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为什么有的人总是迟到?

更新时间:2018-4-8 20:27:26 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Why some people are always running late
为什么有的人总是迟到?

Confession: I am a late person. At least, one in recovery. In fact, I’ve repeatedly, and embarrassingly, missed the deadline for this article. I’d love to pretend this is some journalistic form of ‘method’ acting. It is not.

首先要自我检讨一下:我是个爱迟到的人。至少,是一个正在改掉迟到习惯的人。事实上,我反复错过了这篇文章的交稿日期,这实在令人难堪。我试图假装这是为了写这篇文章而主动"体验生活",但实则不然。

I know I’m not alone. We all know that person: there’s the child minder who is always late, the colleague who misses every deadline, even if just by a few hours, the friend you must tell to arrive 30 minutes earlier than she needs to for your lunch reservation.

我知道像我这样的情况并非个例。我们身边应该都有这样的人:可能是每天都会迟到的保姆,也可能是每次都无法按时完成任务的同事。更有甚者,如果你要跟某个朋友吃午饭,在告诉他时间安排时都要故意早说30分钟,才能避免对方迟到。

There are few habits as infuriating as someone making us wait. But, despite what may be running through your mind as you’re kept waiting again, it’s unlikely your friends and colleagues are just being selfish. A look into the psychology of lateness offers a glimpse into a mind that that may be malfunctioning. But there’s also more than one fix.

很少有哪种习惯能像迟到那么令人恼怒。然而,尽管当你一次又一次无奈等待时可能心怀不满,但你的朋友和同事之所以这么做,可能并不是因为自私。针对拖延症进行的心理学研究,可以帮助我们大致了解这样一种功能紊乱的思维系统。但解决方法也不止一种。

No, late people aren’t rude and lazy

不,迟到的人既不无礼,也不懒惰。

Perceptions of unpunctual people are almost always negative — even if misguided.

人们对不守时的人普遍持有负面看法——但这却有可能存在误解。

“It is easy to perceive them as disorganised, chaotic, rude and lacking in consideration for others,” says Harriet Mellotte, a cognitive behavioural therapist and a clinical psychologist in training in London. “Outside of my clinical practice, others being late is something that can particularly get under my skin!”

"很容易认为这些人组织混乱、杂乱无章,认为他们不仅举止无礼,而且不考虑他人的感受。"认知行为治疗师哈里特·梅洛特(Harriet Mellotte)说,他目前还在伦敦接受临床心理学方面的培训,"如果不是在进行临床实践,迟到的人会令我感觉尤为愤怒。"

But, many late people are at least somewhat organised and want to keep friends, family and bosses happy. The punctually-challenged are often excruciatingly aware and ashamed of the damage their lateness could do to their relationships, reputations, careers and finances.

但很多不守时的人至少有一定的组织能力,而且希望朋友、家人和老板高兴。但他们这种不守时的习惯却很容易被人注意,他们也都为由此给人际关系、个人声誉、职业发展和财务状况带来的破坏感到难为情。

“While there are those who get a charge out of keeping others waiting, if you’re typical, you dislike being late,” Diana DeLonzor writes in her book Never Be Late Again. “Yet tardiness remains your nemesis.”

"虽然有的人会因为别人的等待感到兴奋,但正常人都很讨厌迟到。"戴安娜·德隆泽(Diana DeLonzor)在她的书《永远不再迟到》(Never Be Late Again)里写道,"然而,你还是很难克服不守时的毛病。"

Excuses, excuses

借口,借口

Some excuses, particularly for acute lateness, are fairly universally accepted —an accident or illness, for example. But others aren’t so easy to swallow. Some late people will pass it off as a symptom of being big-thinking and concerned with loftier matters than time-keeping, as an endearing quirk, a mark of doing one’s best work under pressure, or having the body clock of a night owl rather than a lark.

有些借口已经被普遍接受,例如发生事故或遭遇疾病——在发生严重不守时的情况时尤其如此。但其他借口却难以被人接受。有些不守时的人会将此归咎于自己思考过多,还有的则表示有其他比守时更重要的事情要做,比如可爱的怪癖、在压力下把工作做到尽善尽美,或者晚睡时的注意力比早起更加集中。

Joanna, a teacher in London who didn’t want her surname used, says her reputation for being unpunctual can sometimes be attributed to a difference in opinion. “A friend will ask me to come over, and they’ll say ‘come any time from seven,’” she says. “But if I do turn up at eight or later, they’re annoyed.”

