Why do we do what we do? How does a 17-year-old boy or girl, thinking about applying for a degree at university, without knowing what they want to do for the next 45 years? How does a brand-new luxury car (most of the time on credit) improve the quality of our lives? Why do we continue with relationships that drain our energy and make us feel miserable, but we never create boundaries? Sounds insane.

But this is where our little friend, Mr. subconscious comes in. Mr. subconscious makes a lot of decisions for us, without us knowing about it. We buy things; we say things, we physically do things, we even think of certain things, thanks to Mr. Subconscious. Mr. Subconscious is actually there to help us survive; but he makes decisions we do not always understand.

Why does one become a Urologist? or why do you pay a thousand Rand to kill yourself for nine days riding in the Epic Mountain biking race. Why drive a Gelandewagen when you can barely afford your children’s school fees? The one question I get asked regularly is, “what in the world made you decide to become a dentist?” (That’s something I think about after seeing a patient who does not believe in a toothbrush).

This is where Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why, gave me so much clarity. It is not about what we do. It is about why we do what we do. Apple Inc believes in thinking differently and challenging the status quo. They do this by making their products beautifully designed and simple to use; and they happen to make computers and phones. They did not start out believing that they would be making computers and phones. They started out by asking themselves why it is that they are doing what they want to do. In their case, they started out by thinking differently.

We at the practice believe in healthy long-term relationships. How we do this is by being transparent, professional, honest, nice and trying to give more than we receive to our patients but also to our suppliers and co-workers. We create this trust by being consistent in the quality of our service. What we do is cleaning, fixing, whitening and straightening your teeth. That is why we do what we do. We do it to enjoy healthy long-term relationships.