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努力比才华更重要是误人子弟?

发布者: 顾含爱学习 | 发布时间: 2021-12-15 15:09| 查看数: 435| 评论数: 0|

有关努力比才华更重要的现代主流观念是误人子弟的。坚信努力总会有回报,在更大程度上属于幸存者偏差,而不是真理。

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全文共871个词,by Janan Ganesh

“Nobody will ever work as hard as I work,” Michael Jordan was quoted as claiming in The Last Dance. Netflix’s Chicago Bulls docu-series spoiled us in the spring with this and other Stakhanovite wisdom. “The pain. I want to feel that.” “Starts with hard work, ends with champagne.” “It” being effort, Jordan, we hear, “never freakin’ turned it off”.
“永远不会有人比我更努力,”迈克尔•乔丹(Michael Jordan)在《最后之舞》(The Last Dance)中说。今年春天,Netflix的芝加哥公牛队(Chicago Bulls)系列纪录片用这句话和其他斯达汉诺夫式(阿列克谢•斯达汉诺夫/Aleksey Stakhanov,苏联劳动英雄——译者注)智慧,让我们大开眼界。“疼痛,我想要感到疼痛。”“始于努力,终于香槟。”“最重要的”是努力;我们听到,乔丹“从来没有放松的时候。”

A uniquely American sedulousness, I had assumed. And then I watched the Amazon Prime series on José Mourinho’s less-storied Tottenham Hotspur. Here is a game where the slack but skilful do not just get by but sometimes coin historic reputations. Talk panache to me, then, José, talk talent or at least tactics. But no. Most of his amazingly unenlightening speeches are variations on “try harder”.
我曾以为这是美国人特有的勤勉。直到我看了Amazon Prime一部关于关于若泽•穆里尼奥(José Mourinho)执教不那么出名的托特纳姆热刺队(Tottenham Hotspur)的纪录片。在足球运动中,一些懒散但技术高超的人不仅能混得不错,有时还能名留青史。那么就跟我聊聊潇洒气质吧,若泽,或者才华,或者至少聊聊战术。但是他没有。他的谈话惊人地缺乏启发性,大部分都是在变着花样说“要更努力”。

Sport is more given than most fields to this worship of work. All athletes can name childhood friends, now lost to obscurity, who had twice the skill but no dedication. (The ones who toiled monstrously but just weren’t as good seem to slip their memories.)
相比大多数领域,体育运动更容易崇尚努力。所有运动员都能说出一堆现在默默无名的儿时伙伴,当初比他们多一倍天赋,但没有他们努力。(那些拼命训练、却没有脱颖而出的人似乎不在他们的记忆里。)

If this blind spot for the obvious — for talent — were confined to sport, it would be harmless. But the “You get out what you put in” merchants are found in all walks. Some are advising your children to take “extreme ownership” in a YouTube motivational video right now. They mean well enough. If they went no further than broad encouragement to try one’s best in life, their counsel would be sound. What is more often intimated, though, is a near-linear relationship between effort and success. That is, hard work as a sufficient, not just a necessary, requirement. The notion is almost inspiring enough to excuse its delusional irresponsibility.
如果这个显而易见的盲点——对“才华”视若不见——仅限于体育运动,那就没什么关系。但这种“你付出什么就得到什么”的倡导者在社会各界都有。有些人在YouTube上的励志视频中建议你的孩子们发扬“极端主人翁精神”。他们的用意是好的。如果他们只是笼统地鼓励人们在人生中尽最大努力,他们的建议将是成立的。但他们更经常暗示的是,在努力和成功之间有一种近乎线性的关系。也就是说,努力是一个充分条件,而不仅是一个必要条件。这个理念鼓舞人心,几乎足以让人原谅其异想天开和不负责任。

Why do we find it so hard to talk about talent? To concede its vast role (whether lesser or greater than work’s) in deciding life outcomes? The cynic’s take is that a stress on work, for all its outward modesty, allows winners to put their success down to personal agency. At that point, progressive taxes, even a lack of deference to the successful, become harder to justify. They are no way to treat the deserving.
为什么我们这么难谈论才华?为什么我们这么难承认它在决定人生际遇上的巨大作用(无论才华的作用比努力更小还是更大)?爱冷嘲热讽的人认为,强调努力——尽管表面上很谦逊——让赢家能把自己的成功归因于个人的主观能动性。如果是这样,累进制税收——甚至对成功人士缺乏尊重——就更难以证明合理了。怎能如此对待那些应该获得回报的人?