在伦敦从事教师工作的乔安娜(Joanna)不愿公开自己的姓氏,但她表示,她之所以不守时,有时候是因为观念不同。"我有朋友约我出去,他们可能会说,'7点之后都行。'"她说,"但如果我8点或更晚才到,他们就会生气。"

Being consistently late might not be your fault. It could be your type. The punctually-challenged often share personality characteristics such as optimism, low levels of self-control, anxiety, or a penchant for thrill-seeking, experts say. Personality differences could also dictate how we experience the passing of time.

总是迟到或许并不是你的错,而是你天性如此。专家表示,不守时的人往往拥有相似的性格,例如乐观、自我控制能力差、焦虑,或者喜欢刺激。个性差异还能决定我们对时间流逝作何感受。

In 2001, Jeff Conte, a psychology professor at San Diego State University ran a study in which he separated participants into Type A people (ambitious, competitive) and Type B (creative, reflective, explorative). He asked them to judge, without clocks, how long it took for one minute to elapse. Type A people felt a minute had gone by when roughly 58 seconds had passed. Type B participants felt a minute had gone by after 77 seconds.

2001年,圣迭戈州立大学心理学教授杰夫·康特(Jeff Conte)展开了一项研究,他将参与者分成A类型(野心勃勃、争强好胜)和B类型(有创造力、喜欢沉思、善于探索)。他让他们在没有表的情况下凭感觉判断1分钟有多长。A类型的人感觉1分钟大约是58秒,B类型的人感觉1分钟则长达77秒。

You are your own worst enemy

你才是你自己最大的敌人

Late people often have a “bizarre compulsion to defeat themselves,” wrote self-proclaimed late person and TED speaker Tim Urban in 2015. He gave these poor souls a name: CLIPs, Chronically Late Insane People.

蒂姆·厄本(Tim Urban)曾在2015年担任过TED演讲嘉宾,他自称是一个不守时的人。他表示,不守时的人往往有"打败自己的怪异冲动"。他给这些可怜的人取了个名字:CLIP——慢性迟到精神病人(Chronically Late Insane People)。

Of course, there are other reasons for lateness, but many remain self-inflicted. For starters, there’s the anticipation of being late, or even too much attention to detail.

当然,迟到还有其他原因,但很多仍然源于自我。首先,他们有迟到的预期,甚至过于关注细节。

For Joanna, the most distressing example is writing school reports. “I never make the deadline, which looks like I don’t care,” she explains. “I think about [the reports] for weeks, and put so much angst into really assessing each child. But the fact that they are late undermines that.”

对乔安娜而言,最痛苦的例子莫过于撰写学校报告。"我从来没有在规定时间内完成过,这似乎让人觉得我不关心此事。"她解释道,"我会花几个星期的时间思考报告,然后怀着过于忐忑的心情认真评估每个孩子。但实际上,迟交报告的现实却破坏了我的计划。"

For some, lateness is a “consequence of deeply distressing common mental health or neurological conditions,” says Mellotte.

对某些人来说,不守时"是因为受到常见的心理健康或精神问题困扰。"梅洛特说。

“People with anxiety diagnoses often avoid certain situations,” for instance, says Mellotte. “Individuals with low self-esteem are likely to be critical about their abilities which may cause them to take more time to check their work.” And depression often comes with low energy, making mustering the motivation to get a move on all the harder.

例如,"患有焦虑症的人往往会避开某些环境。"梅洛特说,"较为自卑的人可能对自己的能力更为挑剔,所以会花费更多时间检查自己的工作。"而抑郁症患者往往萎靡不振,想要调动积极性就变得更加困难。

Fix your brain, be on time?

修复大脑,遵守时间?

Dr Linda Sapadin, a psychologist in private practice in New York and author of How to Beat Procrastination in the Digital Age says, says some persistent lateness comes from “an obsessive thinking problem.”

