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如何建立生活

2020-08-31  圆角望

我们翻译这篇文章的理由

成功与幸福的标准在这里。

👇

“成功瘾君子”宁愿选择特别而不是快乐

作者:ARTHUR C. BROOKS 

译者:邓舒丹

校对:叶永健

策划:张一丹 & 刘蕊

The pursuit of achievement distracts from the deeply ordinary activities and relationships that make life meaningful.

对成就的追求让人不再关注最普通的活动和人际关系,而正是这两者让我们的生命有意义。

I Imagine reading a story titled “The Relentless Pursuit of Booze.” You would likely expect a depressing story about a person in a downward alcoholic spiral. Now imagine instead reading a story titled “The Relentless Pursuit of Success.” That would be an inspiring story, wouldn’t it?

我在想象中阅读一本叫《对酒精的不懈追求》的书。你可能期待它讲了一个悲惨的故事,关于一个人陷入酒精的泥淖。现在想象读另一本书,题目是《对成功的不懈追求》。它于是成为了一个励志的故事,不是吗?

Maybe—but maybe not. It might well be the story of someone whose never-ending quest for more and more success leaves them perpetually unsatisfied and incapable of happiness.

可能吧---但也许不是。它可能是关于一个一直追求着更多成就的人,但他却永远不满足,无法获得幸福的故事。

Physical dependency keeps alcoholics committed to their vice, even as it wrecks their happiness. But arguably more powerful than the physical addiction is the sense that drinking is a relationship, not an activity. As the author Caroline Knapp described alcoholism in her memoir Drinking: A Love Story, “It happened this way: I fell in love and then, because the love was ruining everything I cared about, I had to fall out.” Many alcoholics know that they would be happier if they quit, but that isn’t the point. The decision to keep drinking is to choose that intense love—twisted and lonely as it is—over the banality of mere happiness.

身体上的依赖让酗酒者沉湎于他们的恶习,哪怕酗酒让他们痛苦。但是,比身体上瘾更有力的说法是喝酒是一种关系而非活动。正如作家卡洛琳‧柯奈普在她的回忆录《酗酒:一个爱的故事》里所描绘的酗酒,“故事是这样的:我陷入了爱河,因为那种爱毁灭了所有我在乎的事情,所以我必须脱身。”很多酒精上瘾的人知道戒酒会让他们更快乐,但是那并不是问题所在。选择继续喝酒等于选择那种深沉的爱--- 尽管它扭曲孤独—而不是纯粹平凡的快乐。

Though it isn’t a conventional medical addiction, for many people success has addictive properties. To a certain extent, I mean that literally—praise stimulates the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is implicated in all addictive behaviors. (This is basically how social media keeps people hooked: Users get a dopamine hit from the “likes” generated by a post, keeping them coming back again and again, hour after miserable hour.)

虽然这不是传统上的医学上瘾,对于很多人来说,成功有着让人上瘾的特质。某种程度上确实如此---赞美促进神经递质多巴胺的分泌,后者与所有的致瘾行为有关。(社交媒体让人着迷的原因也在于此:发朋友圈获得的赞让用户得到多巴胺的刺激,于是他们一次又一次,一刻不停地发朋友圈)

But success also resembles addiction in its effect on human relationships. People sacrifice their links with others for their true love, success. They travel for business on anniversaries; they miss Little League games and recitals while working long hours. Some forgo marriage for their careers—earning the appellation of being “married to their work”—even though a good relationship is more satisfying than any job.

但是成功对人际关系的影响类似于酒精上瘾。人会牺牲与他人的联系来换取他们的挚爱---成功。他们在结婚纪念日那天工作出差;因为长时间工作而错过小联赛和音乐演奏会。有些人为了事业而放弃了婚姻---得到一个“和工作结婚”的称号---即使一段良好的关系比任何工作更能让人感到满足。

Many scholars, such as the psychologist Barbara Killinger, have shown that people willingly sacrifice their own well-being through overwork to keep getting hits of success. I know a thing or two about this: As I once found myself confessing to a close friend, “I would prefer to be special than happy.” He asked why. “Anyone can do the things it takes to be happy—going on vacation with family, relaxing with friends … but not everyone can accomplish great things.” My friend scoffed at this, but I started asking other people in my circles and found that I wasn’t unusual. Many of them had made the success addict’s choice of specialness over happiness. They (and sometimes I) would put off ordinary delights of relaxation and time with loved ones until after this project, or that promotion, when finally it would be time to rest.

