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Maria Konnikova holds a Ph.D. in psychology. She writes about her research on how quickly people make up their minds and how unwilling they are to change them. She’s a New York Times best-selling author and also a world-champion poker player. For her latest book, The Biggest Bluff, she trained with and then competed against some of the best poker players in the world. They taught her to question every hand. She learned to unpack every strategy and pushed herself out of her illusions–beyond her comfort zone–and she won. Konnikova’s research is so fascinating because it flies in the face of what we should do, when it comes to assumptions and failures, and what we actually tend to do. While being wrong should make us question our assumptions, it routinely has the opposite effect.

Dr. Konnikova’s rsearch shows, when we’re presented with signs that we’ve made a mistake, we very often (and quickly) choose to discard the evidence and instead double down on our prior beliefs.

We saw this early in the pandemic when some states shut everything down and then relaxed public safety rules too early, ignoring every sign that they were wrong and pushed COVID cases to new highs. Other countries, like Germany, held their beliefs about reopening very loosely and, by embracing science, only shut down or restricted specific cities or towns where positive cases were higher than 50 per 100,000 citizens in a seven day period.

Get and read this latest book from Konnikova, so that you can understand how easy it is for us to retreat into our certainties:

  • Are you certain a high volume practice must also equal poor quality?
  • Are you certain expensive orthodontic brackets are better than a cheaper alternative?
  • Are you certain your employees just want more money to do a better job?
  • Are you certain direct mailradio and print advertising won’t work for your practice?
  • Are you certain you’re losing patients to competitors if you don’t lower your prices?
  • Are you certain you couldn’t or shouldn’t add pediatric dentistry to your practice?
  • Are you certain your hoursdays and clinical services are positioned properly?

I can’t cover all the specific answers for your journey in life or for your practice location and objectives in this weekly update, but if you spend a few minutes with me on the phone, explaining where you are and where you want to be, I’m 100% certain the way forward is to push yourself out of your illusions, to go beyond your comfort zone, question every hand and dissect every strategy; to be the most curious in your market or profession and to commit to being the best at getting better.

If you do, the bet will pay off and you will win.


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