Coaching Corner

Happiness Fuels Success

Throughout our lives, the majority of us believe that success brings happiness. If we graduate with the highest honors, land the perfect job, get married, buy our dream home and start a family, happiness will follow. But author Shawn Achor suggests it’s the other way around.

In his book, The Happiness Advantage, he explains that success is actually based on our happiness. Through years of research in science, psychology and business management, Achor has found that being positive gives us the energy, motivation and creativity needed to find success. Positive thinking helps us succeed in school, get the big promotion and build meaningful relationships.

Many of us have committed to the same "success brings happiness" philosophy in dentistry as well. We believe if we learn new techniques, integrate the latest technology and create the most comfortable environment possible for patients, we'll be happier dentists and happier people. But happiness shouldn't be an eventual goal we're trying to work toward. It should be present in our minds each day. If we simply adopt an optimistic outlook and attitude every time we walk into our practices, we can accomplish great things personally and professionally, all while leading more satisfying lives.

Achor outlines several principles to utilize that are "specific, actionable and proven patterns that predict success and achievement." Here are some ways his principles can be applied to our practices:

The Tetris Effect:

In order to succeed in the game Tetris, players must continually look for chances to fit the puzzle pieces together to prevent them from piling up. Likewise, constantly looking for new opportunities in our practices to enhance our patient care and communication will increase our positive energy and prevent stressful problems from piling up.

Falling Up:

Daily problems are unavoidable. No matter what, negative events will happen, tempting us to become frustrated and deflated. But we can choose how to respond to these problems. Instead of falling down, we should fall up. In other words, we should look for the best upward path from these negative events and determine ways they can make us stronger.

Samson Liu, DDS, MAGD Samson Liu, DDS, MAGD
Vice President of Clinical Affairs at Heartland Dental Care and full-time practicing dentist at in Wildwood, Missouri.
Since graduating dental school and the start of his career with HDC, Dr. Liu's practice has grown to a 12-chair office.

Social Investment:

Continually maintaining a positive mindset in isolation can be difficult, so we need to remember that we’re not alone. When facing day-to-day struggles, we should surround ourselves with the support of friends, family and team members to help us confront these challenges.

Group Gratitude:

Each day, we should list three things we’re grateful for with our teams. If we commit to this, we’ll form a habit that continually inspires positivity.

We all seek to be the best dentists we can be, many times creating heavy workloads, negativity and stress along the way. But with positive thinking, we can experience the happiness that fuels success. As Achor states, "Our brains are literally hardwired to perform at their best not when they are negative or even neutral, but when they are positive."