This year I came face to face with my mortality. I had one of those “big” birthdays, and two months later I became deathly ill. I thought I was healthy! Hell, I was doing Crossfit®! Suddenly I was in the emergency room with double pneumonia and congestive heart failure. I had IVs in both arms and oxygen in my nose. I spent the next ten days in the hospital being poked, prodded and visited by all sorts of doctors and therapists. Every visit, every procedure began with scan of my wristband for the running tab. I had an excellent hospital cardiologist—skilled in acute care, but not chronic care–who wanted to do surgery on my heart immediately to correct atrial fibrillation and a leaky valve—both of which—I found out later—might resolve naturally without surgery. I might not have to be on medication forever, as I was told. An unknown cardiac surgeon’s office—who I did not contact–called to schedule the surgery a week later. The problem with doctors—dentists included—is that they are quick to do a case because it is lucrative for them, but not necessarily in the best interests of the patient.
Of course, I found a new cardiologist immediately—one who was a naturopath as well as an MD. He explained that even if I needed surgery, it was much better to optimize my physical condition rather than to jump immediately into surgery. Patients who do the surgery immediately after a hospital stay usually don’t do that well, he explained. I had the promise of not only getting better, but getting off the medication. I was prepared to do anything to avoid heart surgery.
Every day I swallow twenty some-odd supplements and I’m doing all sorts of adjunctive treatments such as a detox program, compression therapy, red light therapy, infra-red saunas, and scalar healing. I am exercising vigorously and regularly. I bought a sophisticated air purifier for my bedroom and a distilled water maker to remove all the poisons from my “filtered” tap water. I am currently feeling terrific and my stamina has returned.
One thing I learned from my health debacle is that no one really knows how long they have to live. But health is not the only consideration for longevity. One can step off the curb and get hit by a bus (this actually happened to one of my patients). People have actually been killed by lightening as they were walking on a beach bathed in sunshine. (Hence the term “bolt from the blue”). What is clear is that one can never take life for granted because it can be taken away in an instant!
I am not planning on checking out any time soon, but I pray that God has not planned otherwise. There is an old Yiddish saying “Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht”–“Man Plans, and God Laughs.” My medical condition hit me like a bolt from the blue. Strangely enough, there is an upside to this bolt. Facing mortality was a big wake-up call, and I was roused violently out of procrastination and idling. I slammed my foot on the gas pedal and finished my second book right there in my hospital bed! It is scheduled for publishing by Amazon next month.
I feel that I still have a lot of unfinished projects on the shelf before I check out of this crazy planet. I desperately want to pass the knowledge that was given to me to others, and I don’t want my legacy and my dad’s legacy to go by the wayside. That is why I started the ONWARD teaching website, why I give live and zoom lectures, and why I wrote my first textbook. I have always wanted to write a second textbook (my third book), but somehow, I never got around to it. I am now highly motivated to write it. I started my third book before the second one even went to print! I’ve already completed three chapters since leaving the hospital—pictures included.
Why do we procrastinate?
I think procrastination is a very normal tendency. Most of us dreamers procrastinate, and it is not always fair to pin the reason on laziness. For me it is the enormity of the task and time management that so often result in procrastination. I’ve already accomplished a great deal, so I get pleasure from sitting on my laurels and patting myself on the back. But procrastination, notes humorist, journalist, and author Don Marquis (1878-1937), is really “the art of keeping up with yesterday1.” Thought leaders know that yesterday’s victories belong to yesterday. Change is the norm and thought leaders must always be focused on tomorrow. The present is all we have to create that visionary tomorrow.
The English poet and dramatist Edward Young remarked in the 1700’s that “procrastination is the thief of time.” I see now with great clarity that sand is rapidly exiting the hourglass. When all the sand runs out those unfinished projects on the shelf become forever buried. Dreamers are notorious for conceiving projects scheduled to be achieved “one of these days.” But, as British publisher and librarian Henry George Bohn (1796-1884) explains, “one of these days is none of these days.1” In the end, dreamers are left with regrets of missed opportunities and unrealized accomplishments. Doers, on the other hand, leave a legacy for others and are remembered for their incredible accomplishments.
Do you want to be a dreamer or a doer?
The great motivational author and speaker Denis Waitley offers some great tips for “breaking out of the procrastination rut” in his landmark book Being the Best2:
Set your wake-up time a half hour early tomorrow, and leave it at the earlier setting. Use this time to think about the best way to spend your day.
- Memorize and repeat this motto: “Action Today, Not Tomorrow.”
- Finish what you start. Concentrate all your energy and intensity without distraction on the successful completion of your current major project.
- Limit your television viewing.
- Make a list of five necessary but unpleasant projects that you have been putting off. Put a completion date after each project. Immediate action on unpleasant projects reduces distress and tension.
- Seek out and meet with a successful role model and mentor. The most productive people are the ones who learn from the successes and setbacks of others.
- Understand that FEAR is “False Education Appearing Real,” and LUCK is “ Laboring Under Correct Knowledge.” The more information you have on any subject, the less likely you will be to put off your decisions.
- View problems as normal indications of change in progress. Society and business are always changing rapidly. Stay “relevant.”
As Denis Waitley exclaims:
“Whatever will be won’t be…if it is to be, it’s up to me!”
So what are you waiting for? Get going!
1Bethel, Sheila Murray; Making a Difference: 12 Qualities that Make You a Leader; Berkley Books, NY; 1990; p. 150-151. 2Waitley, Denis; Being the Best; Pocket Books, NY; 1979; p. 157-177.
Become the best practitioner in full coverage restorative dentistry that you can be! Don’t settle! Join the ONWARD program and learn how to do crown and bridgework with excellence and confidence, how to save “hopeless” teeth, and how to provide new options for patient treatment that you never thought of. Visit the website: https://theonwardprogram.com
Dr. Feinberg is also available to give presentations. His CV and speaker packet is posted on the website. (https://theonwardprogram.com/about-dr-feinberg/) Dr. Feinberg can be reached at info@theONWARDprogram.com.