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像设计iPhone那样设计你的美好人生

更新时间:2016-9-22 10:32:33 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Want to Find Fulfillment at Last? Think Like a Designer
像设计iPhone那样设计你的美好人生

STANFORD, CALIF. — Take out your flow journals. We’re going to talk about flow moments.

加州斯坦福——拿出你写的禅境日记吧,我们要来谈谈那些身与意合、物我两忘的时刻。

You’re going to learn how to find a fulfilling career. You’re going to learn how to better navigate life’s big-moment decisions and kill your “wicked problems” dead.

你将学习如何找到一个能带来充实感的职业,学习如何更好地做出生命中的重大决策,终结那些“烦人的问题”。

How? By training yourself to think like a designer.

究竟该怎么做呢?答案是:训练自己像设计师那样思考。

That, anyway, is the premise of “Designing Your Life,” a class taught at Stanford University (the school’s “most popular class,” according to Fast Company magazine) as well as the just-published book that grew out of it, “Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life” (Knopf).

至少,这便是斯坦福大学教授的《设计人生》课程(根据《快公司》杂志[Fast Company]的报道,它是该校“最热门的课程”)给出的前提。脱胎于这门课的新书《设计人生:如何打造美好快乐生活》(Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life,Knopf出版社)也是这么说的。

The two men who created the class and wrote the book are Silicon Valley veterans, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. They believe they have hit upon a system to help you deal with almost any challenge.

开设这门课并著书立说的是曾经在硅谷打拼的比尔·伯内特(Bill Burnett)与戴夫·埃文斯(Dave Evans)。两人相信,他们无意间找到了能帮助大家应对几乎所有挑战的办法。

“How do you find the one to love — we don’t do that,” Mr. Burnett said. “We also don’t give advice on weight loss.”

“怎么找到另一半——我们不涉及,”伯内特说。“我们也不会给出减肥建议。”

But everything else? The two professors claim that you can design an amazing life in the same way that Jonathan Ive designed the iPhone. They say the practices taught in the class and the book can help you (in designing-your-life-speak) “reframe” dysfunctional beliefs that surround life and career decisions and help you “wayfind” in a chaotic world through the adoption of such design tenets as bias-for-action, prototyping and team-building.

至于其他事情呢?两位教授宣称能按照乔纳森·艾夫(Jonathan Ive)设计iPhone的方式来设计美妙人生。他们表示,课上和书中传授的办法可以帮助大家(从设计人生的角度来说)“重新定义”困扰着人生与职业决策的无用信念,通过崇尚行动、原型设计、团队建设等设计界的信条,协助你在纷乱的世界中“找到路径”。

After nine years of teaching their secrets to future Google product managers and start-up wunderkinds, Mr. Burnett and Mr. Evans are opening up the curriculum to everyone. “What do I want to be when I grow up?” and “Am I living a meaningful life?” aren’t only subjects for late-night pot-fueled dorm hangouts, the men said.

在过去九年时间里,伯内特与埃文斯向未来的谷歌(Google)产品经理与创业天才传授自己的秘诀,现在他们要把这门课开放给所有人。二人表示,“我长大之后想要成为什么样?”、“我目前的生活有意义吗?”这些话题并非仅会出现在深夜由大麻驱动的宿舍闲聊里。

“The question of ‘What do I do with the rest of my one wild and wonderful life?’ is on everyone’s mind,” Mr. Evans said.

“‘我那美妙而混乱的余生,要拿来做什么?’的问题印在每个人的脑海里,”埃文斯说。

Mr. Burnett recalled a conversation with Stanford’s dean of the engineering department, who was about to retire. “He said: ‘Can I take your class? Because I don’t know what I’m going to be now that I’m not the dean anymore.’”

伯内特回忆起与斯坦福工学系主任在主任退休之前的一段对话。“伯内特说:他说‘我能来上你的课吗?’我不当主任了,现在不知道自己要变成什么样。”

Mr. Burnett added: “One of the meta-narratives out there is that you should figure it out by 25, or maybe it’s 27 now. Then there’s the other thing of failure to launch, that millennials are slackers. Part of the permission we give people is: Reframe this. You’re not supposed to have it figured out.”

伯内特还说:“市面上存在着一种说法,你应该在25岁之前想清楚,或者现在大概说的是27岁。后来又出现了腾空失败、千禧一代是懒鬼之类的说法。我们允许大家做的其中一件事是:重新定义。本来就不需要想清楚。”

Mr. Burnett and Mr. Evans looked on as the roughly 50 Stanford students in their charge took out and read from their flow journals. Then they broke the class into discussion groups of six or seven.

