Limitations: The Key to a Practical Cure
Let me tell you a little about myself.
In addition to the work I do at the JDCA, I’m also a freelance writer. I’ve tackled a large variety of projects, but whenever I start a new one ( no matter the subject) the first thing I do is start placing restrictions on myself.
This isn’t hard, as oftentimes you already have restrictions. Maybe the piece I’m writing can’t go over 500 words, at which point I only have a page of space to work with. Other times you’re already limited by the subject, or the scope. But generally, I give myself stricter guidelines on top of the basic ones.
The reasons are two-fold: One, I generally find that the more limitations I place on myself, the more creative I tend to be. Adversity breeds innovation as far as I’m concerned, and I often see complete freedom as more of a detriment than not. But the other thing restrictions are good for is work efficiency and focus. Let’s hang on that point: efficiency. I have a deadline, and I need work completed within that deadline. If I set no other restrictions on myself, it could take me up until the night the project is due before I’m really secure with what I’m writing. This, quite simply, is inefficient. It wastes a ton of my time, which could be spent on a myriad of other things (like sleeping).
That’s what guidelines do: create efficiency. In tandem with a deadline, it keeps you on track. If I’m writing on the history of the zombie movie, how much time am I spending on each decade? Do I place more importance on certain films, or do give them all equal footing? Where the will I be spending most of my time? If I’m writing a twenty-minute short play, it obviously needs a small scope. One location, 2-3 characters max. In addition, the audience needs to get the basic story by the end of page 2, any longer and I’ve failed to hook them. Setting these restrictions focuses my writing, and keeps me from getting off track.
By the same measure, this is why we created our guidelines to a Practical Cure. These, coupled with our 2025 deadline, help narrow our focus on only the research that stands to provide clear, immediate benefits to those who want a Practical Cure. This is also why we want other charities to adopt a definition for a cure: creating a guidepost keeps you from wasting time and money on dead-ends that aren’t going to provide you with the results you truly want. Guidelines are not limiting, but provide focus and clarity for what you want to achieve.
Until next time.
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