A Voice in the Arena: You’ve Already Won! by Dr. Chad Foster

A Voice in the Arena: You’ve Already Won!  


by Chad Foster, DDS, MS, editorial director


One online community I check in with occasionally is the White Coat Investor, a group geared toward all things financial planning-related for medical professionals. In a post a few weeks ago I thought was interesting, a doctor asked what others are doing outside of their profession as a “side gig” or part-time job to earn extra income. I don’t know that doctor’s specific situation and have no judgment for his question; I assume he had a specific and justified need that prompted the posting. From the variety of unique and practical suggestions from many commenters on that post, the one that struck a chord with me said: “You already won. Spend time on things you love to do.”

I thought that was such an interesting response. Regardless of today’s tedious to-do list or your grandest goals that pull your focus toward the future, as you sit right where you are, do you believe that you have already won? What feelings arise if you were to try to own that statement? Does it feel like truth or a lie?

When making big decisions in your life that determine where you allocate your most important resources—time and energy—I hope you can start with the acknowledgment that you have already won. The intent of this acknowledgment is not to simply state that you have won and thus you’re done. It’s not intended to lull you into complacency, to make you more risk-averse, or to rob you of the ambition that undoubtedly has driven success into your life. You may very well have mountains of further success and achievements that await the greatness of you. Specific to the point of the post in discussion, acknowledging that you have already won doesn’t necessarily run in opposition to striving to reach even greater heights of financial security or wealth accumulation. To some, this specific drive may be core to the true calling of their soul and what they actually wish to principally dedicate their lives to. To me, the power in really owning this statement is its ability to unclutter perspective and distill clarity from distraction.


The power of perspective

Like it or not, every one of us is wired via internal and external programming to desire things that aren’t aligned with our own true and unencumbered choosing. Internal programming through our childhood and past experiences and external programming through nonstop consumption of purposely crafted information, entertainment, marketing and influence are our constant companions. Through the muck of the “not enoughness,” comparison, greed and envy that is often secondary to this programming, we make daily decisions that affect the course of our lives.

When making long-term plans, do you make your wisest decisions from a place of fear and comparison, or from an earned place of security and gratitude? I can admit to making more than my share of wrong decisions from the former. Additionally, so much time in the first half of my life was spent planting my feet, doubling my resolve and driving forward as the hours, days and years bled away, all to get me closer to “winning”—the definition of which curiously seemed to change each time I seemed to reach it. But as I sit here at 40, I start to see truth in the saying, “What got you here won’t get you there.”

Consider starting with the awareness that by arriving “here,” we have already won or at the very least, significantly enough so claiming such does not feel untrue. Perhaps “there” is a wholly different destination, one that doesn’t require further winning by the same definition. Instead, it might require a release of the programmed and unconscious search for a “here” that we have already reached.

You are an orthodontist in this life; in the next, you may very well return as a snail. As you sit with the pen in your hand, ready to write the rest of this charmed life, are you still trying to win or have you already won?

Verified members of the Orthotown community are free to share their thoughts and opinions in the Comments section under every article, including this one.


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