无语的大牙

Paul Graham谈如何找到真正的事业

Paul Graham在其个人网站最近发布了名为《How to do great work》的文章,给仍然雄心勃勃的年轻人提了一些建议,适合每位对自己仍有期望的朋友反复阅读。下面是本文的第一部分摘录:


If you collected lists of techniques for doing great work in a lot of different fields, what would the intersection look like? I decided to find out by making it. Partly my goal was to create a guide that could be used by someone working in any field. But I was also curious about the shape of the intersection. And one thing this exercise shows is that it does have a definite shape; it’s not just a point labelled “work hard.” The following recipe assumes you’re very ambitious.

如果你收集了很多不同领域做出杰出成果的技术列表,那么它们的交集会是什么样子呢?我决定通过创造它来寻找答案。

我的部分目标是创建一个可以被任何领域的人使用的指南。但我也对交集的形态感到好奇。这个练习显示了一点,就是它确实有一个明确的形态;它不仅仅是一个被标记为“努力工作”的点。

以下的“配方”假设你充满抱负。

The first step is to decide what to work on. The work you choose needs to have three qualities: it has to be something you have a natural aptitude for, that you have a deep interest in, and that offers scope to do great work. In practice you don’t have to worry much about the third criterion. Ambitious people are if anything already too conservative about it. So all you need to do is find something you have an aptitude for and great interest in. That sounds straightforward, but it’s often quite difficult. When you’re young you don’t know what you’re good at or what different kinds of work are like. Some kinds of work you end up doing may not even exist yet. So while some people know what they want to do at 14, most have to figure it out. The way to figure out what to work on is by working. If you’re not sure what to work on, guess. But pick something and get going. You’ll probably guess wrong some of the time, but that’s fine. It’s good to know about multiple things; some of the biggest discoveries come from noticing connections between different fields. Develop a habit of working on your own projects. Don’t let “work” mean something other people tell you to do. If you do manage to do great work one day, it will probably be on a project of your own. It may be within some bigger project, but you’ll be driving your part of it. What should your projects be? Whatever seems to you excitingly ambitious. As you grow older and your taste in projects evolves, exciting and important will converge. At 7 it may seem excitingly ambitious to build huge things out of Lego, then at 14 to teach yourself calculus, till at 21 you’re starting to explore unanswered questions in physics. But always preserve excitingness. There’s a kind of excited curiosity that’s both the engine and the rudder of great work. It will not only drive you, but if you let it have its way, will also show you what to work on. What are you excessively curious about — curious to a degree that would bore most other people? That’s what you’re looking for. Once you’ve found something you’re excessively interested in, the next step is to learn enough about it to get you to one of the frontiers of knowledge. Knowledge expands fractally, and from a distance its edges look smooth, but once you learn enough to get close to one, they turn out to be full of gaps. The next step is to notice them. This takes some skill, because your brain wants to ignore such gaps in order to make a simpler model of the world. Many discoveries have come from asking questions about things that everyone else took for granted. If the answers seem strange, so much the better. Great work often has a tincture of strangeness. You see this from painting to math. It would be affected to try to manufacture it, but if it appears, embrace it. Boldly chase outlier ideas, even if other people aren’t interested in them — in fact, especially if they aren’t. If you’re excited about some possibility that everyone else ignores, and you have enough expertise to say precisely what they’re all overlooking, that’s as good a bet as you’ll find. Four steps: choose a field, learn enough to get to the frontier, notice gaps, explore promising ones. This is how practically everyone who’s done great work has done it, from painters to physicists. Steps two and four will require hard work. It may not be possible to prove that you have to work hard to do great things, but the empirical evidence is on the scale of the evidence for mortality. That’s why it’s essential to work on something you’re deeply interested in. Interest will drive you to work harder than mere diligence ever could. The three most powerful motives are curiosity, delight, and the desire to do something impressive. Sometimes they converge, and that combination is the most powerful of all. The big prize is to discover a new fractal bud. You notice a crack in the surface of knowledge, pry it open, and there’s a whole world inside.

第一步是决定要从事什么工作。你选择的工作需要具备三个特点:首先,它必须是你在某方面有天赋的领域;其次,你对这个领域有浓厚的兴趣;最后,它必须有发挥才华的空间。

实际上,你不用太担心第三个标准。有雄心壮志的人在这方面往往已经过于保守。所以,你只需要找到一些你有天赋和浓厚兴趣的事物。

听起来很简单,但实际上往往很困难。当你年轻的时候,你不知道自己擅长什么,也不了解不同工作的不同之处。而有些工作可能还不存在。所以,虽然有些人在14岁就知道自己想要做什么,但大多数人还需要慢慢地找到答案。

找到要从事的工作的方法就是开始工作。如果你不确定要做什么,那就去猜一下。选择一件事情并开始行动。你可能有时候会猜错,但没关系。了解多个领域是很好的事情;一些重大的发现来自于注意到不同领域之间的联系。

**养成努力从事自己项目的习惯。不要让“工作”变成别人告诉你该做的事情。**如果你今后能够做出重大的成就,那很可能是在自己的项目上。它可能是属于某个更大项目的一部分,但你将在其中扮演重要角色。

你的项目应该是什么?任何让你感到兴奋且具有雄心壮志的事物。随着你年龄的增长和对项目的品味的发展,兴奋和重要性将会融合在一起。可能在7岁的时候,用乐高搭建巨大的物件似乎是令人兴奋且雄心勃勃的,然后在14岁的时候自学微积分,再到21岁时开始探索物理学中未解之谜。但无论如何,保持兴奋的心态。

激发好奇心是伟大工作的引擎和舵。它不仅会推动你前进,如果你让它自由发展,它还会告诉你应该从事什么工作。

你对什么事情过于好奇,好到大多数人都会感到无聊?那就是你要寻找的。

一旦你找到了自己过于感兴趣的事物,下一步就是学习足够的知识,使自己能够接触到知识的前沿。知识是以分形的方式扩展的,从远处看,它的边缘看起来很平滑,但一旦你学到足够接近它的地方,你会发现其中充满了空白。

接下来就是注意到这些空白。这需要一些技巧,因为你的大脑希望忽略这些空白,以便更简单地建立对世界的模型。许多发现都来自于对其他人想当然的东西提出问题。

如果答案似乎很奇怪,那就更好了。伟大的工作往往具有一定的奇特性。从绘画到数学,我们都能看到这一点。虽然刻意制造奇怪的东西是作用的,但如果它自然而然地出现,那就接受它吧。

大胆追逐与众不同的想法,即使其他人对它们不感兴趣,事实上尤其如此。如果你对一些可能性感到兴奋,而其他人都忽视了它们,并且你有足够的专业知识来精确地指出他们都忽略了什么,那这是你能找到的最好的选择。

四个步骤:选择一个领域,学习足够的知识,注意到空白,探索有前景的空白领域。这是几乎所有做出伟大工作的人都采取的做法,无论是画家还是物理学家。

第二步和第四步都需要努力工作。也许无法证明要取得伟大的成就必须努力工作,但经验证据与死亡的证据一样强大。这就是为什么在自己深感兴趣的事物上工作是至关重要的。兴趣会推动你比单纯的勤奋更加努力地工作。

***最强大的动机有三个:好奇心、愉悦和渴望做出令人印象深刻的事情。***有时它们会融合在一起,这种组合是最强大的。

最大的奖励是发现一个新的分形芽。你注意到知识的表面上的裂缝,把它打开,里面有一个完整的世界等待你去探索。

#Paul Graham #How to do great work