The “First” Principle

November 14, 2019 Paul Henny DDS

I was recently rereading one of Avrom King’s essays and stumbled upon the deeply profound statement: “Fear and love cannot coexist; where there is one, there is the absence of the other.” 

I have discussed in the past that the central intention of L.D. Pankey’s interpretation of the phrase “quid pro quo,” was love.

And when I use love here, I am referencing M. Scott Peck’s definition: “The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.” 

Note, that this definition has a “quid”—the giving of the self, and it has a “quo”—the spiritual development. The “first” (the quid) begets the reward (the quo).  

Dr. Pankey famously demonstrated this “first principle when he elected to not quote a fee at the beginning of his treatment process, and then at the end of it, asked the person to pay him based on their perceived value of what he had done for them. Think about that for a moment, because to act in that fashion requires a tremendous amount of courage and self-confidence.  

Do you think that you could ever get to a place in your life where you could act in a similar fashionto give freely of yourself in the very best ways possible, and then risk the possibility that the receiver of that gift might not appreciate everything you have done for them on an appropriate level? 

There is only one reason why Dr. Pankey could do this. He had an attitude of abundance which radiated through everything that he did. And as a result, others believed in him and followed his leadership to discover a better place for themselves. In other words, Dr. Pankey’s love for others led to their spiritual development, which then led to him being appropriately compensated. 

I am not suggesting here that you should stop quoting fees to your patients. I think most people need to know fees (or at least fee ranges) to be able to successfully manage their personal budgets, but I am suggesting that you learn how to give generously on the front end of your relationships with people without an expectation beyond appreciationbecause if you can’t earn their appreciation, you can’t really earn your fee. 

Now, back to the Avrom King quote. “Fear and love cannot coexist; where there is one, there is the absence of the other.” You can’t successfully take this risk, unless youlike Dr. Pankeypossess an abundant mindset, so are therefore capable of loving (in the M. Scott Peck senseyour patients? 

That capacity comes from within. We can’t facilitate growth and development in others without simultaneously facilitating it in ourselves. 

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Paul Henny DDS

Dr. Paul Henny maintains an esthetically-focused restorative practice in Roanoke, Virginia. Additionally, he has been a national speaker in dentistry, a visiting faculty member of the Pankey Institute, and visiting lecturer at the Jefferson College or Health Sciences. Dr. Henny has been a member of the Roanoke Valley Dental Society, The Academy of General Dentistry, The American College of Oral Implantology, The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantology. He is Past President and co-founder of the Robert F. Barkley Dental Study Club.

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