Browse by Page
Connect on Social Media

May 8th, 2023

Episode 157 – The #1 Thing That Sabotages Dentists

“I see dentists who learned what they learned
​and pretty much everything goes downhill after that. ”
~Dr. Bruce B. Baird

It doesn’t matter if you’re in your 20s, 30s, 60s, or 70s…it can happen at any time in your career.

All of a sudden you start feeling old. That though process starts creeping in that you’ve reached the pinnacle of your career. This is it. 

It doesn’t just happen to those of us who are retirement age. ​​I know 40-year-olds who are “old”. They’re not excited about their businesses. They’re not doing the things that bring them joy. They’re not engaging in behaviors that give them longevity.

This made me start thinking about the dentists I know who stay on top: they keep pushing forward, learning new techniques, they’re excited about dentistry. It doesn’t matter what age they are, they stay engaged in their careers and lives – they keep learning, they work out, they eat right, they go on vacations.​​​​

I believe every independent dentist deserves a life that brings them financial success and personal fulfillment. Listen in as I share my experience with staying focused on what matters in life, including:

  • How to stay engaged in your career
  • Strategies for keeping the “old man” out
  • The importance of doing things you want to do


Good morning, this is Dr. Bruce Baird of the Productive Dentist Podcast. This morning, I’m going to talk about something that kind of hit me between the eyes and for any of you dentists, it really doesn’t matter if you’re 30 or 60 or 70, something I see happens in our career as we’re going through our career and, and it can happen. I basically went to a movie, it was called “The Mule”, Clint Eastwood produced it and directed it and starred in it and if you haven’t seen it, I challenge you to go see it. It was an outstanding movie, but what does that have to do with us and what does it have to do with anybody? Well, there was a song at the end of the movie that again, hit me right between the eyes and it was written by Toby Keith, and it was called “Don’t let the old man in,” and I will tell you that over the last, gosh, 39 years, my productivity has gone up every year. Some years, you know very little, but as I was growing my productivity, it was also decreasing the number of hours I was working, but over this last year, things have happened in my life where you know, and I’ve told this on the podcast, but I lost a really close friend and you know, I found myself, I’m 60, I’ll be 64 this year, and I found myself thinking about, you know, life and how you work in and you spend all your time working and doing the things that you do and all of a sudden you lose somebody that’s close to you and I’ve lost several golfing buddies in the last couple of years. All of a sudden, you start feeling old, and you start feeling like you know, hey, you know, I’m probably not far away, or gives you the thought process that says, “Yeah, you know, life is terminal and we’re all gonna die,” but you know, my time is getting closer than ever before and good Lord willing, I’m gonna be around for years and years and years and watch my grandkids and do all those things, but I found myself over this last year, really feeling old and it made me start thinking about that and one of the things that I realized is, I know 40-year-olds that are old, that think they’re old. I know, you know, 50-year-olds that are already thinking about, you know, you know, they’re not working out, they’re not excited, they’re just not doing the things to give them, you know, any chance at longevity. Now, we all know somebody who worked out every day ate right, and, you know, croaked you know, but from my perspective, it’s like it gave me so something to think about and the story behind “Don’t let the old man in” and is Toby Keith and Clint Eastwood were playing golf out in Tehama about two years ago. Tehama is Clint’s private course out in Carmel, or private development out there, and they were having a golf tournament and Clint had just turned 88 and Toby Keith was talking to him and said, you know, ” What are you up to now plan what’s what’s next for you?”, and he said, “Well, tomorrow I leave to produce and direct a movie called “The mule.” He told him about the mule and what it was about and Toby Keith said, “Man, Clint, how do you do it?”, and Clint said, “I just don’t let the old man in.” Well, today Clint is 90, the movie came out, it was an amazing movie, but Toby Keith went home after that encounter, and was, said, “Don’t let the old man and don’t let the old man,” and he started thinking about that. So he wrote the song, and if you haven’t heard the song, if you haven’t listened to it, I challenge you. I don’t care what age you are, listen to the song aecause it, it was, it was absolutely uplifting to me. I say uplifting, it was, it was, it shined a light on where I’ve been in the last year, year and a half, two years, three years, and I can, you know, hey, time is, you know, times growing thin, you know, we’re in the fall of the life, but again, I know, guys that are 50 that you there already, you know, let that old man in and so, in dentistry, you know, I see dentists that, you know, they learn what they learned in dental school, and they never go to any more continuing education. They feel like, you know, I’ve reached the pinnacle and pretty much everything in their career goes downhill after that. The dentists who I’ve been around, you know, most of my life, are dentists who really are excited about dentistry, they keep, they keep pushing forward learning new techniques, digital’s best, digital lab printing, you know, they’re, they’re excited about dentistry and it really doesn’t matter what age they are, they’re staying engaged in what they’re doing, they’re staying engaged in, in their life. I also know they, you know, they work out, they exercise, they’re going to, you know, they’re going places, they’re, they’re active in their life, and they’re active with their families and, and to me, you know, that’s important for us to realize. Again, I’ve been more productive every year, and this last couple of years have been the toughest for me just thinking about that, that song, and, and having people you know, that were younger than me are close, close, close friends that have passed away. So one of the things that, you know, I’m started doing and I started a group of men that, you know, as I’ve gotten older and, and contemplated different things in my life, you know, I go down and have breakfast at the local eatery, where we have breakfast in the mornings and I’d go down there by myself or my wife, and I would go down early in the morning and I noticed there were groups of men, you know, there would be six guys over at one table and five over to another, and three here and four there and everybody had, you know, we’re sitting around talking to their, their buddies, you know, about maybe it was a Bible study, maybe it was just a group get together, maybe they just like to have coffee in the morning, I don’t know, but a couple of weeks ago, I started a group on Wednesday mornings, with some friends of mine that I’ve known for 35 years, and the reason I started is because, you know, I’ve been working hard, you know, and spending a lot of time on the road and doing things that I felt, from a professional standpoint, really, were the things that I needed to do to be at the level I wanted to play at and what was what was interesting is, I didn’t have those guys to sit around in the morning. I mean, I could call them I can go play golf with them, but it’s different when you’re just sitting and really talking about life and where you’ve been and where you’re going and so I started that group a couple of weeks ago on a Wednesday morning at 6am and I told that story about don’t let the old man and every guy that had breakfast that next week was just like colic couldn’t quit thinking about that song. They all downloaded it and download the song if you haven’t done it, Toby Keith, “Don’t let the old man in,” but for me, you know just showed that all of us get that in our mind. You know, we, one thing or another happens and again, it doesn’t matter if you’re 30 or 50 or you are 80, Clint Eastwood is 90 now, he’s still producing and directing movies, he’s still active, he’s still engaged and that’s what I want to do. That’s what I want to be I, you know, I want to be engaged. One of the things that happened, we just had a Productive Dentist Academy meeting this last week, in Dallas. We had about 120 people and we always introduce the doctors in the room, you know, I say introduce, we have them introduce themselves to us and something that gave me just, you know, a lot of pride, and it just made me smile is there we’re, you know, I’ve always taught, you know, worked with dentists and, you know, got them more productive, but most people come to Productive Dentist Academy to increase production, you know, what it says, you know.