伯内特与埃文斯的大约50名学生拿出他们的禅境日记,念诵起来,而二人在一旁观察。接下来,他们把课堂分为六七个讨论组。

It was early May, and the students were in the final weeks of “Designing Your Life.” Standing in the front of the room, Mr. Burnett and Mr. Evans began to make their way through a PowerPoint presentation.

此时是5月初,学生们还有几周就会上完《设计人生》课。伯内特与埃文斯站在教室前方,开始讲解播放着的幻灯片。

“When did you seem the most animated, the most present?” Mr. Burnett said, by way of guiding the discussion groups.

“你什么时候看起来最充满活力?最投入?”伯内特这样引导讨论组。

Silviana Ilcus, an art history major who had completed more than 230 units at Stanford without having arrived at a firm idea of what she wanted to with her life, addressed the other members of her group.

艺术史专业的学生西尔维娅娜·伊尔库斯(Silviana Ilcus)在斯坦福完成了逾230个学分,却还没有打定主意自己想要怎样的人生。她在同组其他成员面前讲了话。

“I don’t have flow when I’m doing art history,” Ms. Ilcus said. “I hate writing.” The others listened patiently. “My flow was doing math,” she said, seeming to have a light-bulb moment in real time. “I’m wondering why it didn’t guide my choice of major.”

“我搞艺术史的时候体会不到物我两忘,”伊尔库斯说。“我讨厌写作。”其他人耐心地听着。“我搞数学的时候才会进入那种状态”她说,看上去像是突然大彻大悟了。“我奇怪它怎么没有指导我选择专业。”

Sitting at an outdoor campus food court after class, Mr. Burnett and Mr. Evans nodded in recognition after hearing of the exchange. “The course surfaces stuff that people haven’t worked through yet, almost universally,” Mr. Evans said.

课后,伯内特和埃文斯坐在校园里的一处露天就餐区,对这样的交流点头赞许。“这个课程能让人们尚未解决的问题浮出水面,这些问题几乎是普遍的。”埃文斯说道。

Mr. Burnett said, “It’s a place to have this conversation, because nobody is asking them these questions, and they’re not asking themselves.”

伯内特说,“我们在这里进行这样的对话,因为没有人会问他们这样的问题,他们也不会问自己这些问题。”

College students are promising empty vessels, as yet unburdened by the trade-offs and compromises that keep the rest of us up at night — say, hating your corporate job but loving the house it pays for, or wanting to fulfill your dream of backpacking across Europe with two young children in school. To make “Designing Your Life” workable for people in midcareer, the professors had to do their own reframe of the curriculum.

大学生们是没有盛放任何东西的器皿,充满希望,那些让我们其他人夜间辗转反侧的权衡与妥协也不会困扰他们——比如一方面讨厌自己在企业的工作,一方面又喜欢用这个工作赚的钱买的房子;或者心里一直梦想着背着包漫游欧洲,可是家里还有两个在上学的孩子。为了让《设计人生》同样适用于那些处于事业生涯中期的人,两个教授得重新设置这门课程。

The book includes things that are not in the class, like what Mr. Burnett and Mr. Evans call “anchor problems” — overcommitted life choices that keep people stuck and unhappy. A common mistake that people make, they said, is to assume that there’s only one right solution or optimal version of your life, and that if you choose wrong, you’ve blown it.

书中包括了课上没有讲过的内容,比如被伯内特和埃文斯称为“锚问题”的东西——过分受束缚的人生选择,让人们动弹不得,闷闷不乐。他们说,人们常犯的一个错误就是假定人生中只有一个正确的解决方案或一个乐观的版本,如果你选错了,一切就都搞砸了。

That’s completely absurd, Mr. Evans said: “There are lots of you. There are lots of right answers.”

这太荒谬了,埃文斯说:“你有很多种可能性。人生也有很多正确答案。”

As self-actualization messengers, the two men are an odd couple. Mr. Burnett, 59, is a self-contained, acerbic, existential atheist with an earring, while Mr. Evans, 63, is an outgoing, verbose, practicing Christian with the gray beard of a philosopher.

作为自我实现的传播者,这两人堪称一个奇怪的组合。伯内特59岁,是个内向、尖刻的存在主义无神论者,戴着一只耳环;63岁的埃文斯则是个外向、滔滔不绝的基督徒,留着一把哲学家式的花白胡子。

Both are Stanford grads, and while they have accomplished résumés (Mr. Burnett helped to design the original “Star Wars” toys and worked at Apple before becoming executive director of Stanford’s design program; Mr. Evans also worked at Apple and co-founded Electronic Arts, the game company), each said his younger self would have been well served by the course.