很多像心理学家芭芭拉·基林格这样的学者指出,为了不断获得成功,人们愿意牺牲自己的快乐而选择超负荷工作。我对这种现象也略知一二:因为我曾经向一个密友坦白,“我宁愿成为特别而不是快乐的人”。他问其中缘由。“每个人都能做一些让人快乐的事情---和家人一起度假,与朋友一起放松……但并不是所有人能够成就伟大的事业”。朋友对此嗤之以鼻,但是我开始询问身边的其他人,结果发现自己并不特殊。他们很多人已经决定了要像成功上瘾者那样偏爱特别而非快乐。他们(有时候我也这样)会推迟平日里休闲的快乐以及和爱的人在一起的时间,直到这个项目或者那个晋升结束,最后才是休息时间。

But, of course, that day never seemed to arrive.

然而,毫无疑问,那一天永远不会到来。

The desire for success may be inherent to human nature. The great American psychologist William James once noted, “We are not only gregarious animals, liking to be in sight of our fellows, but we have an innate propensity to get ourselves noticed, and noticed favorably, by our kind.” And success makes us attractive to others (that is, until we ruin our marriages).

这种对成功的渴望或许源自人的本性。伟大的美国心理学家威廉·詹姆斯曾说,“我们不仅是群居动物,喜欢获得同伴的关注,并且天生就倾向于让自己得到同类的正面关注”。成功让我们在别人眼里有吸引力(即:直到我们毁灭了自己的婚姻)。

But specialness doesn’t come cheap. Apart from some reality-TV stars and other accidental celebrities, success is brutal work, and it requires sacrifices. In the 1980s, the physician Robert Goldman famously found that more than half of aspiring athletes would be willing to take a drug that would kill them in five years in exchange for winning every competition they entered today, “from the Olympic decathlon to the Mr. Universe.” Later research found that up to 14 percent of elite performers would accept a fatal cardiovascular condition in exchange for an Olympic gold medal—still a shockingly high number, in my estimation.

但是,成为特别的人并不容易。除了某些真人秀节目里的明星和其他偶然成名的人,获得成功是一项残酷的工程,需要牺牲。在二十世纪八十年代,罗伯特·高曼医生有一个著名的发现:在那些有抱负的运动员里,超过一半的人愿意服用一种会在五年里致命的药物来换取赢得今日参加的所有比赛,比赛范围“从奥林匹克十项全能到宇宙先生”不等。后来研究发现有高达百分之十四的精英运动选手愿意用患上致命的心血管疾病的风险来换取奥林匹克金牌---在我看来,这一比例仍然高得令人触目惊心。

We can find this choice in ancient myth, as well. In Homer’s Iliad, Achilles must decide whether to fight in the Trojan War—promising certain physical death but a glorious legacy—or return to his home to live a long and happy life with his loved ones but die in obscurity. He describes his choice thusly:

That two fates bear me on to the day of death.

If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy,

my journey home is gone, but my glory never dies.

If I voyage back to the fatherland I love,

my pride, my glory dies ...

Achilles, success addict par excellence, chooses death.

我们也可以在古代神话中看到这种选择。在荷马的《伊利亚德》里,阿基琉斯必须选择参加特洛伊战争---意味着他一定会死,但是将会永垂不朽---或者回家,和爱的人一起幸福地生活,长命百岁,但是一生将默默无闻。他这样描绘自己的选择:

That two fates bear me on to the day of death.

If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy,

my journey home is gone, but my glory never dies.

If I voyage back to the fatherland I love,

my pride, my glory dies ...

