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美文:2015如何做崭新的自己?

2015-01-07    来源:en8848    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

美文:2015如何做崭新的自己?

THE annual ritual of the New Year’s resolution — I’ll lose 10 pounds, get my finances in order, be more patient with my family, feel more grateful — misses the point. We try to steel our wills to do what we already know we should be doing. Kick-in-the-pants reminders, however stern, are missed opportunities for genuine self-renewal. (Not to mention that the shelf life of any motivational juice we generate in January tends to expire in February.)
制定新年规划这个一年一度的常规动作——我要减重10磅,要解决财务问题,要更耐心地对待家人,要更知道感恩——总是放错重点。我们竭力强化意志,去做已经意识到自己该做的那些事情。但好似“催命符”的备忘录不管多严苛,都无法激励人们进行真正的自我更新。(更别提1月份才成形的这些宏图大志是多么容易过期,2月份一到,它们往往就宣告破产。)

The turning over of a new year is an opportunity to create ourselves anew. How? The key, I suggest, is in shifting our understanding of the choices we make. For many people, the most important choices in life are sources of agony, dread, paralysis — even depression or suicide. It doesn’t have to be like this.
新年来临之际是重新塑造自我的良机。如何塑造呢?我认为,关键在于换个角度来理解我们所做的选择。对很多人而言,生命中最重要的一些选择是痛苦、恐惧、无力的根源,甚至会让人产生抑郁和自杀倾向。但事情并不一定非是如此不可。

A hypothetical example: Eve works as a textbook editor at a Boston publishing house and was approached by a small but prestigious imprint on the West Coast that was looking for a fiction editor. The job would be a big promotion, with a significant raise, and Eve had always wanted to work in fiction.
比方说,伊芙是波士顿某出版社的教科书编辑,西海岸一家正在寻找小说编辑的出版公司找到了她。该公司规模虽小,但却久负盛名。接受这份工作,伊芙的职位会大大提升,薪水会大幅提高,而且她一直都想在小说领域发展。

But Eve is in crisis. Should she move her husband and young daughter from their cozy life in Boston, her home of 15 years, to the wilds of California? If she stays, will she be forsaking the opportunity of a lifetime? If she moves, will her new boss turn out to be a jerk? Will her child be bullied at school? What if her husband can’t find a good job? Will the family quarrel, the marriage dissolve, her boss fire her for being incompetent, and she and her child end up on food stamps in a homeless shelter?
但伊芙却面临着艰难的抉择。她已经在波士顿生活了15年,该让丈夫和年幼的女儿抛开这里的惬意生活,与她一起搬走吗?如果选择留在波士顿,她能够割舍一生中难得的机遇吗?如果选择搬去西海岸,要是发现新老板是个混球可怎么办?要是她的孩子在学校挨欺负可怎么办?要是她丈夫找不到好工作可怎么办?家里是否会争吵不断,婚姻是否会解体,老板是否会因为她无法胜任工作而炒她鱿鱼,她和孩子是否会落得在收容所靠食品券度日的田地?

Many people are like Eve and see their choices as, in essence, problems of computation. But choosing between jobs is not like computing the distance between Memphis and Mumbai. The view of choice as a matter of calculating maximal value is assumed in cost-benefit analysis, government policy making and much of economic theory. It’s even embedded in the apps you can download that purport to help you decide whether to buy a new car, get married or change jobs.
许多人都和伊芙差不多,他们其实把选择看成了计算利害得失的问题。但在不同工作之间做出选择,跟测量从孟菲斯到孟买的距离可不是一回事。把选择看作对价值最大化的计算,是内化于成本收益分析、政府决策过程以及许多经济理论之中的一种观念。它甚至潜藏在可以从网上下载的某些旨在帮助你决定是否要买新车、是否要结婚、是否要换工作的应用程序之中。


