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|Wednesday, March 05, 2008|
Discover Secrets to Achieving Total Success!
The book begins with a glimpse into Capista’s upbringing in an average, blue-collar neighborhood, his struggles with school, his burning desire to fulfill his dream of being a dentist and his own personal journey of discovering what it takes to build a wildly successful business and life.
Discover Secrets To Achieving Total Success!
By Dr. Joe Capista, Copyright 2008
Father Melton Wasn't Always Right
My name is Joe Capista and I have a story to tell. It is the story of a boy from a working class family who lived in an average suburban Philadelphia neighborhood, struggled to get good grades in grammar school, and today is recognized as one of the most successful individuals in my industry. It is my personal story of success about living a life many people only dream of while finding a deep connection and purpose beyond my wildest imaginings. It is the story of success that goes beyond the material and delves into the spiritual. It is a story that continues to unfold.
Looking back, I realize the foundation for my success began with my father, mother and grandfather. My father didn't graduate from college; he worked in a factory, as did my grandfather who immigrated to the United States from Italy. My uncle was a doctor, but the rest of my father's siblings all worked in factories as well. One day my grandfather said to me, “I want to live long enough to see you go to college.” It was important to my grandfather that my siblings and I made something of ourselves. He placed a high value on education and achievement. He was sick at the time and close to death. Sadly, he didn't live long enough to see me go to college.
Growing up, I saw my father work hard for everything we had. We lived a very modest lifestyle. We didn't do anything extravagant such as go out to dinner. I think it was partly because we didn't have a lot of money and because family dinners at home were more important. Our life was a life of basics.
In terms of monetary success, I guess you could say my dad never made a lot of money. However, I always saw my dad as successful. He is a success as a family man, is virtuous, a good person and had more than enough money to live his lifestyle. He is one of the most successful people I know.
My dad provided well for us with what little he did have. Although he never verbalized it, he instilled in us a work ethic that lives on to this very day; an ethic born out of generations of work and a future of possibility. My dad knew we all had a better chance to succeed than he had and to become something. It may sound a bit old fashioned to say I succeeded at the request of my father, but I knew if I did not, he and my mother would be disappointed. The thought of disappointing both my mother and father was too much to bear. As I grew up, I chose many paths because I didn't want to disappoint my parents. I didn't get in trouble because I knew it would be a disgrace to the family or it would make my parents unhappy.
When I was dating my girlfriend, I'd tell people the best form of birth control was what my mother would say to me as I was walking out the door: “Don't disgrace the family.” I knew what she meant. “Don't disgrace the family” was a saying that followed me throughout my adolescence keeping me on the straight and narrow.
Although neither of my parents were college educated, my father is a very well read man. He has read more books than I have and embodies a wealth of knowledge that is rare in today's world. His expectation for his children was a silent dictate that we would succeed. We were to carve out a profession that allowed us to elevate our lifestyle beyond that of the previous generation. He had a way of instilling an understanding that we should become something better, we should be more successful and have a better lifestyle than he and my mother had.
Without a word, it was understood we would go to college. It wasn't a choice; we were going. Being born a Capista was a one-way ticket to the greatest ride on earth: success, freedom, wealth and, most importantly, living a life filled with love!
Looking back, I could have been almost anything I set my mind to. So why a dentist? Growing up in the late 50's and 60's, there were basic occupations men chose for a living. You became a teacher, an accountant, a lawyer, an engineer or a doctor. There weren't jobs in technology; half the jobs available to young people today did not exist when I was making my life decision about work.
I knew I didn't want to be an accountant, teacher, lawyer or an engineer, so I was left with becoming a doctor. I wasn't sold on being a doctor in the truest sense of the word. I had an uncle that was a medical doctor and I saw the way he worked. He worked endless hours and I knew I didn't want that. He made house calls attending to the sick and ultimately many of his patients died. I certainly didn't want any part of that!
Through a process of elimination, I was slowly approaching the profession of dentistry. You could say I backed into it. I had bad teeth as a child and saw the dentist a lot. I was also impressed by the fact our family dentist had a Cadillac.
