无语的大牙

Paul Graham谈要做有复利的工作

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。下面是本文的第六部分摘录:


Great work usually entails spending what would seem to most people an unreasonable amount of time on a problem. You can’t think of this time as a cost, or it will seem too high. You have to find the work sufficiently engaging as it’s happening.

There may be some jobs where you have to work diligently for years at things you hate before you get to the good part, but this is not how great work happens. Great work happens by focusing consistently on something you’re genuinely interested in. When you pause to take stock, you’re surprised how far you’ve come.

The reason we’re surprised is that we underestimate the cumulative effect of work. Writing a page a day doesn’t sound like much, but if you do it every day you’ll write a book a year. That’s the key: consistency. People who do great things don’t get a lot done every day. They get something done, rather than nothing.

If you do work that compounds, you’ll get exponential growth. Most people who do this do it unconsciously, but it’s worth stopping to think about. Learning, for example, is an instance of this phenomenon: the more you learn about something, the easier it is to learn more. Growing an audience is another: the more fans you have, the more new fans they’ll bring you.

The trouble with exponential growth is that the curve feels flat in the beginning. It isn’t; it’s still a wonderful exponential curve. But we can’t grasp that intuitively, so we underrate exponential growth in its early stages.

Something that grows exponentially can become so valuable that it’s worth making an extraordinary effort to get it started. But since we underrate exponential growth early on, this too is mostly done unconsciously: people push through the initial, unrewarding phase of learning something new because they know from experience that learning new things always takes an initial push, or they grow their audience one fan at a time because they have nothing better to do. If people consciously realized they could invest in exponential growth, many more would do it.

做出伟大的工作通常需要在一个问题上付出大多数人难以想象的时间。你不能将这段时间视为成本,否则它会显得过于高昂。你必须充分投入其中,使工作过程本身成为一种享受。

可能有些工作必须辛勤地做许多年你不喜欢的事情,才能到达美好阶段。但伟大的工作并非这样产生。伟大的工作源自于持之以恒地关注你真正感兴趣的事情。当你暂停片刻回顾时,自己所取得的进展会让你惊喜。

我们感到惊讶的原因是,我们低估了工作的积累效应。每天写一页看似无关痛痒,但坚持这样做,一年就可以写出一本书。这就是关键——坚持。做出伟大事业的人每天并没有高产,但他们选择完成一些事,而不是一无所获。

**如果你从事可以起到复利作用的工作,就会得到指数式的增长。大多数取得这样效果的人是在无意识中做到的,但值得我们有意识地思考这一点。**例如,学习就是这样一种现象:对一件事的理解越深入,学习的速度就越快。培育粉丝也是如此:你的粉丝越多,他们就会为你带来更多新粉丝。

指数增长的问题在于,在开始阶段,增长曲线感觉很平缓。但这依然是一个美妙的指数曲线,只是我们无法直观地领会,因而低估了早期的价值。

一些以指数方式增长的事物,其最终价值是如此之大,以至于值得为启动它付出非凡努力。但由于我们低估早期指数增长,这些努力也往往是在无意识中做出的:人们能够克服学习新事物最初没有回报的阶段,因为他们从经验中知道任何学习都需要克服最初障碍;人们会一点一点积累粉丝数量,因为他们无事可做。如果人们意识到可以投资指数增长,定会有更多人这么做。

#Paul Graham #How to do great work