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对生活保持热情的秘诀:时常冒险

更新时间:2016-4-13 10:58:54 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Paradox of Finding Motivation Through Fear
对生活保持热情的秘诀:时常冒险

I was driving with a friend recently and telling him about some projects that really excited me. I mentioned a new book I’m working on, an article I’m writing and this new hobby of adventure motorcycling in the desert.

近日我和一个朋友开车出行的时候,向他讲了我的一些计划,这些计划让我十分兴奋。我提到自己正在写的一本新书,一篇文章,以及在沙漠里骑摩托车冒险的新爱好。

He interrupted me and said, “How do you stay so motivated and so excited about things?”

他打断我说:“你是怎么对事情保持如此积极、如此兴奋的心态呢?”

It caught me off guard. I hadn’t really considered the “why” behind my list of activities. But as I thought about it, I realized that the one aspect each of these projects had to make me so motivated — the common thread — was the feeling of being in just a little over my head. In other words, doing things despite the fact that, as the marketing guru Seth Godin likes to say, “this might not work.”

这个问题来得有些猝不及防。我真的没有想过“为什么”要做这些事情。但是一旦开始考虑这个问题,我就发现,这些让我动力十足的活动都有一个共同点,就是感觉对我来说有点难。换句话说,这些事情就像营销大师塞斯·高丁(Seth Godin)喜欢说的那样,“可能行不通”。

Now, that may sound a little bit counterintuitive. It’s easy to wonder how doing stuff that makes you uncomfortable, and might not even work, is a source of motivation.

这听上去可能违背常理。你会觉得奇怪:做一些让你不舒服的事情,甚至可能行不通的事情,怎么会是动力的源泉?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this paradox, and I could not get my friend’s question out of my head. I wondered whether I’m wired differently. But there’s something about a sink-or-swim environment that excites me.

对于这个矛盾,我想了很多很多,朋友的问题一直在我脑海中流连不去。我不知道自己是否古怪得有些另类。但是,那种“要是游不起来,就会沉下去”的环境,有一种让我感到兴奋的特质。

I posted on Instagram about constantly getting in a little over my head, and my friend Dallas Hartwig told me about this concept called hormesis, a phenomenon by which something that could significantly impair or even kill you in high doses can make you stronger in low doses. Or as the National Institutes of Health puts it, “In the fields of biology and medicine, hormesis is defined as an adaptive response of cells and organisms to a moderate (usually intermittent) stress.”

我在Instagram上说要不断让自己觉得有点困难。朋友达拉斯·哈特维(Dallas Hartwig)和我讲了“毒物兴奋效应”(hormesis)这个概念,即某些毒物高剂量时会严重损害身体健康甚至致人死亡,低剂量却会让人变得更强。或者用国立卫生研究院(National Institutes of Health)的话来说,“在生物和医学领域,毒物兴奋效应被定义为,细胞和有机体对中等强度(通常是间歇性的)压力的适应性反应。”

Of course, I thought. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s not a new concept. It’s well documented that the way to grow muscle is to rip the muscle tissue, and then give it time to regrow. You give it stress, then rest, and it comes back on the other side stronger than it was before.

我想,当然是这样。毁灭不了你的,只会让你更强大。这并不是新出现的概念。长出肌肉的方式是撕裂肌肉组织,再让它有时间重新生长,这一点便充分证明了以上观念。向它施压,再让它休息,肌肉愈合后会比以前更强健。

So what if we did the same thing in other areas of our lives? In our work, in our family life or in our recreational activities?

那么,如果我们在生活中的其他方面,比如工作、家庭生活或娱乐活动中也这么做,会出现什么情况?

It makes sense that the business equivalent of building muscle is trying new things. When you throw yourself into the deep end of something new, you often face a steep learning curve. That forces you to grow, adapt, change and develop your skill set. It’s almost irrelevant if the particular project ends up succeeding. The very act of taking on something new helps you become better at your work over all.

在商业领域,与练肌肉对应的是尝试新事物。这么说是有道理的。全身心应对新事物带来的困难时,我们通常会面临一个陡峭的学习曲线。这会迫使我们提升、调整、改变和发展自己的技能。某个项目最终是否会成功几乎不重要。尝试新东西这个事实,就会帮我们从整体上提升自己的工作能力。

You cannot spend your whole life in the deep end, as that is a recipe for drowning. Muscles get tired. So just like physical exercise, you have to take breaks. You have to calibrate the stress and rest cycle of any sort of entrepreneurial or creative work.

我们不能把一生都花在解决困难上,因为那会让人被困难淹没。肌肉也会疲劳。因此就像体育锻炼一样,我们必须得休息。不管从事什么类型的创业或创意工作,我们都得调整压力和休息的循环。

The more I thought about it, the more I began to see these experiences, of diving into the unknown, for what they really were. Some people call them work projects, but I call them adventures. After all, isn’t the definition of “adventure” to set off into the unknown, endure hardships, come back and then rest?

我越思考,就越会在这些深入未知领域的经历中发现其本质。一些人称它们为工作项目,我称它们为冒险。毕竟,“冒险”的定义不就是进入未知世界、经历磨难、回来然后休息吗?

With this reframing, I finally had an answer to my friend’s question about how I stay motivated. It’s because I’m constantly setting off on the next adventure! How could I not?

经过这种认知重建,我终于能回答朋友问我如何做到保持积极的问题了。因为我在不断开启下一次冒险!我怎么会不积极呢?

I know that adventures are not for everyone. I know they can feel scary and intimidating. But making a habit of seeking adventures, in spite of how scary they are, may be the secret to staying motivated about the things you do.

我知道,并不是所有人都喜欢冒险。我也知道,冒险可能会让人觉得害怕,令人胆怯。但养成寻求冒险的习惯,不管它们有多可怕,可能就是对自己所从事的事情保持热情的秘密。

And that, if nothing else, confers a key economic benefit onto anyone who experiences it. Even if we set aside all the tangible benefits that come from stepping outside our comfort zone, it is intuitively obvious that being more excited about your work is a surefire way to improve your performance – and turn your various ventures into adventures.

对有这种经历的人来说,这么做即便没有其他好处,也会带来重要的经济效益。即使抛开走出舒适区带来的所有实实在在的好处,我们凭直觉也能明显感觉到,对工作更有热情必然会改善我们的表现,所以让我们把各种各样的项目变成冒险。

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