Dr. Bruce Baird 10:50
I came in, I really want to get to the next level, I want to get to the next level, and I’ve been doing this, this is, in May, will be our 15th-anniversary program that we’re doing and, you know, I had five doctors in there said, you know, I really want to be able to produce more, I’m here to produce more so that I can work less, and spend more time with my family and doing the things I don’t want to do and maybe that’s the millennial thought process, but let me tell you something, there’s nothing wrong with it. I look back at my life and I said, “Man, I wish I would have I wish that I, you know,” and, and I don’t look back with any regrets. You know, where we are, is a culmination of all the thoughts that we’ve had, the people we’ve hung out with, and, and, and I love, I love where I’m at right now. So I wouldn’t change anything, but imagine life being different, with different decisions and you go back as you get older, and you start thinking about those things, but it was kind of nice, having, you know, having I’ve dentist and saying, “I want to be able to spend more time with family, I want to spend more time with friends and more balance in my life,” And that goes back to I mean, panky, you know, going through, and it was the, you know, it was the balance. So, you know, life balance, and lots of different groups and organizations talk about life balance, but I’ve, I guess had the opportunity now we’re over 39 years, going on 40 years, to watch dentists, you know, let the old man in, whether it be professionally, physically, just how they feel about life and so this podcast is more about just saying, “Hey, it’s time to think about the legacy you’re gonna leave. It’s time and I don’t,” again, don’t care how old you are, but it’s time to think about that legacy and time to, you know, you read books and no one ever says they wish they would have worked another, you know, 10 years. Most of them say, “I wish I would have spent more time doing this, or I wish I would have spent more time doing that,” and, you know, you shoulda, uh, you shoulda, woulda, coulda uh, I mean, those things, you know, you’re gonna end up shooting all over yourself and I don’t do that, but this last year has really made me question and so now you know, what I’m, I’m even more committed to making sure that my life in the future is a reflection of a lot more balance, you know, spending more time with my grandkids now, you know. I was working the 90 hours a week, early on and I’ve told this story before, but you know, it cost me a couple of marriages, and I’m on my third marriage. I wouldn’t change, everything is amazing, but there are things I should have done, but I look back now and I think you know that that’s the reason I’m here, but what I’m telling you is, no matter what age you are, no matter where you’re at, just, you know, don’t let the old man in, or don’t let the old woman in because, again, you know, it’s so funny as you start to get older, you see patients and you look at their age and I don’t know if you guys do this, but you know, I’m sitting here and I’m talking to this person, male or female, and I’m going and I wonder what their age is and so I look on the chart, and I go, “Oh my gosh, you know, they’re 51, they look like they’re 80, you know, they’re younger than I am.” That must mean that I looked like this or whatever, whatever you just, it kind of cracks you up and I’m looking at him going like, “Oh my God,” but bottom line, think about, think about a legacy. Think about the things you’re gonna leave. Think about what your kids think, I’m working right now on a project with a friend of mine and it’s going to be a book project that’s called “Letters to my kids”, and you’ll be seeing some stuff about it. He has done a lot of work in that area and he wanted to write, write a letter to his kids to let them know, whether they read it or not, if that’s not the point, but we’re going to be working on this project together. So anyway, I hope you guys have an awesome day. I hope you have an amazing week and don’t let the old man end. So sign up for the Productive Dentist Podcast, and send me notes, Let me know what you’re thinking. I’m going to talk off the cuff, like I do every week for 20 episodes for the last 20 and hopefully, good Lord willing, I’ll be doing this, you know, on the 200th podcast, and we’ll still be talking about things that that I think are critical in creating a life and creating a career and creating a profession that we all want to be a part of. So have a good one and talk to you next week. Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast. If you found this episode helpful, make sure you subscribe, pass it along to a friend. Give us a like on iTunes and Spotify, or drop me an email at Don’t forget to check out other podcasts from the Productive Dentist Academy of Join me again next week for another episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!