Growing Together

Committing to the right path

By Dr. Kevin Pallis

It seems obvious that lifelong learning and Chiropractic go hand in hand.  For some, CE credits are enough.  For others, there is a longing for something more, something far beyond the bare minimum.  TNR events can be that “something more,” so long as the commitment is there.


It is my privilege and honor to write a few words of wisdom about the path that lies ahead for members of the TNR community.  This month’s segment of Growing Together is dedicated to all of you, the community of TNR.  I just finished reading the president of Princeton University’s commencement letter, which is always thought provoking to say the least, and some of you will find a connection within the content and theme also.  Unlike popular belief, it’s not the academics that make Princeton great, it’s the community, the people and the culture; just like TNR.  This probably makes it that much easier for 25,000 Princeton alumni and their families to make the yearly trek back to their college.

In the president’s address at the commencement he spoke of a story about Princeton graduate, President Woodrow Wilson.  Post-graduation Wilson went to law school and was admitted to the bar, but unfortunately he failed miserably as a lawyer.  He attracted no clients and soon discovered his health wasn’t in the best condition.  His doctor diagnosed him with “liver torpor.”  His disappointed and impatient father suggested a second opinion.  He then told him that his only problem was “mental liver,” and the cure was to choose a path and commit to it.

Even though this was 135 years ago, it’s as relevant today as it was back then.  Some of the most capable and qualified DCs just don’t make great practitioners.  It’s not that they don’t have the doctor skills; it’s that they lack purpose and the passion to ignite their dormant abilities.  They are not fully engaged with Chiropractic.  In other words, they are not committed to the right path.  Taking the path of least resistance is hindering them.  Playing big, seeing kids, Difficult Cases Made Easy, great lifestyles, are secluded on a desert island waiting for the “right time” to happen, which rarely ever comes.  Many jobs and relationships are also set on cruise control with no purpose, passion or direction required.  TNR knows better, whether it’s your office, marriage or parenting… it’s go big or go home.  Don’t settle for second best, we are one of a kind.

It’s simply amazing to see how many DCs don’t embrace lifetime learning or take unforgettable experiences for granted.  They see only the benefits Chiropractic can provide, not the wonder and awe of it all.  These minimalists do just enough to get by.  Their best effort is rarely experienced by their families, much less their practice members.  They actually think that an original dose of academia, a license, skills and passing boards is all it takes.  It’s like merely playing golf with the same skill set over and over and thinking it will improve ones score.  

“Twists and turns bring discovery, they demand new learning—and that is a good thing.  Discovery and learning help to bring joy and meaning to human life.”

Not only does this apply to Princeton grads, but I’m certain all of society will find that statement relatable as well.

Each day Dr. Ed and I are witnesses to the scores of great DCs who will never get a chance to experience TNR.  They’re blind to the nurturing, engagement, devotion and respect that go into successful Chiropractic.  Chances are they will be minimalists.  Their ideas of learning and experiencing Chiropractic are driven by license renewal.  They’ve lost hope in their dream and don’t desire, nor have the courage left to rediscover their fire.

“Indeed, at the heart of all great teaching is the desire to inspire a genuine love of learning.  Some part of teaching is about transmitting information, but a lot of it, a wonderful amount of it, is about inspiring students to learn.  Teaching is a remarkably personal act, and teaching well depends upon a remarkably personal relationship.”

Here at TNR it is because of the aforementioned reason that the community of TNR fosters participation and continued learning.

“I am for that reason skeptical about some of the enthusiasm one hears for MOOCs – that is, for the ‘Massive Open Online Courses’ that anyone can take on the Web.  These courses certainly have their uses.  Used appropriately, they are good things.  But it is easy to exaggerate their benefits and their power.  I recently heard a reporter say that colleges, like newspapers, were likely to have their fundamental business model disrupted by online alternatives.” 

He raises a good point, it makes me question whether he is talking about Princeton or the mandates of today’s society to view things on your computer rather than participate in the experiences of life?

