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英语美文:失败是件好事 Failure Is a Good Thing

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  • 发表于2018-10-06 19:51
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  • Last week, my granddaughter started kindergarten, and, as is conventional, I wished her success. I was lying. What I actually wish for her is failure. I believe in the power of failure.

    上周,孙女开办了一个幼儿园。按常理,我预祝她成功。实际上我撒了慌,我真正对她的希望是失败,因为我相信失败的力量。

    Success is boring. Success is proving that you can do something that you already know you can do, or doing something correctly the first time, which can often be a problematical victory. First-time success is usually a fluke. First-time failure, by contrast, is expected; it is the natural order of things.

    成功是令人厌烦的。成功只是证明你能够做你已经知道自己会做的事情,或是第一次就能正确地做某件事情,而这通常是一次有问题的成功。第一次的成功通常都是侥幸的成功,相反的,第一次的失败恰恰是值得期待的。这是事物的自然法则。

    Failure is how we learn. I have been told of an African phrase describing a good cook as "she who has broken many pots." If you've spent enough time in the kitchen to have broken a lot of pots, probably you know a fair amount about cooking. I once had a late dinner with a group of chefs, and they spent time comparing knife wounds and burn scars. They knew how much credibility their failures gave them.

    失败是学习的过程。我听说过一个在非洲用来形容大厨的词语, “那个炒坏了很多锅的”。如果你花了足够时间在厨房,炒坏了无数锅,那你也就掌握了大量烹饪方面的知识。有次我和厨师们共进晚餐,他们一直在比较刀伤和烫伤疤痕的多少,因为他们知道曾经的失败带来了无上的信誉。

    I earn my living by writing a daily newspaper column. Each week I am aware that one column is going to be the worst column of the week. I don't set out to write it; I try my best every day. Still, every week, one column is inferior to the others, sometimes spectacularly so.

    我以为日报专栏写作谋生。每周我都会意识到会有其中一个成为本周最差专栏。我并不刻意去这样写,而是每天都尽我最大的努力,但每周都还是会有一个专栏比其他的差,有时候差距还挺大。

    I have learned to cherish that column. A successful column usually means that I am treading on familiar ground, going with the tricks that work, preaching to the choir or dressing up popular sentiments in fancy words. Often in my inferior columns, I am trying to pull off something I've never done before, something I'm not even sure can be done.

    我现在学会了去珍惜那个较差的专栏。一个成功的专栏通常也就意味着我循规蹈矩,采用一些有效的写作技巧,向唱诗班布道或者用绚丽的语言修饰表达大众的观点。而在那些较差的专栏,我时常会去尝试一些之前没做过的事情,一些甚至都不确定能否完成的事情。

    My younger daughter is a trapeze artist. She spent three years putting together an act. She did it successfully for years with the Cirque du Soleil. There was no reason for her to change the act—but she did anyway. She said she was no longer learning anything new and she was bored; and if she was bored, there was no point in subjecting her body to all that stress. So she changed the act. She risked failure and profound public embarrassment in order to feed her soul. And if she can do that 15 feet in the air, we all should be able to do it.

    我小女儿是一名吊杠演员。她用三年的时间编排了一段表演,跟Cirque du Soleil(太阳马戏团)一起多年来都非常成功。应该说没有理由换掉这段表演—但是她最终还是换了。她说,她没有再学到新东西,腻烦了。既然她已经腻烦了,继续让她的躯体承受那些压力也就不再有任何意义。因此她更换了那段表演。为了满足自己的灵魂,她甘愿承受失败的风险,甘愿承受不被观众接受的尴尬处境。但如果她在15英尺的高空中能完成尝试的话,那我们每个人也都会有能力去尝试新事物。

    My granddaughter is a perfectionist, probably too much of one. She will feel her failures, and I will want to comfort her. But I will also, I hope, remind her of what she learned, and how she can do whatever it is better next time. I probably won't tell her that failure is a good thing, because that's not a lesson you can learn when you're five. I hope I can tell her, though, that it's not the end of the world. Indeed, with luck, it is the beginning.

    孙女是个完美主义者,可能还会有些极端。她会遇到挫折失败,我会想着去安慰她,但也会提醒,并且希望她从中所学到的东西和她下次可以如何更好去完成一件事情。我可能不会直接跟她说失败是件好事,因为它不是一个年轻人容易吸取的教训。然而,我希望我可以告诉她,这不是世界末日,实际上非常幸运,这才是开端。

      本文标题:失败是件好事 Failure Is a Good Thing

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