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|



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.)

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.

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.

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.

“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.

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.

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.

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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