阿基琉斯,最优秀的成功上瘾者,选择了死亡。

Unfortunately, success is Sisyphean (to mix my Greek myths). The goal can’t be satisfied; most people never feel “successful enough.” The high only lasts a day or two, and then it’s on to the next goal. Psychologists call this the hedonic treadmill, in which satisfaction wears off almost immediately and we must run on to the next reward to avoid the feeling of falling behind. This is why so many studies show that successful people are almost invariably jealous of people who are more successful.

不幸的是,成功是无休止的(和我的希腊神话糅合一下)。目标是满足不了的;大多数人从来没有感觉“足够成功”过。那种亢奋只能延续一两天,接着又是下一个目标。心理学家把这个称作“快乐水车”,满足感几乎一下子就消失了,我们必须追寻下一个刺激奖励,才能避免感到落后于人。这也是为什么许多研究表明成功的人几乎都嫉妒那些更成功的人。

译者注:Sisyphean---西西弗斯是希腊神话中的人物,与更加悲剧的俄狄浦斯王类似,西西弗斯是科林斯的建立者和国王。[1]  他甚至一度绑架了死神,让世间没有了死亡。最后,西西弗斯触犯了众神,诸神为了惩罚西西弗斯,便要求他把一块巨石推上山顶,而由于那巨石太重了,每每未上山顶就又滚下山去,前功尽弃,于是他就不断重复、永无止境地做这件事——诸神认为再也没有比进行这种无效无望的劳动更为严厉的惩罚了。西西弗斯的生命就在这样一件无效又无望的劳作当中慢慢消耗殆尽。(引自百度百科)

They should get off the treadmill. But quitting isn’t easy for addicts. For people hooked on substances, withdrawal can be an agonizing experience, both physically and psychologically. Anxiety and depression are very common after one quits alcoholic drinking, for example. Indeed, the novelist William Styron famously cited the cessation of his lifelong heavy drinking as part of the onset of the clinical depression he chronicled in his book Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness. Some chalk this up to loneliness in the absence of alcohol—remember, it’s a relationship.

他们应该从这种心理束缚解脱出来。但是对于上瘾者来说,放弃并不容易。对于那些对药物上瘾的人来说,戒断是痛苦的经历,身体和心理上均是如此。比如,一个人戒酒常常会受到焦虑和抑郁的干扰。对于小说家威廉·斯泰伦也是这样,他在Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness里记录了自己如何暂时中止持续了一生的酗酒,并导致了临床抑郁的著名经历。失去了酒精的陪伴,一些人将抑郁归咎为孤独---要记住,这是一种关系。

Success addicts giving up their habit experience a kind of withdrawal as well. Research finds that depression and anxiety are common among elite athletes after their careers end; Olympic athletes, in particular, suffer from the “post-Olympic blues.” I saw this withdrawal all the time in my years as the president of a think tank in Washington, D.C. Prominent people in politics and media would step back from the limelight—sometimes of their own volition, sometimes not—and suffer mightily. They talked of virtually nothing but the old days. Many suffered from depression and anxiety.

当对成功上瘾的人放弃他们的习惯时也会经历某种戒断。研究发现,抑郁和焦虑在精英运动员结束职业生涯后很常见;奥林匹克运动员尤为如此,他们会遭受“奥运后的忧郁”的折磨。在作为华盛顿特区一家智库的主席期间,这种戒断一直出现在我的视野内。政治和媒体领域的精英会从聚光灯下退身---有时是自动选择,有时则是因为巨大的痛苦。他们所谈论的几乎都是旧日时光。很多人被抑郁和焦虑所困扰。

“Unhappy is he who depends on success to be happy,” wrote Alex Dias Ribeiro, a former Formula 1 race-car driver. “For such a person, the end of a successful career is the end of the line. His destiny is to die of bitterness or to search for more success in other careers and to go on living from success to success until he falls dead. In this case, there will not be life after success.”

