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The Best That Ever Was?

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

tiger woods smiling on the golf course

Just imagine… imagine that you have SO many patients that you need to move to a larger office to accommodate them all.

A few years later, once again, you are seeing more patients than your office can hold, so you build the office of your dreams – a custom designed 19,000 square foot clinic. And the patients keep coming, so you bring on other doctors. Some days, you and the doctors see 600 visits.

Since patients travel to see you from all over the world, you build a motel next to your office. You also set up a limousine service from the nearby airport to your office.

Could you do this?

Clarence Gonstead did. Here, in Wisconsin, from the 1920s to the early 1970s

What made him so successful?

He was an expert. He was a master at his art. He was committed and focused on his craft and his outcomes.

A founder of a chiropractic college would later say that Dr. Gonstead was not a “commercial chiropractor.” He didn’t focus on management or marketing – just chiropractic. (As a management consultant, I can only wonder how expansive his operation would have grown had he had managers as dedicated and competent as he was!)

He was focused on results and said: “Our future will be our results.”

According to people who have studied exceptional performance, there are definite ingredients needed to become an expert, all of which are available to you. And by the way, “natural talent” is not one of them. Let’s look at each one:

  1. Deliberate practice.

  2. Coaching and training.

  3. Commitment to being an expert.

  4. Support from family and friends.

  1. Deliberate Practice. Knowledge is fine, but it is skills that are needed. Skills are acquired through a specific type of practice, which Anders Ericcson calls “Deliberate Practice.” This is not just going through the motions of hitting a golf ball, for example, if you are a golfer. It is going beyond your comfort zone and making mistakes and learning better methods.

  2. Coaching and Mentoring. Ericsson points to Tiger Woods for an example of the importance of coaches and mentors. Tiger’s father, Earl, an avid golfer himself, was a teacher of young boys and had a passion for sports. He started training Tiger at an “unthinkably early age.”

  3. Commitment. It is obvious but often overlooked, that to be an expert, you must want to be one. Deliberate practice and study require work and is not comfortable. Tiger used to train 13 hours a day, according to one of his coaches, Hank Hanley. (Golf Digest)

  4. Support from Family and Friends. Support can bolster individual efforts to succeed. Tiger’s dad was Tiger’s champion, as was Brett Favre’s dad, Irv, the famous football quarterback. Parents, spouses, and friends can play a major part in helping to bring about expertise in others.

It doesn’t matter what method of adjusting you use, or if you are a dentist or a chef or a cello player. It does matter if you are an expert. Achieving a high level of skill is not always fun or easy, but the rewards are worth it.

Tiger Woods was recognized as the world’s top-ranked golfer in the first 10 years of the 21st Century. He then fell into a slump with domestic issues and physical injuries. But with continued training, he came back to win his 5th Master title and 15th Major title at the Augusta National Golf Course just last weekend! (By the way, Tiger also praises chiropractic for his success!)

I have seen the ads, and I am sure you have as well, on how you can be a laptop chiropractor, travel the world, and make “six figures.”

I love the Internet and laptops and do travel the world and have nothing against being wealthy. But you are a doctor, a provider of service and outcomes, and if what you deliver is not exceptional and extra-ordinary, then the world will pass you buy.

There has been a great “shake-out” occurring in commerce. We have seen it happen with retail – where now the Internet and Walmart dominate. The store on Main Street is shuttered. This will be happening to the service industry as well. Only the very best will survive. Don’t fall for schemes that promise to get rich with easy effort.

What should you do?

You should become the best in the world.

You should work tirelessly, like Tiger Woods and Clarence Gonstead, to become the world class masters.

And as Clarence Gonstead said,

“Practice. Practice. Practice. Never stop.”




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