The problem with following your passion
In a recent biography of Elon Musk, Bloomberg technology writer Ashlee Vance documents how the entrepreneur(企业家) transformed the electric car industry, launched rockets into space, developed solar technology and devised plans to colonize Mars. Vance emphasizes Musk’s diligence and unwavering(不动摇的) zeal(热情), not just his intelligence and eccentricities(奇思妙想，怪异). Like Steve Jobs, Musk is a mercurial(反复无常的)perfectionist, prone to moments of rage, spurred by passion. (与Steve Jobs一样，Musk也是一个追求完美的人，性格反复无常，容易着急上火，激情四溢。)
It’s tempting to read about someone like Elon Musk and conclude that passion is a prerequisite(前提)for success. And months from now, it’s likely that a suite of commencement(毕业典礼)speakers will stand in front of class after class of new graduates, remarking that “the only way to do great work is to love what you do,” as Steve Jobs told the Stanford class of 2005.
But is passion really an essential condition for leading a successful life? That idea has come under attack in the last few years. Passion is increasingly labeled as mere post hoc(事后的) storytelling, an empty cliché(老生常谈)that makes for a good narrative(激情越来越被标签为事后归因的故事，是为了讲出好故事而说的空洞套话。). Cal Newport, an assistant professor at Georgetown University and author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You, insists the passion mantra(颂歌) is not just unoriginal but misleading. The goal shouldn’t be to find your passion—as if it has been there, undiscovered, from the beginning—but to create one.
Recently, a team of psychologists led by Patricia Chen, a graduate student at the University of Michigan, published research that gives us new insights into the relationship between passion and work. The team polled 794 people and found that about 70 percent believed passion is about matching an intrinsically(内在地)rewarding skill with a certain line of work—what Chen calls the fit theory.(该研究团队调查了794个人后发现，大约70%的人都相信，所谓激情就是一种内在的激励技能与某种工作相匹配了——陈将其称为“匹配理论”。Under this paradigm(模式), it’s easy to explain people like Musk and Jobs: They persevered because their work tapped(开发)into a fundamental joy of theirs.
The other 30 percent of participants in the study indicated that passion for work is developed and cultivated over time—what Chen calls the develop theory.(另外30%的受调查者认为，工作激情是在时间中培养出来的——陈将其称为“培养理论”。)According to this view, which is similar to what Newport endorses, we should think of our skills and proclivities(倾向)as malleable(可以塑造的)instead of fixed. Passion is the result of persistent and deliberate practice.
Across four studies, the psychologists found that those who think passion can be developed were just as likely to be satisfied with their job in the long run as those who searched for a perfect fit. (在所有4项研究中，心理学家们发现，那些认为激情是可以培养的人与那些寻求最佳匹配的人，从长远看，同样可能从工作中获得满足。)These findings suggest, Chen and her team note, that people can “achieve similar levels of well-being at work by endorsing(赞同)either the fit or develop theory.”
This piece of research helps psychologists better understand the nature of passion, yet it still pivots off a very narrow definition, in which to be passionate about something is essentially to enjoy particular challenges that would otherwise be grueling(痛苦的). (这项研究帮助心理学家们更好地理解激情的性质，然而该研究仍基于一个非常狭窄的定义，即，对某事充满激情本质上就是喜欢某些原本令人痛苦的挑战。)Moreover, it assumes such passion is the basis for a rewarding professional life.
We’d like to introduce two more concepts to broaden what we mean when we talk about passion. Psychological research shows that life satisfaction correlates with the ability to assess something from multiple viewpoints. (心理学研究表明，人生的满足感与多角度评价事物的能力相关。)And so by widening the meaning of passion, we also allow ourselves more opportunities to find meaning and satisfaction in the lives we lead.
In German, the word for passion is Leidenschaft, which literally means the ability to endure adversity(不利情况，逆境). It is a much less rosy word, not the graduation bromide(溴化物;老套的安慰话) its English counterpart(对等物;对应物)has become. If you’re passionate about something in Germanic cultures, you don’t necessarily enjoy it. Leidenschaft is about knowing the pursuit will be unpleasant but tolerating it because the outcome is worth the cost. Critically, Germans can be passionate about an activity without feeling the need to pursue it as a profession or worry about higher ideals. From this view, work is a means to an end, enabling the pursuit of passion during non-work time.
In Eastern Europe, passion can also be understood as cierpienie (which roughly translates to “suffering” in Polish). It’s a word that describes having a calling, but without any implications of deriving pleasure. You have no choice but to endure it, even when the outcome is not necessarily positive.
A good example is Phil Hansen, an artist who developed permanent nerve damage in his hand from spending years practicing pointillism(点画派)—a drawing and painting technique in which small dots are used to create a larger image. Because of his jittery hand, Hansen could no longer draw straight lines; his previously round dots began to look like “tadpoles.” He eventually dropped out of art school and gave up art completely.
When his doctor suggested that he “embrace the shake,” Hansen decided to develop a new approach to art that relied on his handicap. The result was a new genre of creative work. Hansen made portraits out of matches, grease and food. He still used his hands to draw, but instead of creating images from perfect dots, he drew pictures composed entirely of squiggles.
In the American sense of the word, art is Hansen’s passion. But it’s more accurate to describe his life with cierpienie. He still experiences joint pain and he still can’t draw straight, so he has no choice but to endure his limitation. Despite his glowing TED Talk, the outcome is usually negative, as is the case with all creative work. The final product invariably results from dozens of failed ones.
Although it’s important to value work that is intrinsically fulfilling, let’s stop advertising the myopic(短视的)idea that life without passion—whether it is something to be found or created—is not worth living. Working adults aren’t either passionate and fulfilled or lifeless and miserable. That’s an overly simplified worldview, in which the dreary desk workers of the world are constantly pitted against the Elon Musks. (工作中的成年人并非只有“要么充满激情和成就，要么没有生机和痛苦”两种选择。那种世界观过于简单，这种观点长期让世界上那些枯燥的案头工作人员与Elon Musk们处于对立状态。)
Instead, we should recast our own American concept of passion to include other definitions that embrace a broader sense of what a meaningful life could look like. “Having too few constructs or insufficiently validated ones can create problems, particularly when life is moving quickly and you are trying to make sense of it,” Cambridge University psychologist Brian Little writes in his book Me, Myself and Us. “Your constructs can cage you in.” (“建构太少，或者你的建构得不到充分证实，这都会带来问题，尤其是当生命匆匆，你想从中找到意义的时候，”剑桥大学心理学家Brian Little在其《我，我自己和我们》中写道。“你的种种建构可能将你自己困住。”)
Post hoc 事后的
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来源 : 网络 2017-05-24 15:49:23 关键字 : 雅思阅读
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