两人都毕业于斯坦福,都有漂亮的履历(伯内特在成为斯坦福的设计项目执行总监之前,曾经参与设计过最早的《星球大战》[Star Wars]玩具,还在苹果公司工作过;埃文斯也在苹果工作过,还是电子游戏公司艺电[Electronic Arts]的联合创始人之一),但他们都说,假如自己年轻时上过这门课,将会获益良多。

For his part, Mr. Evans struggled as a biology student, a major he chose because he had watched a Jacques Cousteau television special as a boy, and one he clung to because, he said, “I don’t think I had conscious permission to not know what I was doing.”

埃文斯说,他曾经努力成为一个生物系学生,他选择这门专业是因为小时候看过雅克·库斯托(Jacques Cousteau)的电视特别节目,后来坚持这个专业则是因为“我觉得当时的我无法清醒地意识到自己其实并不知道自己正在做什么”。

He switched to mechanical engineering and graduated with a master’s degree in the mid-’70s. But when an Apple recruiter called, he initially hung up, because he was bored by computers. In doing so, Mr. Evans said ruefully, he violated several principles of “Designing Your Life,” among them staying open to “latent wonderfulness.”

他转到了机械工程专业,于70年代中期研究生毕业。但是当苹果公司的招聘人员打来电话时,他一开始挂断了,因为他厌烦电脑。现在,埃文斯懊悔地说,他当时的做法违背了“设计你的人生”中的若干原则,比如说,要对“潜在的精彩”保持开放心态。

“If you’re wrong, you go: ‘Oh, computers are boring. O.K., I’m going home now,’” Mr. Evans explained. “ ‘Yes’ is easy. ‘No’ is hard to come back from.”

“如果你是错的,你会说:‘啊,计算机真没劲,好吧,我回家了’,”埃文斯解释说。“说‘好’容易。说‘不’可就很难挽回了。”

Mr. Burnett had an easier time on the surface, finding his way to the design program at Stanford and a lifelong vocation. Through a professor mentor, he landed a job as a toy designer and went on to greater success.

在加入斯坦福的这个设计项目,并得到一份终身职业的历程中,伯内特的经历看上去要容易些。通过一个教授导师,他开始做一份玩具设计师的工作,之后获得了更大的成功。

But, he said: “My method was a blind walk. I didn’t have any strategies. I trusted my intuition, but I worried that I didn’t know what I was doing.”

但是,他说:“我的方式就像摸索着行走。我没有任何战略。我相信自己的直觉,但是我也担心并不知道自己到底在做什么。”

Before joining forces, they hashed out the concepts they had been developing over a two-pitcher lunch at a Portola Valley beer garden then known as Zott’s (short for Rissotti’s; it is now called the Alpine Inn), using their life experiences as grist for the curriculum.

两人合作这个计划之前,曾经在波托拉谷名叫Zott’s(Rissotti’s的缩写,如今名叫Alpine Inn)的啤酒花园就着两扎啤酒吃午餐时详细讨论过相关概念,他们想使用自己的人生经验,作为这项课程的素材。

In a place like Stanford, where yearly in-state tuition is about $50,000, they thought it was worthwhile to send students into the world with practical knowledge about how to find a fulfilling job and excel at it.

在斯坦福这样的地方,每年的正式学费大约需要5万美元,他们觉得,让学生掌握寻找满意工作并且能在岗位上出色发挥的实践知识,是非常有价值的。

They began holding workshops for adults a few years ago, including for the employees of Google. The workshop and the book are an effort to take their approach beyond its cloistered campus setting.

几年前,他们就开始为成年人主办座谈会,其中包括谷歌的雇员。这个座谈和这本书是他们试图冲破校园范畴的努力。

As Mr. Evans put it, “We’re trying to give this thing away.”

正如埃文斯说的,“我们试着把这件事传播开来。”

If you can get past the jargon-heavy language and Silicon Valley preciousness, many of the principles of “Designing Your Life” are, in fact, helpful. Design thinking, as rendered in the book, is about treating life in a more improvisational way. It’s a welcome counterbalance to the data-driven, engineering mind-set gripping the culture.

