Both in life and in the work environment, the speed with which results are achieved and maximum production seem to be considered today as indicators of success. For many people, the pace of life we are living today exceeds healthy limits.
Speed can be wonderful and necessary. It’s fun, it keeps us very much alive and gives us power and effect. But it can also kill us if we consume it in excessive doses. We’ve all heard once that “it’s not the bullet that kills, but its speed. It is often complex not to be influenced and infected by this current of speed. Many people live with the false belief that their capacities are unlimited, that resources are infinite, that everything is worthwhile in exchange for getting more and that their health is an insurmountable wall. Fast food, oppression, multiemployment or multitasking, haste or the need for omnipresence are taking their toll, unfortunately sometimes silently, on the biological and intellectual capacity of many people. Thus, there are more and more sufferers of nostalgia syndrome, this feeling of wanting to regain control of life and time, this desire to feel the pleasure of living calmly.
Speed at our service
In the dental sector, too, we can easily find examples of this trend. We cannot ignore the fact that dentistry also enjoys the advantages of innovation and progress, while at the same time suffering the consequences of disproportionate growth and the mass economy.
Many dentists have such a busy schedule of responsibilities and patients that we are forced to give up some of the things that most relax us and help us to disconnect and give back the best of ourselves.
There are not a few colleagues who, faced with the logic of not wanting to stop enjoying those necessary pleasures, insert their hobbies as they can into gaps in their busy agenda, which forces them to run from one place to another and recover the time invested in oneself, accelerating and intensifying the rhythm the rest of the day.
Our time management and knowing how to find our perfect balance is fundamental to enjoy life and the dentistry we practice to the maximum, without affecting our health or the progress of our clinic. A less fast and slower approach. Slowly.
The slow proposal does not aim to eliminate speed, it simply wants to control it, dose it and put it at our service and not the other way around. Here are five reflections on how our activity as dentists and our lives are united in the same universe that has two extremes.
1. Productivity vs. Stress
We live in a world in which the need to be increasingly productive and to achieve more and more has introduced us into a loop of acceptance of stress and overwhelm as normal states in our lives.
We have gone from “I will have it done tomorrow” to “for today”, and from there to “I need it for yesterday”. There are many professionals who develop several tasks or projects at the same time, who intensify their rhythm in the work with the belief that this way they will gain time for other things. Chaos and stress make us inefficient, while calm and order make us more productive.
2. Present vs Future
It has spread as a thought that happiness is in the goal and with this paradigm we all push relentlessly and without restraint to reach the destination as soon as possible to enjoy the prize. However, we should all know that happiness is and must be in the way, in the day to day, in the “here and now”. To live in the constant future is not to enjoy the present moment, not to enjoy what surrounds us.
3. Fast vs. Good
At the same time, it also seems that some people have lost their enthusiasm for doing things right, for enjoying doing them calmly, and for valuing quality. We live in a consumption in which fast is more important than good. The obsession with quantity has in many cases displaced the assessment of efficiency and quality. “Fast and good” is an excellent combination, but when it is not possible to achieve it… “slowly and well” seems more beneficial than “fast and bad”.
4. Conformity vs Non-conformity
The human being is programmed to concentrate his thought on what he does not have. Possibly a genetic inheritance that has helped us to progress, to survive and to evolve as a species.
This inertia can, and indeed is, putting us in trouble as a society. We must also be able to train our minds to grasp the small details, those little things that help us to enjoy “what I have” and that sweeten the adventure of living when we are able to perceive them. Positive thinking and being happy with what surrounds us is as important as the desire of others or nonconformism.
5. Machine vs. Human
Industrialization has reached the human being, to try to turn us into the necessary machines to continue promoting an economic growth and a productivity that does not benefit us all. We do things automatically, often without realizing it and without enjoying it.
Understanding that we are not machines, that we are human beings and that our logic is very different is vital. Agendas without leisure, work without rest, productivity above all is what we can ask of a machine, in which biology and physiology are replaced by electronics and mechanics. Very different demands are what we should be asking of our bodies and minds.
True success therefore lies within each one of us, in the way we must recognize our capacities and our limitations, in the way we know our talent and accept equally our differences with those who go slower, as well as with those who go faster. Happiness is nothing more than expecting nothing more than what is reasonable, receiving with great joy the result of our effort and knowing how to balance the two extremes that have everything we do in our dental clinics and in our lives.
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You can download here the article published in Dentistas, the magazine of the General Council of Dentists of Spain.