living rent free…

When it comes to the game of throwing daggers at other professions after discovering they’ve bad-mouthed Developmental Optometry, I have one basic rule:

I don’t want to play.

Before you ask why, I’ll explain. And it’s not because I fear the confrontation or care a little less every year about the integrity of my profession. Not even close.

I recently received an email from a cohort who was apparently having a bad day. She, and others in her office, had fallen victim to an over zealous anti-VTer who seems to have made it a personal mission to railroad our profession, both to personal contacts and the professional ones. My constituent’s email was laced with every expletive I’ve ever encountered, and even a few noteworthy new concoctions I’ve recorded for a later date, so trust me when I say she was creative.  Point being, she was angry, and rightfully so. She ended her colorful rant with a question which has been posed at me a few times since I decided to share my opinions in this blog – “why don’t you use your public voice and fire back?” She actually ended with an apology for her anger and expressed gratitude for my willingness to listen, but you get the point.  The war had become personal, and she was asking me to lead the charge while she play the bugle.  My response to her battle cry was simple:

Not interested.

There’s an old saying about not allowing your enemies to live rent free between your ears.  In other words, sometimes we end up giving a lot of time and mental energy to people who almost assuredly haven’t even considered giving us a second thought, and that is a mistake.  If someone wants to make a dim-witted, uneducated, and meaningless attempt to downplay your best qualities, let them.  It’s not worth your time.  There’s plenty of positive qualities to focus on, and finding the people who understand this fact should be the goal.  Not the other way around. Plus misery loves company, so why get involved with people who can only produce negative feedback?  Doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun.

The second reason I don’t engage in the battle will probably blow your mind, so sit down before reading the next sentence. I really and truly don’t care what people say. Here’s why. Our practice has two offices which are about 25 miles apart, our doctor (who is also our owner) is so busy with exams and the education of other para-professionals that if you were to call tomorrow to make an appointment you’d be waiting close to two months for an evaluation. We employ 4 COVT’s, one soon to be COVT, two part-time vision therapy techs looking to learn more every day, maintain a VT schedule between 75% and 90% of capacity year-round, have a wonderful three person administrative staff, and we’re hiring in all departments come January – which will include adding another doctor. We’re doing fine, as are many other VT offices around the world. Our success is our merit badge which defeats all attackers. Need I say more?

One of the most important reasons for not engaging in the negativity, at least for me, is my firm belief in always leaving doors open – figuratively speaking.  You never know when someone who doesn’t believe in, or support, VT may decide to have an open mind and want to have a conversation. Or even better, one of those hated anti-VTers has a nephew, or great-niece, or a neighbor’s sister’s kid who benefited greatly and now wants to learn more. Most of us would jump at the opportunity to explain our craft, which would be a little less exciting if at some previous time and place in history you offered your own colorful response against a profession of which you know very little.  Generalizing that everyone in a certain profession is close-minded simply because you’ve encountered one or two rotten apples is akin to thinking all waitresses are clumsy because your last one spilled your drink. The ends don’t justify the means. And such things do nothing but close the doors of communication. If others want to slam their own doors, let them. My doors will always be open to whomever wants to walk through them.

Vision Therapy offers opportunities to patients that no other profession can.  If other people want to rant about their blah, blah, blah all day because they feel like it’s the right thing to do, then let them.  It has no bearing on how many lives you can impact.  You can pick your own cliche here: be the bigger person, take the high road – whichever resonates the most with you.  Point being that we should never sacrifice our own class or integrity to get even with someone who has none.

Let them have the gutter. The view is better up here anyway.



Posted on December 1, 2015, in From My Perspective... and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Another great post and reminder!


  2. After 31 years in the field I don’t get challenged as much as I did when I was younger. It still will happen occasionally and I thank you for your words of wisdom! It is so easy to let negativity become personal. After all why would I want to provide services which aren’t beneficial? I have a tendency to want to defend. It is hard in the situations you describe but your suggestions seem very wise, although not always easy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good post Robert. I always believe in taking the high road even when knowing what the other person is saying is just plain wrong. When we argue too forcefully, bridges are burned as you indicated and the chasm is driven wider. We never know when the other person might have an Ah-ha moment. Even though they might not fully accept and understand what we do, it we can at least neutralize the most vocal, it will be a victory for what we do.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Over-reaction does not equal wisdom.


  5. Plus, if we DO argue, does it make us any better than ‘them’?
    My way or the highway mentality?!?!


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