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译文精选:日记是解决问题的强大工具

2015-05-15    来源:yeeyan.org    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

日记是解决问题的强大工具
Journaling as a Problem-Solving Tool

【译文精选】

One the most powerful personal development tools is simply to keep a personal journal.
个人发展最强大的工具之一,就是坚持写个人日记。

I've been keeping paper journals since 1996, and two years ago I converted to journaling software, which I find much faster and more convenient. The program I use is called The Journal. It comes with a fully functional 45-day trial and sells for $39.95, but honestly I think that price is too low compared to the value I receive from it. I think $79-99 would be a fairer price. I just bought a second copy of the program for my wife to use, since she’s getting into journaling herself. Although you can certainly keep a journal on your computer with just a word processor, what I like about this dedicated journaling software is that it has a built- in calendar to make it easy to instantly view entries by date, and you can also search past entries for specific keywords.
我从1996年开始就一直写纸质日记,两年前又转换到使用日记软件,软件方式更加迅速便捷。我所用的日记程序是The Journal(日记),售价为39.95美元,包含45天全功能免费试用期。但老实说,我认为与自己从中获得的价值相比,这个价格太过便宜。我觉得79-99美元倒是更公平的售价。我刚买了第二套软件送给妻子,因为她也有写日记的习惯。当然,你可以只用文字处理软件在电脑上写日记,但我对这款专用日记软件的喜爱之处在于,它有内建的日历功能,能让人轻松按日期即时查看日记内容。你还可通过输入特定关键词,搜索以往日记。

What do I do with my journal? Although many people use journals or diaries to keep a record of life events, I don’t normally bother with such entries, and I rarely even go back and read past entries. For me it’s primarily a problem solving tool, a way to think through complex decisions until I reach the point of clarity. I average about 5-10 journal entries a month, and I usually begin a new entry by typing a question or a problem I want to solve. Then I proceed to explore the possible solution space of the problem. Sometimes the problems may be very simple, such as “What topic should I select for my next speech (or article)?” But other times I explore much broader subjects, like “Where do I want to be in 2010, and what do I need to start/stop doing now in order to get there?” Sometimes I’ll just brainstorm possible solutions, while other times I’ll write about a problem from different angles to understand it more fully. For example, I might ask myself, “How would Albert Einstein solve this problem? Leonardo da Vinci? Jim Carey? Captain Picard?” Or I might ask, “What’s good about this problem? How might I avoid even needing to solve this problem? What would the optimal solution to this problem have to look like?”
我用日记干嘛?虽然很多人用日记或日志作为保存生活事件的记录,我一般不会劳烦自己写下这些内容,甚至很少回头阅读以往日记。对我来说,它主要就是解决问题的工具,一种透彻思考复杂决定,直到自己获得清晰感的有效方式。我平均每月写5-10篇日记,经常以写下想要解决的问题或者麻烦来开始一篇新日记,然后进一步探索相应问题的可能解决空间。有时那些问题非常简单,比如“我该为下次演讲(或下篇文章)选择什么话题?”其他时候我则会探索更宽广的主题,例如“我想在2010年成为什么样子,为实现这个目标现在需要开始/停止做哪些事情?”有时我只用头脑风暴来想出所有可能解决方案。另一些时候则会从各种不同角度分析同一个问题,以便更全面地理解它。例如,我可能会自问:“爱因斯坦会怎样解决这种问题?达芬奇又将如何解决?金·凯瑞(美国喜剧演员)呢?还有皮卡德舰长(《星际旅行》中的人物角色)?”或者我会问自己:“这个问题的有益一面是什么?我如何能避免,甚至无需解决这种问题?这个问题的最优解决方案看起来会是什么样子?”

I find these kinds of exercises very valuable. When I try to solve a problem in my thoughts alone by thinking it through, I often meet success with simple problems, but thinking things through often fails to solve more complicated problems. Either I won’t find a satisfactory solution at all, or I won’t understand the problem well enough to feel good about the solutions I do find, or sometimes I’ll find a solution that I feel good about, but after I’ve slept on it and looked at it fresh the next day, it doesn’t seem quite so intelligent anymore. So instead of thinking things through in my head, I tackle those big, hairy problems by writing them through. Thinking can often become circular, and our brains have a tendency to overgeneralize; i.e. we’re always looking to simplify things by classifying them according to patterns. However, sometimes it’s important to consider the raw facts of a problem without trying to prematurely pattern-match it to a previous problem we’ve already solved. For example, if you run your own business and experience a temporary sales drop, which happens to be a problem you experienced and overcame once before, you may still need to consider the possibility that this sales drop has a unique cause and cannot be overcome by re-applying the previous solution.
我发现这种练习极具价值。当只通过在脑中彻想来解决问题时,我可以成功解决一些简单麻烦,但彻想方式经常难以解决更为复杂的问题。我要么无法找到令人满意的解决方案,要么对问题理解得不够到位,感觉找到的解决方案并不太好。或者有时找到了感觉不错的解决方案,但睡过一晚第二天再看,那个方案似乎也没那么明智。因此,与其在脑中彻想这些事情,不如把它们全部详写下来,以便处理这类庞大、棘手的问题。冥思苦想常会让人陷入兜圈子的状态,而我们的大脑又倾向对事物进行过度概括,即:总想基于各种模式规律,通过给事情分门别类,直接简化它们。不过,有时具体考虑某个问题的原初事实,也是非常重要的分析解决方法。而非根据以往已解决问题的固定模式,试图将它永久性套用在当前问题上。例如,若你经营的生意出现了一次暂时销售下降,而你以前遇过这种情形并克服了其中问题,这时你就需要考虑此次销售下降存在特殊原因的可能性,无法再通过套用以往解决方案进行处理。