Having the humble upbringing I did, I thought having a Cadillac was pretty neat. Nobody in my neighborhood had a Cadillac; nobody had anything better than an old Chevy, Ford or a Rambler. There weren't many luxury cars where we lived and the fact my dentist made enough money to drive a Cadillac definitely left an impression.
I was also intrigued by the construction aspect of dentistry. I always liked building things. As a dentist, it appeared you could excavate, drill and build, and people would pay for your skill. The thought of drilling a hole, putting something in it, and in return you got 8 or 10 bucks (remember — this was a number of years ago), was all I needed to know. Dentistry looked clean, nobody was dying and my parents would be proud. Sign me up!
My friends and family all knew that I wanted to be a dentist since I was a kid. Around fifth or sixth grade I'd proclaim, “I want to be a dentist!” At an early age, I began a mental process that paved the way for my date with destiny.
I can remember playing basketball with my friends at the age of 12. When we were tired of basketball, we would head to the park and fill in the holes in the picnic tables and trees with mud. Each hole looked like an opportunity to fill an imaginary cavity. I eagerly filled each hole with whatever kind of makeshift amalgamate Mother Nature had to offer.
Grade school fantasy led to high school academics. By now I'm getting average grades; second honors most of the time. I'm not setting the world on fire and I'm not in the advanced placement courses, but I'm in good, solid courses. Junior year rolls around and it's time to go to a guidance counselor. I'm challenged with the decision of which college and what major to select! With some big life decisions staring me in the face, I needed some help… or so I thought.
Growing up in a solid Catholic family, I attended a parochial school. With my vision for the future firmly set in my mind, I decided to talk to Father Melton, my high school guidance counselor. After all, who has greater insight than someone working on behalf of the Divine?
Early into my meeting I declared, “Father Melton, I think I want to be a dentist!” After a moment of contemplation, Father Melton said, “Well, Joe, I don't think that's a very good idea. Your college Board scores are only 1040, and a thousand is just getting by. To be a biology major your scores should be over1100.”
He continued with complete certainty, “If you go to college for biology, you'll probably have a very difficult time, if you can make it at all. You ought to think about being a teacher because you have good skills. That would be a good career, it's a nice job.”
I respectfully said, “Thank you,” and left his office.
Quickly shaking off what felt like total rejection, I assured myself I would apply for college as a biology major. After all, I had wanted to be a dentist since the 5th grade and all that hole digging and imaginary teeth filling at the creek wasn't going to be for nothing.
Sure I was making the right decision, I applied to five different colleges, all local schools outside of Philadelphia where I grew up. I was accepted to all five colleges, but only as a declared biology major by one school — La Salle University. My choice was clear, La Salle it was.
After the first semester at La Salle, I had whopping 2.5 GPA, which is not enough to get into dental school or any professional school for that matter. It was just the first semester and I was in big trouble.
I was at a crossroads. I had to decide if I was going to change what I wanted to do and change my goal, or do I change what I'm doing to get to my goal? I decided I was not going to change my goal, so I had to do something differently in order to achieve my dream. This one decision of changing behaviors rather than changing my goal was the cornerstone of many future decisions that have created the life I now enjoy.
What had to be done differently was adjusting the intensity of my commitment. That meant changing the way I studied. I was not partying every weekend or messing around, I was doing what I thought was a reasonably good job, but obviously my GPA didn't reflect that. I decided that what I was doing wasn't enough.
I told my girlfriend, Anne, who later became my wife, we had to change our dating times. Even though Anne and I loved seeing each other, we decided we would only go out one night a week and I would study the other six nights. I consciously put my nose to the grindstone. For the next three and a half years, I memorized everything that was put in front of me. I was so focused on what I wanted, I remember leaving the Thanksgiving table one holiday evening and studying from Thursday through Sunday night without a break. I just never gave up.
