Sunday, May 31, 2009

Limitation is a creation of the mind.

Explain the meaning of the statement above. Describe a specific situation in which limitation may, in fact, be quite realistic. Discuss what you think determines when limitation is real and when it is an illusion created by ones psyche.

There is a sturdy platform bridged between the concept of motivation and the achievements it fosters. In the spirit of optimism, there is a school of thought where the only obstacles between oneself and said achievements are the illusions self-created out of doubt and fear. Painting achievement in this light, it is certain that once confidence reigns anything is possible. Unfortunately, there are circumstances in which limitation is quite real, and emerges in a physical form independent of human confidence.

We will examine the case of a young prospective medical student determined to embark on the ravaging adventure of an MSTP dual degree. Wide eyed, and naive of the particular tolls this endeavor will take on her body and mind, she allows herself to be swept into a realm of fantasy in which all the agonizing training is over. She is the proud and excited principle investigator of a neurodegenerative diseases laboratory where multiple studies are undertaken based on the peculiarities she sees in her diagnostically impossible patients. It was all very well worth it, she thinks - now being in her mid-thirties and about to spring a small family into operation, Boxer puppy and all. The limitations were nowhere to be seen; simple incorrigible self-motivation drove her through eight years of MSTP and three more of residency with but a few bouts of fatigue and scratches to her otherwise-intact ego. She got through it all believing that her only limitations were those she imposed on herself through doubt, self-degradation and fear of incompetence. All of these were easily over-ridden by stepping aside to remind herself of her dreams and her ability to see their fruition. ...right?

Well, sadly there are several real limitations to ones ability to succeed in such endeavors. It is not always the case that young prospectives like our optimistic case study can nullify the limitations of their minds with pep-talks and meditation. There are cases where limitation is not illusion, but reality. Our young prospective MSTP student neglected to inform you that she suffers from Crohn's disease and IBS, two conditions which render her indisposed for up to two days at a time at unpredictable frequency. She did not mention that the numbers by which she was to be assessed in qualification for the MSTP dual degree were unformidable, and by no means set her application aglow. She refused to admit to herself that her intelligence was an obstacle, and she refused to resign to her health as a legitimate hole in her stairway to paradise. These, however, were real limitations. It was, in fact, their neglect that was the self-imposed illusion. And so, the young prospective MSTP student was forced to re-enter the present time and condition in order to assess on a more grounded level whether her limitations were real or surmountable.

She remains in limbo, ruminating over and over the possible outcomes of strength of spirit versus strength of body and intellect. It is here where limitation becomes real and must be faced with the understanding that a different stairway may need to be built in order to ascend to that golden future amongst glowing MD-PhDs and their radiating achievements.

Writing Sample #1