The Dental Student Herd and the BIG Social Media Lie

In Culture by Dental Entrepreneur

I’ll tell you a story. I am a recovering dental student of twenty- five years now. In that time, in addition to building and selling three different dental practices and founding igniteDDS, I have taught thousands of amazing dental students. What I’ve noticed are a few very predictable and very sustainable trends.

Trend 1. People are People

I know you hear generational chatter day in and out. It’s only… kinda true. Some superficial ones hold true…ish….but in the end, older folks have been labeling younger folks since the day they looked in the mirror and started seeing they weren’t young anymore.

Labels from age, race, religion melt when you and I take the time to know the person sitting across from us. We all have highs and lows. We all have passions and pitfalls. And outliers aside…we ALL FOLLOW trend 2.

Trend 2. People are herd driven

One of my fave natural laws of human behavior is the law of the herd, which goes something like this: Most people do…what they believe…most people are doing.

Way back in our ancestral days, people followed this law to protect themselves. It was a physical, safety thing. Just binge a lil’ nature-driven Netflix on your next rainy Saturday. Plenty-o-other animals still livin’ it.

Present day, we still do live the herd mindset…just for a different safety…emotional. Picture your circle of friends over your entire life. Same clothes, hair, music, per above, Netflix binges…

The point is, people are people, and you and I tend to walk, talk and think like we believe most people are walking, talking and thinking.

Trend 3. The herd thing’s a bad thing

Defaulting to our inherent herd mindset can be a BIG minus. So if you take home any one concept from this, make it this: Social media thrives today because of the law of the herd. As a result, many dental students, like many people, invest too much time seeking what it lures us to seek… affirmation. What I want you to do now that you see it is this: Seek information…not affirmation.

Safety and comfort drive us to seek people who tell us what we want to hear when we want to hear it. That can make you feel nice in the moment. That won’t drive you to your best you.

Your best needs you to thirst for knowledge. Surround yourself with people who challenge your thoughts and your actions. As life has taught so many, we become the five people with whom we spend the most time. Make those five people who support you AND challenge you.

David Rice, DDS, is on a mission to improve our profession by leading the next generation of dentists to grow successful lives and practices. The founder of igniteDDS, Dr. Rice speaks to over 35 dental schools and residency programs a year on practice building, team building and wealth building. Dr. Rice is a private practitioner, educator, author, and mentor who connects students, young dentists, and professionals from diverse dental-related businesses – “fueling passion beyond the classroom.”