By exploring problems on paper, I avoid circular thinking, and it’s also easier to identify gaps in the possible solution space that have yet to be considered. Once I’ve written about a problem from a particular angle, I can put that part to rest and move on to exploring the next part, and the written record makes it easy to consider the problem from a sufficient number of different perspectives to leave me feeling confident that I understand it fully enough to make an intelligent decision. So essentially, journaling allows me to overcome some of my brain’s functional limitations, effectively expanding the mental working memory that’s available for solving problems.
通过在纸面上对问题进行分析探索,我避免了陷入兜圈子思考的麻烦,这种方式也更易看出解决方案的考虑空间。一旦我从某个特定角度写出一个问题,便可将这一部分的问题放到一边,继续探索其他部分。写下的记录能让人从足够多的角度轻松考虑问题,对自己全面理解当前问题感到充分自信,以便做出明智决定。因此从本质上讲,写日记能让我克服个人大脑在功能上的某些限制,高效拓展思维记忆,有力解决更加复杂的问题。

Some problems are by their very nature just too big to fully understand in our thoughts alone. We can only focus our conscious minds directly on a small part of any given problem. Our brains are fairly powerful, but our conscious minds are still extremely limited in their ability to hold onto multiple simultaneous thoughts. For example, you can close your eyes and visualize an apple tree, but can you visualize that tree from one hundred different angles all at the same time and thereby select the one with the most apples visible? Even a question as simple as, “What should I have for dinner?” is enough to run us up against our mental limits. To truly make the best possible decision, we would have to consider all possible dinners we might eat, prioritizing their taste, texture, nutritional value, cost, convenience, etc. Now for a relatively simple decision like this, we might consider a mere three or four options and then pick the one that seems best to us in the moment. But what if we’re faced with a much more significant decision with far-reaching consequences, where it’s much more important to feel confident that our choice is at least close to optimal?
有些问题本身就过于庞大,无法只靠在脑中思索获得全面理解。个人清醒思维只能专注于当事人所面对问题的很小一部分。我们的大脑极其强大,但清醒思维在同时专注于多个并行想法的能力上,依然非常有限。例如,你可以选择让眼睛视觉化想象一棵苹果树,但你能同时从一百个不同角度视觉化想象这棵树,以挑出会看到最多苹果的那个角度吗?即使像“我晚饭该吃什么?”这样的简单问题,就足以令我们的大脑思维满负荷运转。要想真正做出最佳决定,我们可能必须考虑自己吃过的所有晚饭,对它们的味道、搭配、营养价值、花费、便利度等进行优先排序。对于像这样的简单决定,我们也许能考虑三、四个选项,然后挑出自认为最佳的一个。但若我们面对的是更为重大的决定,将带来极为深远的影响结果,这时所做选择对自己重要得多,至少要让它接近最优决定,我们又该怎么办?

Life is full of these kinds of choices. What career should I choose? Where should I live? Should I get a divorce or remain in an unhappy marriage? These are all major life-changing decisions. You can certainly choose to make them haphazardly and without careful consideration, but you’ll be the one who has to live with the consequences. If you fail to put forth the effort to apply the full extent of your intellect to making the best possible choices when the stakes are so high, then what does that say about the value you place on your own life?
生活中充满这类选择。我该从事什么职业?我该去哪里生活?我是该离婚,还是待在毫无幸福感的婚姻里?这些都是充满挑战的人生决定。你当然可以随意做出这些选择,无需仔细考虑,但你将是生活在选择后果里的那个人。倘若在选择风险如此高时,你不为做出最佳选择,全力应用个人才智,那你对自己人生价值又到底抱有何种看法?

While even journaling can’t overcome the major limitations of our conscious minds to systematically consider solution spaces with millions of possibilities, writing things through is at least a step in the right direction. We still have to delegate a major part of our decision-making to our subconscious minds, to our intuition, and to our emotions. But the more of this process we can pull into our conscious minds (by using either paper or a computer screen as an extension of our consciousness), the more clarity and focus we gain in knowing that our decisions are the right ones. And in the long run, after years of exercising the mental discipline to make more conscious decisions, we reap the harvest of far greater results.
即使写日记无法克服个人清醒思维的主要局限,难以系统考虑多达百万数量级的可能解决方案,但把事情清楚写下来,至少是朝着正确方向迈出的一步。我们依然不得不把做出决定的主要任务委派给自己的潜意识、直觉,以及情感能力。但我们越能在清醒思维中处理这个过程(利用笔纸,或电脑屏幕,把它们作为个人思维意识的外在延伸),就越能获得更多清晰感和专注度,从而知道自己所做的都会是正确决定。而且长远看来,为做出更清醒决定,经历多年思维自律训练后,我们终将收获更加伟大的人生成果。

【原文来源:stevepavlina.com 作者: Steve Pavlina 翻译来源:yeeyan.org 译者:SPC】



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