Betterment vs Happiness

I shared this reflection 2 years ago on the ‘Dental Roots: Connecting Dental Students and Dentists‘ Facebook group, and it got a lot of love. When I look back on this, the advice still holds true:

Dear all,

I wanted to share some advice with you which I think will greatly benefit the students and young practitioners (and who knows, perhaps it will even touch the more experienced members).

I was speaking to some very bright DF1s yesterday at a selection centre. The common theme among them was that they were ‘disillusioned’ by general dental practice. For some reason, the real world is not quite how they imagined when they were applying. I can totally see where they are coming from – it’s not easy being a young dentist trying to find your feet.

One thing I noticed was that they had all applied for a hospital DCT1 (SHO) post for whatever reason, but when I asked whether a DCT1 post will make them happy, they unanimously said ‘Yes! I’ll be happy when I become a DCT1’.

Does this sound familiar? Where have we heard something like this before?

‘I will be happy when I get in to dental school.’

‘I will be happy when I graduate.’

‘I will be happy when I get my first job.’

‘I will be happy when I can place implants.’

‘I will be happy when I specialise.’

‘I will be happy when I have a practice.’

‘I will be happy when I retire.’

Well, to all in the pursuit of happiness, I want to remind you something. If you are always chasing happiness, when will you actually BE happy?

Whatever you do, you must remember that our time on this planet is short. Happiness is NOW.

Enjoy the journey of betterment, but do not take NOW for granted, for if you do, you will forever be chasing happiness without ever tasting it.

Have a lovely day people. Keep learning, keep reflecting.

Further reading