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.











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