“一个人要依靠成功才能获得快乐是不快乐的人” 前F1赛车手亚历克斯·迪亚斯·里贝罗这样写道。“对于这种人来说,成功的职业生涯的结束就是赛道线的终点。他的命运要么是含恨而终,要么是从其他领域追求更多的成就,在成功中延续生命,直至走向死亡。在这种情形里,成功之外没有生命”。

American culture valorizes overwork, which makes it easy to slip into a mindset that can breed success addiction. But if you’ve seen yourself in my description, don’t lose hope. There is plenty you can do to retrain yourself to chase happiness instead of success, no matter where you are in your life’s journey. Let me suggest that you consider three steps, whether you are at the peak of your career, trying to work your way up the ladder, or looking at success in the rearview mirror.

美国文化肯定超负荷工作的价值,这很容易形成一种滋生成功瘾的思维模式。但是,如果你在我的描述中看到了自己,不要失去希望。你可以做许多事情来制约自己,让自己追逐幸福而不是成功,不管你正处于人生的哪个阶段。你可能事业顺风顺水,可能正向上拼搏,或者正从后视镜里品味着成功,我建议你考虑这三个步骤。

The first step is an admission that as successful as you are, were, or hope to be in your life and work, you are not going to find true happiness on the hedonic treadmill of your professional life. You’ll find it in things that are deeply ordinary: enjoying a walk or a conversation with a loved one, instead of working that extra hour, for example. This is extremely difficult for many people. It feels almost like an admission of defeat for those who have spent their lives worshipping hard work and striving to outperform others. Social comparison is a big part of how people measure worldly success, but the research is clear that it strips us of life satisfaction.

第一步是要认识到不管你现在、以前或者希望未来有多么成功,你都不可能从职业生涯的享乐适应症中获得真正的幸福。幸福蕴藏在那些最平凡的事物中:比如,和爱的人一起散步或者交谈,而不是将那一小时拿来工作。对于很多人来说,这是极其困难的。对于那些一生崇尚努力工作并致力于超越他人的人来说,这无异于承认失败。人们常用社会攀比来衡量世俗成就,但是研究表明这会剥夺我们对生活的满足感。

The second step is to make amends for any relationships you’ve compromised in the name of success. This is complicated, obviously. “Sorry about choosing tedious board meetings—which I don’t even remember now—over your ballet recitals” probably won’t get the job done. More effective is simply to start showing up. With relationships, actions speak louder than words, especially if your words have been fairly empty in the past.

第二步是要开始补偿你以成功的名义而忽略的所有关系。当然这很复杂。仅仅一句“对不起,我选择参加了无聊的董事会议---现在一点也记不住会议上的事情了---而不是你的芭蕾舞演奏会”恐怕不能完成任务。更有效的方式是直接开始出现在这种场合。在关系里,行动远比语言有用,尤其是如果你以前经常不守承诺的话。

The last step is to find the right metrics of success. In business, people often say, “You are what you measure.” If you measure yourself only by the worldly rewards of money, power, and prestige, you’ll spend your life running on the hedonic treadmill and comparing yourself to others. I suggested better metrics in the inaugural “How to Build a Life” column, among them faith, family, and friendship. I also included work—but not work for the sake of outward achievement. Rather, it should be work that serves others and gives you a sense of personal meaning.

最后一步是找到正确衡量成功的方式。在商业领域里有这样一句话,“你就是你所衡量的”。如果你衡量自己的方式仅是金钱、权力、名誉这些世俗的奖励,你就会一生在享乐适应症中奔跑,和别人比较。在新创的“如何建立生活”栏目里,我建议采用信念、家庭、友谊这些更好的衡量指标。我也把工作包含在内---但是工作不是为了外在的成就,而是为了服务他人,赋予个人价值而工作。

Success in and of itself is not a bad thing, any more than wine is a bad thing. Both can bring fun and sweetness to life. But both become tyrannical when they are a substitute for—instead of a complement to—the relationships and love that should be at the center of our lives.

和酒一样,成功本身不是一件坏事。两者都可以为生活带来趣味和甜蜜。但是当它们作为关系和爱的代替品而不是补充时,就会变得专横。关系和爱才应该是我们生活的重心。

  • 本文原载于 The Atlantic

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