m too tired, too weak to make it. But if I talk to myself I can give myself the encouragement and words I need to hear to keep running and finish the race.”

It is the same way in life. Too often we listen to ourselves and hear all the complaints, self-doubt, fear and negativity that lead to unhappiness, failure and unfulfilled goals. You are just about half way through 2013. Take a moment and consider where you are in relation to your goals (you do have goals, right?). Is this year going to be different than last, or are you just giving up again?

I used an example in one of my speaking events that included this photo of the Choluteca Bridge in Honduras.


In 1998 Hurricane Mitch ravaged Central America. 5,600 people died in the storm and more than 12,300 were injured. Over 150 bridges in Honduras were destroyed but the Choluteca Bridge was engineered and constructed so well it survived intact. The Japanese company that built the Choluteca Bridge was so proud of their workmanship they put a photo of the bridge on their company brochure. The problem after Hurricane Mitch wasn’t with the bridge, it was with the river. The storm was so severe it actually shifted the river, which now flows around the bridge instead of under it. It is a very sturdy bridge to nowhere, without any useful function.

The Choluteca Bridge is a powerful metaphor for dentists that focus on dentistry as it was in the past without preparing for and adapting to changing conditions in their practices. My newest book, The Super General Dental Practice, addresses this and lays out a blue print for thriving in any economy. While we need to strive to do things right, we must ensure we are doing the right things or we run the risk of waking up and finding that the new economy in healthcare has moved everything so drastically that we no longer are productive in this climate of new challenges.

Adapting to changes in dentistry can and will be painful. But we have to keep our eyes open to what is changing and how fast it is changing. If we focus only on doing what we currently do with excellence it can blind us to the need to adapt. The desire for comfort and a lack of stress can blind us to the changes we need to make. The problem we face is that it is more comfortable to focus on doing familiar things right rather than on doing the right things.

I encourage you to email me and let me send you a digital copy of The Super General Dental Practice today. Over the next year, we will follow up this book with how to market the SGDP and how to bring in other doctors to grow it. Don’t miss this free opportunity to be prepared to move your practice to where you always hoped it would be. I’m afraid most of the dentists I encounter will end up paying a huge price for not being proactive in making the needed changes now. Dentistry has changed, and it will never go back to the way it was.

Michael Abernathy, DDS
[email protected]