I just doubt that anything so egoist is at work. It is more that Enlightenment cultures, built on the idea of life as self-authored, cannot bring themselves to reckon with something as undemocratic as talent. Whether it is “innate” or acquired in youth, those who have it constitute a more or less imporous aristocracy. With few exceptions, third-tier athletes don’t sweat their way into the elite mid-career. In humdrum professions, an average employee can wring the most from their abilities without ever matching a coasting natural, or their own ambitions.
我不认为利己主义是不愿承认才华背后的一个因素。我觉得更重要的是,启蒙运动文化——其基本理念是人生是自我谱写的——受不了才华这种不民主的东西。无论才华是“与生俱来的”还是在青年时期掌握的,拥有它的人构成一个或多或少排他的贵族阶层。几乎没有例外的是,三流运动员在职业生涯的中段即使拼命训练也不可能达到精英水平。在平凡的职业中,一名普通员工就算把能力发挥到极限,也永远赶不上一个游刃有余的有天赋者,也永远实现不了他们自己的雄心。

“Be talented”, I admit, is an inert kind of career advice. But it is crueler to tell the young that their rewards are sure to equal their efforts. As well as being mistaken, it is a formula for the most intense self-reproach if and when they fail. They are left with just their own indolence as the reason for the non-materialisation of their dreams.
我承认,“要有才华”是一种无效的职业建议。但更残酷的是告诉年轻人:他们付出多少,就肯定会得到相称的回报。除了错误外,当他们失败的时候,这种观念会促使他们发出最强烈的自责。对于他们未能实现梦想,他们只剩下一个原因:他们自己太懒惰。

As a man who often freakin’ turns it off, the valorisation of work should be shaming. But I have known too many counter-examples to take it seriously. I am far enough into professional life to have seen former peers and superiors stumble or just quietly fade. Not one can be accused of sloth. Nor can the people who raised me, who had superior work ethics and inferior lives. It is the young who are liable to fall for the trope of workrate-as-destiny.
作为一个经常放松的人,拔高努力的价值应该让我感到羞愧。但我知道太多反例,以至于无法把它当真。我从事这一行已足够久,见过前同事和上司受挫,或者无声无息地淡出。没有人可以被指责为懒惰。抚养我长大的人也不能——即使他们有着超常的工作道德,却过着不如人的生活。只有年轻人才会轻信“工作投入决定命运”的比喻。

There has never been a better or worse time to seek life advice. What used to be the discrete and risible field of “self-help” is now the ambient culture. For young men, especially, the supply of Jocko Willinks and Joe Rogans is both inexhaustible and free. Nothing of the kind was available when my generation was casting around for guidance.
寻求人生建议从来没有更好或更坏的时候。“自助”曾经是零散的、引人发笑的领域,现在成了背景文化。特别是对年轻男子来说,约茨科•威林克(Jocko Willink)和乔•罗根(Joe Rogan)提供的励志材料源源不断,而且还免费。当我那代人寻求这种人生指点时,根本找不到这类东西。

But then, to see the content, the almost messianic faith in personal endeavour, perhaps we lucked out. There is more of survivorship bias than of truth in the insistence that work always pays. The beauty is that it encourages people to believe anything is possible. The cruelty is that it encourages people to believe anything is possible.
但是,在看了他们那些对个人努力抱有近乎救世主般的信念的内容后,或许我那代人是幸运的。坚信努力总会有回报,在更大程度上属于幸存者偏差,而不是真理。其美妙之处在于,它鼓励人们相信一切皆有可能。其残酷之处在于,它鼓励人们相信一切皆有可能。

本文2020年9月16日发布于FT中文网,英文原题为 We need to talk about talent


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