Not too long ago, we started an introductory TNR Online program for DCs who thought online coaching would get them seeing hundreds of people in a week (or a day)…and it failed to produce results.  The feedback was very poignant.  There is no shallow end in TNR.  Dive in the deep end or go home.  If your swimming skills are rusty, this life or death situation will teach you how.  No coddling or accepting excuses or stories, just loving and mentoring our members to achieve greatness.  We kept hearing the experience of TNR cannot be reproduced or transmitted via the internet–it has to be experienced, engaged in.  We discontinued TNR Online and will continue to attract new members the old-fashioned way by welcoming and guiding DCs to discover just how great Chiropractic can be. It’s all about the experience, the community and a personal mentor/guide to hold you responsible.  Like Princeton, it’s not just the academics, the procedures, the business model, the patient education; it’s a family of like-minded DCs who find the joy in helping people. We are one of a kind.

At the famous DCME after party, a fun-loving, high spirited DC said, “TNR is like PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer)…contrarian because it has a loyal following”.  While other beer drinkers allow celebrities they will never meet to influence what type of beer will meet their lips, PBR drinkers are unaffected by the latest “trend” in beer.  They know what they want in a beer and they know what they like–they aren’t changing for anyone.  Another DC added , “these TNR events are like going to a concert.  Not in a way that I’m going to throw underwear on stage with my digits attached, but you get the point; the experience is everything.”  It’s almost like skinny dipping–that feeling of excitement and freedom is the same.  Sure I love my spouse and my kids and all of my responsibilities at home.  But for just a few hours, I leave that behind and I’m free.  It recharges my spirit.  I don’t get that anywhere else.       

“Think about the teachers who have mattered most in your lives – the ones in kindergarten or high school or here at Princeton.  They mattered in your lives not because they were famous, not because everyone knew them, but because they took the time to know you.  Teaching is, as I said earlier, a deeply personal act.  I hope you will become advocates for the kind of personal teaching that has made a difference in your own lives.  That kind of teaching is not something you can get from a MOOC.  It is not cheap.  To provide it, we as a society will have to invest generously in our schools and in our universities.

“You will need to sustain the will to learn- you will need, in other words, to find the inspiration to read, the time to think and the provocation and the energy to break away from the daily routines that enable you to cope with the responsibilities of adult life.

Honoring the value of learning is not always easy, but if you do, it will make your life journeys more fulfilling.  He’s talking to Princeton graduates but his message surely sounds similar to being fully engaged and experiencing TNR.

Whether you’re talking MOOCs or any other topic, it seems like things are getting watered down and have less appeal to common people who don’t know the difference between real and virtual.  A recent college experiment revealed most co-eds would rather observe a mugging/sexual harassment from a far than to actually put themselves in harm’s way by intervening.  In some instances, the bystanders will even opt to pull out their cell phones and take a picture or video.  They mistakenly think that by passively taking pictures, this is the new standard of integrity in society.  Have you fallen prey to what the observational society dictates, verses participating in a leadership role of assistance?  The “10 Minute Exercise” program is viewed as one of the more popular brands out there.  Contrary to popular belief, you know it isn’t as effective, but millions upon millions still buy the download, watch it once or twice and predictably lose interest.  Short cuts attract people who have lost their mooring, their spark, their path.

In TNR there is a dynamic tension created by being stuck and moving forward.  Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is not just a saying to disregard; it’s a way of life.  DCs that aren’t willing to make the commitment to Chiropractic, their families, TNR or their offices usually are uncomfortable with this dynamic tension.  It pressures them to the point of uttering the infamous words… I don’t know if this is for me.  It conversely ignites the flames of some of the most incredible DCs the world has ever experienced–DCs who will take TNR and Chiropractic to heights only dreamed of.  This spills over into their families, their friends and all of society.  It creates a spirit of greatness, a fully engaged position in life.  They naturally become a true joy to be around.  The world is better because you passed through it.  Healthier people do create a healthier planet! And never forget…We are one of a kind.