At the heart of this model is a simple assumption: that what you should choose is always determined by facts in the world about which option has more value — facts that, if only you were smart enough to discover, would make decision-making relatively easy.
该模型的核心假设非常简单:你的选择总是取决于世界上的某些与哪个选项会带来更大价值有关的事实——你只要聪明到足以发现这些事实,就能够相对容易地做出决策。

But the assumption is false. When we compute distances, there are only three possibilities: one distance is more than, less than or equal to another. Similarly, when we compute value, there are only three possibilities: one thing is better than, worse than or just as good as another. But we shouldn’t assume that goodness is like distance. Values don’t have the same structure as facts.
但这个假设是错误的。我们测算距离的时候,所面对的可能性只有三种:一段距离比另一段长,比另一段短,或者跟另一段相等。同样,我们计算价值的时候,所面对的可能性也只有三种:一个事物比另一个好,比另一个糟,或者跟另一个差不多。但我们不该把事物的好坏和距离的长短等同起来。价值的体系和事实的体系是截然不同的。

Options can be “on a par” — different in value while being in the same overall neighborhood. If your alternatives are on a par, you can’t make a mistake of reason in choosing one instead of the other. Since one isn’t better than the other, you can’t choose wrongly. But nor are they equally good. When alternatives are on a par, when the world doesn’t determine a single right thing to do, that doesn’t mean that value writ large has been exhausted. Instead of looking outward to find the value that determines what you should do, you can look inward to what you can stand behind, commit to, resolve to throw yourself behind. By committing to an option, you can confer value on it.
各种选项可能会“平分秋色”——虽然价值不完全相同,但也相差无几。如果你有一些平分秋色的选项,你无论选择哪个,都不会犯判断上的错误。因为两种选择没有优劣之分,你不可能做出错误的选择。不过,它们也并非一样好。当选项平分秋色时,当世界上并非只有唯一正确的答案时,那并不意味着真正的价值已经枯竭。与其从外部寻找价值来判断自己应该做些什么, 你可以向内心来询问自己能够支持、承诺,以及决心投身于什么。只要笃定于一个选项,你就为它赋予了价值。

Of course, this isn’t to say that you should commit to being a first-class jerk, pedophile or murderer. That’s because being a jerk is not on a par with being a good person.
当然了,这并不是说你应该笃定于成为一个头号混蛋、恋童癖,或者杀人犯。这是因为,做一个混蛋和做一个好人可不是平分秋色的选项。

When we choose between options that are on a par, we make ourselves the authors of our own lives. Instead of being led by the nose by what we imagine to be facts of the world, we should instead recognize that sometimes the world is silent about what we should do. In those cases, we can create value for ourselves by committing to an option. By doing so, we not only create value for ourselves but we also (re)create ourselves. Eve might resolve to make her life in Boston. Someone else, in her shoes, might resolve to start a new life in California. There is no error here, only different resolutions that create different sorts of people.
当我们在平分秋色的选项中做选择时,我们就成了自己人生的创造者。我们不应该被我们想象中的世界现实牵着鼻子走,而是应该认识到,有时,这个世界不会告诉我们应该做什么。在这种情况下,我们应该笃定一种选项,创造我们自己的价值。这样做的话,我们不仅为自己创造了的价值,我们也(重新)创造了自己。伊芙可能决心在波士顿生活。而面临同样的境遇,另一个人可能会决定在加州开始新的生活。这无所谓对错,只是不同的解决方案造就不同类型的人罢了。

So Eve, faced with her choice, should reflect on what kind of person she can be. Can she be someone who abandons a contented life for a new adventure? A choice between alternatives that are on a par is a precious opportunity to create the sort of person she can commit to being, by committing to being that sort of person.
因此,伊芙在做出选择时,应该考虑的是,她能成为什么样的人。她能为了新的冒险而放弃舒适的生活吗?在平分秋色的选项中做决定是一个宝贵的机会,可以创造出一个自己能够决心成为的人,方法就是下决心成为那种类型的人。


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