I tend to find life will present you with a series of challenges. It is my belief that there is a cycle to life, that things happen for a reason, and that doors of opportunity are constantly opening and closing. I also think that we are here to be either an inspiration or an example, and that even our darkest times are often gifts wrapped up in impossible situation. The gift might not necessarily be for your benefit however.
I also believe that whatever you focus on becomes your reality. This is something I learnt years ago, but for some reason I forgot it and allowed my mind, of late, to concentrate on stuff that is, shall we say, less than empowering. You only have to go on Facebook to see how dejected and demoralised the dental profession is, and whilst a lot of blame is placed at the doors of the GDC, the government and the BDA for this, they are actually a symptom of a greater malaise.
The problem is us, and has always been us, just as the problem with the country is not the government but the people who blindly elect them. Remember, this is just a belief system, but a strangely empowering one. If the problem is not an external evil force, but yourself, then think of the opportunities you have to change that. When I meet people now who complain about their indemnity, the GDC, the price of fish or the fact that the UDA system is totally flawed, I often find myself asking them a question
“What are you going to do about it?”
It’s an important question, because many people don’t have an answer other than, oh I’ll write to my MP, or I’ll start a petition. So you want to change a flawed and broken system by complaining to the people whose existence depends on the flawed and broken system?
The answer is to change yourself, to change the questions that whirl around in your internal dialogue every hour of every day. If everything happens for a reason, and if there is perhaps a gift in every tragedy, every hardship, what COULD you ask yourself about your latest trials and tribulations. There are even examples of the terminally ill turning this around and instead of rolling over in despair have created a legacy and become a beacon of hope and inspiration to those they leave behind.
The Japanese have a mentality which perhaps explains their longevity. Instead of getting enraged and agitated at the injustices they face every day, they simply shrug their shoulders and say “oh well, can’t be helped”. If it’s something completely out of their control, they just cast it aside and go about their day. They don’t bitch and moan, they don’t yell and they don’t complain. They just roll their eyes, smile and say “Oh well, it can’t be helped.”
So the GDC, in some peoples minds have become an out of control monster, hell bent on making the practice of dentistry in this country impossible. Well if you believe that (and I don’t as it happens) what are you doing about it? For example
- Have you written to them telling them your opinions in a constructive manner?
- Have you taken steps to improve your consent process?
- Have you removed the patients from your practice who you are not in rapport with, who don’t like you and who you don’t like?
- Have you been on courses to learn how to deal with the inevitable patient complaints?
Have you done anything? Here’s what I did
- I learnt about medical law by doing a Postgraduate Diploma.
- I wrote to the GDC asking them to clarify their standards. That letter was five pages long
- I sent a SAR to see what data they held on me
- I have taken steps to make myself financially independent from clinical dentistry
- I told any and all patients I didn’t get on with that perhaps they would be better served finding a clinician more in tune with their personality
- I applied and was accepted in the role as GDC Clinical adviser/expert (after much soul searching) because I was concerned by some of the charges dentists were being faced with. I felt that in some cases, the GDC experts weren’t understanding their role, that of forming an impartial opinion. They are not, as some of them thought they were, advocates for the dentist, the patient or the GDC. It’s a very important point that needed addressing.
If you do nothing except cry into your beer, then you have no real recourse than to shrug your shoulders and say “Oh well, can’t be helped.” Or as I say for things that are completely out of my power, “it is what it is.” There are things that will happen to you every day that you are powerless to prevent. Those that you can change then by all means do so, and if you can learn something from the unwanted then really that so called “bad event” was essential to your development.
But if it’s something you have no power over, then “it is what it is” and you either adapt yourself or let the system grind you down and break you. And use the power of empowering questions rather than crawling into a bottle of either alcohol or despair. You get struck off, “Oh, well, it is what it is. Now how can I use this, how can I benefit from this, how can this improve my life.” If you ask those kinds of questions, empowering, thought provoking questions, you have a chance of weathering the many storms that life throws at you. The games only over when you stop breathing, until that happens this life is here to make whatever you want of it.
That’s the way it looks from here