Biology was tough. Father Melton told me it would be. My class started with 150 students and every day someone would drop out; they would fail biology and ultimately change their major. I had a lot of tenacity and even though I felt like an underdog, I had people in my corner. I had a family that taught me honor and a girlfriend that supported my dream.
In the end, we ended up with 49 biology majors. With visions of my father, mother and grandfather swimming in my head, I held tight and ended up with a 3.1 GPA, which was just enough to get me into dental school.
I applied to five dental schools. I was only accepted at one: Temple University School of Dentistry. I'll never forget the day I learned of my acceptance. It was the first day of December, the day acceptance or rejection notices were received.
Many of my friends who were on their way to medical school knew how much trepidation I had and how hesitant I was to call home. With continual prodding from my peers, I held my breath and made the call.
I began the conversation with, “Mom, is there a letter from Temple?”
She said, “Yes.”
With no speakerphones at that time, I repeated what my mother said for my friends.
“Open it up, Ma.”
She begins to read, “The admissions committee is pleased...” That was all we needed to hear.
My friends drug me to the closest bar, stopping on the way to run into our chemistry class shouting, “Capista got into dental school!” Even an underdog can rally the excitement of others; five students vacated chemistry class to join us at the bar.
It felt great to be accepted! When I say I was an underdog, what I mean is I had to work hard to get to where I was going. Failure was never an option and success was something I wanted at an early age, but that did not mean it was easy. I had to struggle, adjust, and continually look for ways to succeed. Even though success wasn't easy, something strange happened when I got to Temple University. I completed all four years finishing a semester early and 11th in my class, which placed me in the top 10%. I guess I made the right choice to listen to my heart.
Dental school marked the beginning of developing my skills. During your first year in dental school, you get your instruments. Part of the instrument package is your drill. When I got that first drill, it was as if someone had given me gold. I would stare at it, hold it and affirm, “Yes! I'm going to get to do this!” It was almost a surreal experience. I knew I was on my path. I just knew it and nothing could stop me from becoming a dentist.
Dental school was a lot like the Marines; it was very tough and not very nice during the training. At the time, the school employed a method of motivation by beating you down before they built you up. I'm sure they wanted to weed out those who only thought they wanted to go into dentistry and find those who were actually going to become a dentist no matter what.
During the first year they were really out to make your life miserable and I was determined not to let it affect me. I knew I was going to do well and I loved dental school. I did well academically and when it was time for a residency, I was accepted everywhere I had applied.
Anne and I were engaged a few days after I was accepted to dental school. We were married after my first year. Financially we were on a very tight budget. Anne was a nurse and worked very hard. She paid the bills while I held on and worked towards my dream.
During that time, we went to garage sales to buy furniture and had to be frugal. Even though money was tight and all of our furniture was used, one day we decided to splurge for a new sofa and chair. This was a huge event for us. We felt like we were living the big time with that new sofa and chair!
Our very first apartment was in Clifton Heights where I grew up. It was on Baltimore Pike, the main street in our town, above a pizza parlor. August was a really hot month in that apartment. We had no air conditioning and the heat of the pizza ovens would continuously rise. That first year it was so hot, our parakeet died of heat exhaustion. One day we came home and he was dead in his cage. I have to wonder how Anne and I survived the heat ourselves!
The place smelled all the time and there were many mice running around. It was kind of crazy, yet we loved it. Even though money was tight, we were very happy and very in love. I would sit with Anne, put my arm around her and say, “Honey, one day you're going to have everything. A fine home, nice car, lots of money and anything you want. I promise.” At that time, flying to the moon would have been more believable than living a life where we could have anything we wanted, but I just knew in my heart we would.
The first year we were married we would watch the black and white TV we found during one of our garage sales excursions. It was also the year of the 1974 Olympics. I told Anne we were going to get a color TV to watch the Olympics. We spent something like $129 for this little Zenith color TV just to watch the Olympics. That was a lot of money back then. Buying the color TV was important to me because I wanted my wife to get a glimpse of what was possible and the kind of luxuries that were awaiting us.
