MESSAGE FROM DR. JAY / Recognition, appreciation and approval?
The desire for approval is common among us. We like to be liked. This, I assume, is a common trait throughout most of humanity. But I’m wondering, as technology and communication change, if this element of human nature is playing a larger role in our society and personal development than ever before. The desire to be liked often causes us to say only the things we know people want to hear. And there is a danger in that for both the giver and receiver. First, as the receiver, when we only hear the things we want to hear, we are rarely pushed into areas of needed growth. Criticism can be helpful—and it should be welcomed, especially when it comes from the people who love and or care about us most. Second, when the voices around us act as only an echo chamber of our personal beliefs, we miss opportunity to see the world from a new perspective, grow, and prosper.
The first danger of avoiding criticism is just as prevalent as it has ever been. If we do not surround ourselves with people willing to speak hard truth into our lives or practices, we are left with little opportunity for growth. We ought to value those who challenge us in positive ways and also receive their criticism with grace and patience (however difficult that may be). But the second danger appears to be disproportionately more prevalent in today’s heightened world of communication. For many people, digital platforms have become the new town square. Even more, our digital lives form the foundation for the influences we seek in our life. We follow our favorite authors, artists, entertainers, and thought-leaders and avoid the others.
This is all fine but there is a downside. When we get to single-handedly pick all the people that we allow to speak into our lives, we are less likely to select people with opposing worldviews shaped by unique circumstances. It’s not always easy to allow people into our lives who we disagree with—and even more difficult to not quickly dismiss their words when we do. But these are needed for life improvement. Seek out voices that say things you need to hear—not just the things you want to hear.
Consider another angle to this conversation. There is a danger to us when we only hear things we want to hear. But there is also a danger in being the person who only says what other people want to hear—and I think our ever-connected world has made that more possible than ever before. This applies to your practice, your patients and popular Chiropractic practice mentors you may be familiar with.
Positive reinforcement always encourages more of the same behavior, when people are drawn to the things we are saying, we are more inclined to repeat them. And the more we repeat them, the more likely we are to believe them. This is good when the words we are speaking are beneficial to the listener. But this can be detrimental to us when the words we are speaking are not helpful or when they perpetuate that we repeat only because the listener wants to hear it. No improvement or progress occurs when this happens.
My mentor always taught me to speak what people need to hear, not what they want to hear. This especially applies in my case to the management of your office. It also applies to you in the management of your patients. Your Patients and or practice members, just as with your children and loved ones, need to hear what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. And contrary to what some popular practice management gurus will tell you, saying what patients want to hear is rarely the best way to build your practice or profession for that manner. There are times to comfort, soothe, encourage, and praise. But there are also times to speak unpopular truth. Do both. And receive both.
BJ Palmer said that ” Rivers and Men take the path of least resistance, and the path of least resistance makes both crooked.” Nuff Said.