Thrive In Five: Helping Patients Realize The Cost of Inaction

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Hello everybody, and welcome to Thrive in Five. I’m Dr. Dennis Perman and I’ll be your host for today. Today, we’re going to be speaking about helping patients realize the cost of inaction. Now, this is a very pithy idea because clearly everything we do there’s a cost and benefit too. And yet the cost of inaction with respect to people addressing their healthcare issues turns out to be, well, we can’t call it anything else then what it is, life and death.

For example, all the craziness that’s going on right now with COVID-19, it’s quite clear that there was some people whose inaction has caused them to become more susceptible or more vulnerable to the virus, especially those people who are obese, those people who are diabetic, those people who have heart or respiratory disease, those people who have cancer. Now, obviously they didn’t sign up for COVID-19. But the fact that they allowed their bodies to deteriorate to that point, for those who that was the cause of course, they’re paying a heavy price for their inaction.

Now, it turns out that people do what they do for one of two reasons, either because they want to or because they have to. Another way of saying this is, based on the direction meta-program from Neuro-Linguistic Programming, NLP, that people will tend to move toward benefits or away from consequences. Now some people mistakenly think that moving away from consequences is negative. It’s not, it’s very positive. If you touch a hot stove and you pull your hand away, very positive.

The key is understanding that when people want to do something, then they don’t need a tremendous incentive to do so. And those individuals who come into your offices and they are health oriented, they’re dedicated to their habits, they pursue a course of wellness, they have routine behaviors that they default to, those people are not paying a price for their inaction because they’re in action, two words not one.

But those individuals who do things because they have to, well, what is there to motivate those folks to become healthier, to do the things they need to do in order to not pay this price of inaction? Well, the idea is to help them understand priorities, is to help them understand what’s more important.

Now, one of the hallmarks of great weight reduction programs is the phrase, “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.” I think that originally comes from Weight Watchers. Well, why is that important? Because it sets up a new frame, it sets up a new idea for people that they can take action on something and get a positive benefit or they can take action on something and avoid a negative consequence. “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels” sets it up so that people are going to take action on becoming thinner even if they love eating.

And I used to say to people when I was in practice, “Do you like to eat?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Well, you want to eat as much as you can?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Then eat less now and you’ll have more years to eat as much as you want.”

The idea is to help people understand that there is indeed a price to pay when they are not acting consistently with their best interests. And this has to do with what Larry Markson used to call the value price formula. In other words, if I say to you, “Well, here’s a nice baloney sandwich. I want to sell it to you.”

And you say, “How much is it?”

I say, “$5,000.”

And you say, “Well, that have to be a heck of a bologna sandwich.”

The value and the price don’t match up.

But if I said, “I have a new Jaguar for you.”

And you say, “Well, how much is it?”

And I say, “$5,000.”

And they say, “Well, I’ll take one in every color.”

You see, it’s not the price, it’s the value price formula. It’s understanding that if you see the value in something, then you’re more likely to pay the price for it. And that’s true about people’s health as well. We have to become skillful enough to be able to help them prioritize their health. Because the cost of inaction is not only pain, is not only disease, in today’s marketplace it could be death.

It’s vital that we remind people that there is a cost to their inaction. And if they naturally gravitate towards taking positive actions, great, reinforce them and celebrate with them. But if they do not typically gravitate towards the actions that are going to be most beneficial for them, then we have to be the thought leaders, the persuaders, the chiropractic entrepreneurs that help them to realize that taking action is in their best interests. Yes, it helps us too, it helps us build our practice, but for them it could be a matter of life or death. There is a serious cost to inaction and it’s our responsibility to help patients recognize that when we do we fulfill our destiny and we help them to fulfill theirs.

I hope you enjoyed these little set of ideas. If you have comments on it, you can contact me at Otherwise, I look forward to next time where we’ll be able to prepare another Thrive in Five just for you.