Anne became pregnant towards the end of my senior year in college and we had our first child, Joseph, while I was in my residency. This was an exciting but tough time. We needed more room so we moved to a two-bedroom apartment during my residency. That was a huge stretch for us at the time.
As I started my first year in private practice, we had to stretch again. We bought a small, single home. We also had our second child, Vanessa, when we lived there. Before we got married, Anne and I would ride through an area called Rose Tree and look at these big, beautiful houses. The homeowners were manicuring their lawns on big lots and seemed so happy and successful. It was during those rides through Rose Tree that I would tell Anne, “Honey, someday we're going to live here.” I just knew it would happen. I never had a doubt. I would visualize the life I wanted.
What is amazing is that this is where we now live. I live in the very neighborhood we used to drive through; the very neighborhood I would feel a pang of excitement rush through my body every time we drove through.
I did my residency at Philadelphia General Hospital. I was fortunate to be able to build great people skills at Philadelphia General because I worked with a very diverse cross-section of people, mostly the poor, prisoners and police officers. I learned about compassion and humanity; it opened my heart, which became an important part of my way of doing business and my success.
My residency at Philadelphia General Hospital was a great experience. Even though I was working long hours, little by little I was watching my dream become a reality. At that time I didn't know much about goals, I just knew I had a dream and it was coming true.
During that time, I also worked evenings for a dentist, eventually buying his practice. Interestingly enough, his office was about a mile or two from where I grew up. I worked 60 to 70 hour weeks, including Friday nights and Saturdays. The dentist I worked for was far from progressive. He was overly thrifty, had antiquated equipment and a big closet he had converted into a treatment room. You couldn't even fit a dental assistant in there and it didn't have an X-ray machine. When I needed an X-ray, I had to wait for the dentist to finish, then go in and take an X-ray of my patient. We had two employees: a front desk person and a dental assistant. That was it.
In spite of his shortcomings, he had a ton of patients, something many dentists don't have. I watched and learned. I saw how good he was with people and because of him, I understood I was in the people business, not the dental business.
During my first year as a dentist, I decided I wanted to make $50,000. This was in 1977. Fresh out of my residency, I reached my goal and made the $50,000. That was a lot of money back then. In today's terms, it would be well over $200,000. I felt like I had arrived because of the kind of money I was making. All the hard work and sacrifice was paying off.
At that time, being successful in a practice meant you were netting six figures. With $50,000 under my belt in year one, I knew year two would bring $100,000. I was determined to make my goal of six figures and I did. I felt as though I was living a dream. A self-directed dream, but a dream nonetheless.
People can lose site of what it takes to achieve the life of their dreams. There is always a tradeoff, but it can be well worth it. The last year of my life had been filled with many moments of satisfaction, amazement and gratitude. We were living a life most people only dreamt of and I knew I had just begun!
You may think I am a good businessman and I am smart. As you can see from my educational background, I am just not that smart. The fact is — and it's really important for you to realize this — what I know about the world of business I learned from people who taught me how to run a business.
Success has very little to do with intelligence or skills. It has more to do with the way you think, feel and act. Because I know how important this is, I talk about this throughout the book. This doesn't mean you don't have to have skills or a certain amount of intelligence, but in this case my success has come more from intuition and thinking, not just from my intelligence and skills.
Father MeltonSuccess Summary
1. Dreams and desires can sometimes be more powerful than skills and intelligence.
2. Don't change your goals, change what you are doing to accomplish your goals.
3. What is in your gut is more important than what is in your head.
4. Trust your instincts.
5. We all need certain skills and intelligence to succeed, but success has very little to do with skills or intelligence.
6. Success comes more from the way we think, feel, and act.
7. Follow your dreams.
This book is a great resource for anyone looking for both a pragmatic and spiritual approach to building a life of Total Success. Order you own copy of What Can a Dentist Teach You about Business, Life and Success? within the next 24 hours and receive over $2,551 in bonus gifts from experts around the globe. Go to http://www.joecapista.com/amazon.htm
Who Is Joe Capista?
Keywords: Joe Capista, business success, book excerpt
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