如果你能掌握充满各种术语的语言,并且是硅谷需要的人才,《设计人生》中的许多原则对你来说是有帮助的。这本书中提出的设计思维就是以一种更加即兴的方式来对待人生。这对于当今充满数据导向和工程意识的文化来说,是一种受欢迎的平衡力量。

Follow Mr. Burnett’s and Mr. Evans’s teachings, and the anxiety-ridden process of decision making suddenly seems more playful. Their method is experiential and accepts that failure is part of the process.

听了伯内特和埃文斯的教导,充满焦虑的决策过程一下子变得好玩多了。他们的方法是实验式的,并且把失败视为过程的一部分。

Central to the philosophy is prototyping, a concept borrowed from how product designers work. Let’s say you’re thinking of changing careers. Interview someone who does the job you’re considering. Better yet, ask to shadow them for a day, or work in the field on weekends. If it feels right, take it a step further; if it doesn’t, move on.

这种哲学的核心是原型设计(prototyping),这个概念是从产品设计中借鉴而来的。这么说吧,如果你在考虑改变自己的事业生涯,可以去拜访某些正在做你想做的工作的人。更好的办法是要求跟他们一天,或者周末去实地做这项工作。如果感觉很好,那就继续向前一步;如果感觉不好,那就忘了这回事吧。

“It’s a classic form of design,” Mr. Burnett said. “You build a lot of stuff, you try a lot of stuff. But it’s always less than the whole product.”

“这是设计的经典模式,”伯内特说。“你建造一大堆东西,尝试一大堆东西。但都还不是最后的产品。”

Prototyping big decisions like a career change or a move, meanwhile, guards against blowing up your life to rush headlong into the alluring unknown, or worse, taking no action for years, unhappily.

在进行转换职业这样的重大决策时进行原型设计,可以避免你一头冲进诱人的未知,从而毁掉你的生活,还可以避免更糟的情况:年复一年不采取任何行动,同时又闷闷不乐。

Emma Wood, a 25-year-old Stanford graduate and a consultant at McKinsey & Company who took “Designing Your Life” as an undergraduate, said the class released the pressure she felt about the life she would face after graduation.

25岁的斯坦福毕业生、麦肯锡公司(McKinsey & Company)顾问爱玛·伍德(Emma Wood)在读本科时上过《设计人生》这门课,她说,这门课帮助她释放了面对毕业生活时所感到的压力。

“Your whole future and happiness aren’t tied to this one plan working out,” she said. “You can make mistakes. Failure is good.”

“你的整个未来和幸福并不维系在这一项正在进行的计划之上,”她说。“你可以犯错。失败是好事。”

The capstone of the Stanford class, and a key part of the book, is an assignment to come up with three “Odyssey Plans” that map out the next five years of your life in radically different ways.

斯坦福这门课程的顶点,也是这本书的核心部分,就是一项包含三项“奥德赛方案”的作业,要以各种极为不同的方式,描绘出接下来五年内你的生活。

The activity is designed to reinforce the sense of multiple viable options, unlock the imagination and eliminate the attractive power of the unknown alternative.

这项活动是用来进一步加强你拥有多种可能性选择的意识,释放想象力,消解未知选项的诱人魅力。

Lingtong Sun, who graduated from Stanford last year, said he continues to use the “Odyssey Plan” and other concepts from the class to decide his long-term career.

去年毕业于斯坦福的孙灵通(Lingtong Sun,音)说,他仍在继续使用“奥德赛方案”以及这门课上的其他概念,来规划自己的长期事业生涯。

“On the grand level, I haven’t figured out what I want to do yet,” said Mr. Sun, who works as a software engineer for a tech start-up in the Bay Area. “But I’m more open to trying something and seeing how it goes. It’s that bias toward action. You can’t think your way into your future.”

“在更大的层面上,我还没有找到自己到底想做什么,”如今在湾区一家初创技术公司担任软件工程师的孙说道。“但是我对尝试其他事物变得更加开放,愿意看到它如何发展。这就是行动的倾向。你无法只靠思考走进未来。”

Breaking down the system to its basic parts, as a designer would, Mr. Evans said, “There are only two things we offer in the class: ideas and tools.”

埃文斯像设计师那样,把系统拆解为最基本的零件,“我们在课堂上只教两样东西:观念和工具。”

He added, “If you think with these ideas rather than the ones you had before, and you use these tools, we believe your chance of building and getting what you want will go up.”

他补充说,“如果你使用这些观念来思考,而不是你以前的那些观念,并且使用了我们教授的这些工具,我们相信,你会更有机会确立和得到你想要的东西。”

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