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J·K·罗琳: 失败的好处和想象的重要性(在哈佛大学毕业典礼上的演讲)

时间:2010-09-14 22:51:06  来源:  作者:

一、

今年6月5日是哈佛大学的毕业典礼,请来的演讲嘉宾是《哈利波特》的作者J.K.罗琳女
士。


她的演讲题目是《失败的好处和想象的重要性》(The Fringe Benefits of Failure,
and the Importance of Imagination)。我读了一遍讲稿,觉得很好,很感染人。

她几乎没有谈到哈里波特,而是说了年轻时的一些经历。虽然J·K·罗琳现在很有钱,
是英国仅次于女皇的最富有的女人,但是她曾经有一段非常艰辛的日子,30岁了,还差
点流落街头。她主要谈的是,自己从这段经历中学到的东西。

去年的演讲嘉宾是比尔·盖茨,我翻译了他的演讲,影响挺大。今年,我只翻译了一部
分,有兴趣的朋友可以在网上找到全部原文和视频。

二、

她首先回忆了自己大学毕业的情景:

I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do, ever, was to write
novels. However, my parents, both of whom came from impoverished
backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that my
overactive imagination was an amusing personal quirk that could never pay a
mortgage, or secure a pension.

当时,我只想去写小说。但是,我的父母出身贫寒,没有受过大学教育。他们认为,我
那些不安分的想象力只是一种怪癖,根本不能用来还房贷,或者挣来养老金。

They had hoped that I would take a vocational degree; I wanted to study
English Literature. A compromise was reached that in retrospect satisfied
nobody, and I went up to study Modern Languages. Hardly had my parents’
car rounded the corner at the end of the road than I ditched German and
scuttled off down the Classics corridor.

他们希望我再去读个专业学位,而我想去攻读英国文学。最后,达成了一个双方都不甚
满意的妥协:我改学外语。可是等到父母一走开,我立刻报名学习古典文学。

I cannot remember telling my parents that I was studying Classics; they
might well have found out for the first time on graduation day. Of all
subjects on this planet, I think they would have been hard put to name one
less useful than Greek mythology when it came to securing the keys to an
executive bathroom.

我不记得将这事告诉了父母。他们可能是在毕业典礼那一天才发现的。我想,在全世界
的所有专业中,他们也许认为,不会有比研究希腊神话更没用的专业了,根本无法换来
一间独立的宽敞卫生间。

I would like to make it clear, in parenthesis, that I do not blame my
parents for their point of view. ... I cannot criticise my parents for
hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor
themselves, and I have since been poor, and I quite agree with them that it
is not an ennobling experience. Poverty entails fear, and stress, and
sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships.
Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is indeed something on
which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticised only by fools.

我要申明,我并不责怪父母。……他们只是希望我不要过穷日子,我不能批评他们。他
们自己很穷,我后来一度也很穷,所以我很理解他们,贫穷是一种悲惨的经历。它带来
恐惧、压力、有时还有抑郁。它意味着许许多多的羞辱和艰辛。靠自己的努力摆脱贫穷
,确实让人自豪,但是只有傻瓜才会将贫穷本身浪漫化。

接着,她谈到了自己那些最悲惨的日子:

A mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale.

我毕业后只过了7年,就失败得一塌糊涂。

An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a
lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without
being homeless. The fears my parents had had for me, and that I had had for
myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the
biggest failure I knew.

短命的婚姻闪电般地破裂,我还失业了,成了一个艰难的单身母亲。除了流浪汉,我是
当代英国最穷的人之一,真的一无所有。我父母对我的担忧,我对自己的担忧,都变成
了现实。用平常人的标准,我是我所知道的最失败的人。

That period of my life was a dark one. I had no idea how far the tunnel
extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather
than a reality.

那段日子是我生命中的黑暗岁月。我不知道还要在黑暗中走多久,很长一段时间中,我
有的只是希望,而不是现实。

但是,J.K. 罗琳认为,没有那段日子的失败,就不会有后来的她。

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure
meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself
that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my
energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.

为什么我说失败是有好处的?因为失败将那些非本质的东西都剥离了。我不再伪装自己
,我找到了真正的我,我将自己所有的精力,投入完成对我最重要的唯一一项工作。

Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the
determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged.

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