纽约独立心理学家、《如何在数字时代对抗拖延症》(How to Beat Procrastination in the Digital Age)的作者琳达·萨帕丁(Linda Sapadin)博士表示,某些人之所以反复迟到是因为存在"强迫性思维"。

In short, she says, the procrastinator focuses on a fear attached to the event or deadline for which they are running late. Rather than figuring out how to get beyond the fear, the fear becomes the excuse – usually expressed with a ‘but’ statement. For instance, you might tell yourself, “I wanted to be on time for that event but I couldn't decide what to wear; I started to write an article but I was afraid my colleagues would find it not good enough,” she explains.

简而言之,她认为拖延症患者很关注与某件事相关的恐惧,或者不断迫近的最后期限。他们不会想办法来克服恐惧,反而让恐惧变成借口——通常以"但是"的形式表达出来。例如,你可能会告诉自己,"我也希望守时,但是我没法决定应该穿什么;我开始写文章,但是我担心同事认为我写的不好。"她解释道。

“Whatever comes after the 'but' is what counts,” says Sapadin. She tells people to change the word ‘but’ to ‘and’. ‘But’ denotes opposition and blockage; ‘And’ denotes connection and resolution, she explains, so “the task becomes less daunting, the fear less of an obstacle.”

"真正重要的是'但是'后面的内容。"萨帕丁说。她建议人们把"但是",改成"而且"。她解释道,"但是"表示反对和妨碍;"而且"则表示关系和决心,这样一来,"任务就没有那么可怕,恐惧所构成的障碍也会降低。"

DeLonzor started on her path to punctuality by identifying, and adapting the very thing that seemed to always make her late. That was only after she failed over and over again to improve her timeliness, she says. And then she realised it was the thrill of being rushed that she craved. Changing what she craved was the only way to improve.

为了遵守时间,德隆泽首先明确了那些总是让她迟到的事情。她表示,她经过了反复的失败才变得更加守时。她随后意识到,她渴望的是那种匆匆忙忙所带来的紧张情绪。改变她渴望的东西是使之更加守时的唯一办法。

“As I worked towards the goal of being more timely, I began to see the importance of being a reliable person,” DeLonzor says, “Developing that side of myself soon became a priority.”

"当我瞄准时间观念更强的目标时,就会发现身为一个可靠的人是多么重要。"德隆泽说,"发展自己的这个方面很快变成了重点。"

Then there are the friends and loved ones who simply can’t take it anymore. Some of Sapadin’s clients arrive after a frustrated loved one has bought them a session or course with her.

此外,有些人的拖延习惯已经令朋友和亲人忍无可忍。有的客户就是在满心挫败的亲人为其购买了萨帕丁课程或咨询服务后找到她的。

For those left waiting, there is hope. You, too, can dictate what you’re willing to put up with.

那些被迫等待的人还有一线希望。你可以阐明自己所能容忍的底线。

“Instead of getting angry or upset, you can take a stand and set boundaries,” she says. “Talk about what you will do if the other person isn’t on time.” For instance, tell your late friend you’ll go into the movie without them if they’re more than ten minutes late. Tell that colleague who never turns his part of the project in on time that it just won’t be included next time — and the boss will know about it.

"你可以阐明立场,设定底线,而不是生闷气。"她说,"告诉对方,如果他们不守时,你会怎么做。"例如,可以告诉喜欢拖拖拉拉的朋友,如果他们迟到超过10分钟,你就会独自去看电影。对于总是无法按时完成工作的同事,则可以告诉他,你下一次会直接放弃他负责的部分——而且会告诉老板。

For me, a turning point came when a good friend drew her line in the sand. I was an hour late for a run in our local park. That was it, she said. She wasn’t going to make any more plans with me. And so she set in motion the best thing for me: accountability and identifying and addressing underlying problems that led to my perpetual lateness.

对我来说,当一个好朋友明确阐明她的离场时,我也迎来了转折点。我们当时约好在本地的公园一起跑步,但我却迟到了一个小时。她说,她受够了。她不会再跟我一起做任何规划。就这样,她反而调动了我的积极性:我开始承担责任,并主动寻找和解决令我反复迟到的问题。

As the adage goes, old habits die hard, and the agonising over this article is a deft illustration of that. But the next time I find myself keeping someone waiting, I’ll be looking at my thinking, and I’ll try to change it, even just a little.

常言道,"江山易改,本性难移",我在写这篇文章时面临的烦恼就是很好的例证。但下一次,当我发现又有人因为我而被迫等待时,我会好好审视自己的思维,然后努力做出改变,哪怕只有一点点。

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