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Paul Graham谈如何维持自己的士气

美国著名程序员、博客作者和技术作家保罗·格雷厄姆(Paul Graham)在其个人网站上的长文《How to do great work》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。下面是本文的第二十二部分摘录:


Husband your morale. It’s the basis of everything when you’re working on ambitious projects. You have to nurture and protect it like a living organism.

Morale starts with your view of life. You’re more likely to do great work if you’re an optimist, and more likely to if you think of yourself as lucky than if you think of yourself as a victim.

Indeed, work can to some extent protect you from your problems. If you choose work that’s pure, its very difficulties will serve as a refuge from the difficulties of everyday life. If this is escapism, it’s a very productive form of it, and one that has been used by some of the greatest minds in history.

Morale compounds via work: high morale helps you do good work, which increases your morale and helps you do even better work. But this cycle also operates in the other direction: if you’re not doing good work, that can demoralize you and make it even harder to. Since it matters so much for this cycle to be running in the right direction, it can be a good idea to switch to easier work when you’re stuck, just so you start to get something done.

One of the biggest mistakes ambitious people make is to allow setbacks to destroy their morale all at once, like a balloon bursting. You can inoculate yourself against this by explicitly considering setbacks a part of your process. Solving hard problems always involves some backtracking.

Doing great work is a depth-first search whose root node is the desire to. So “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” isn’t quite right. It should be: If at first you don’t succeed, either try again, or backtrack and then try again.

“Never give up” is also not quite right. Obviously there are times when it’s the right choice to eject. A more precise version would be: Never let setbacks panic you into backtracking more than you need to. Corollary: Never abandon the root node.

It’s not necessarily a bad sign if work is a struggle, any more than it’s a bad sign to be out of breath while running. It depends how fast you’re running. So learn to distinguish good pain from bad. Good pain is a sign of effort; bad pain is a sign of damage.

珍惜你的士气。它是你从事雄心勃勃的项目时的一切基础。你需要像呵护和保护生命体一样去培育和保护它。

士气始于你的生活观。如果你是个乐观主义者,你就更有可能做出伟大的工作,如果你认为自己是幸运的,而不是自认为是受害者,你也更有可能做出伟大的工作。

事实上,工作在一定程度上可以保护你免受问题的困扰。如果你选择纯粹的工作,它的困难也会成为你从日常生活困境中找到庇护的地方。如果这是逃避,那是非常有成效的逃避,曾被历史上许多伟大的人所使用。

士气通过工作而累积:高昂士气能帮助你做好工作,这又能提升你的士气,帮助你做得更好。不过,这个循环也可能往相反的方向运转:如果你没有做好工作,那会打击你的士气,使工作变得更艰难。鉴于保持这个循环向正确方向运转的重要性,当你遇到困难时,转向较为简单的工作应该是个好主意,因为这至少能让你取得一些成果。

雄心壮志的人常犯的一个大错误就是允许挫折一下子摧毁他们的士气,就像气球瞬间的破裂。你只需把挫折明确地当作你过程的一部分,就可以使自己对此有所免疫。解决难题总会涉及到一些反复。

做出伟大成就就像一场从欲望出发的深度优先搜索。所以,“初试不成重试则灵”并不尽然。它应该是:如果一开始你并未成功,那么你可以再试一次,或者退后一步,然后再试一次。

“永不放弃”也不尽对。显然,有些时候选择退出是正确的决定。更精确的说法应该是:不要让挫折让你过度恐慌,以致于过度回溯。相应的推论:绝不放弃你的最初愿望。

如果工作是一种挣扎,那并不一定是个不好的迹象,就像跑步时喘不过气也不一定是坏事,这取决于你跑得有多快。所以,学会区分好痛苦和坏痛苦。好痛苦是付出努力的标志;坏痛苦是身体受损的标志。


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