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格雷格 • 希普和德鲁 • 希普这对孪生兄弟的成功并非偶然。只需与他们握个手,就能清楚地感受到他们锐意进取的精神。但过去他俩可不是这样。老爸创办了一家香水公司。暴利行业带来的超高利润使两兄弟衣食无忧,一帆风顺地念完高中,轻轻松松升入大学。但在大学里,无所事事、随波逐流的感觉开始令他们感到困扰。大约也在这时候,父亲低价将公司转手。
You don’t get as successful as Gregg and Drew Shipp by accident. Shake hands with the fraternal1 twins, and it’s clear you’re in the presence of people who thrive on their drive. But that wasn’t always the case. The twins’ father founded a perfume company, a glamorous business that spun off the kinds of glamorous profits that made it possible for the Shipps to amble2 through high school, coast into college and never much worry about getting the rent paid or keeping the fridge filled. But before they graduated, their sense of drift began to trouble them. At about the same time, their father sold off the company.
That did it. By the time they got out of school, both Shipps had entirely transformed themselves, changing from boys who might have grown up to live off the family’s wealth to men consumed3 with going out and creating their own. Now, the Personal Fitness club that they own is sprawling4, and the brothers are about to move a third time.
Why are some people born with a fire in the belly, while others — like the Shipps — need something to get their pilot light lit? And why do others never get the flame of ambition going?
Ambition, linked with genes?
Anthropologists, psychologists and others have begun looking more closely at these issues, seeking the roots of ambition in family, culture, gender, genes and more. They have by no means thrown the curtain all the way back, but they have begun to part it.
我们已经知道许多动物几乎从出生起就会展示出雄心。小狼断奶之前,它们就开始把自己分成“ 阿尔法”狼和其他狼。“阿尔法”狼速度更快,好奇心更盛,占有空间、母乳和母亲的欲望更强,而且终生如此。“阿尔法”狼到处游走,年年繁殖后代,能活到10或11岁的高龄。而较低级别的狼只在窝附近待着,很少繁殖后代,通常活不到4岁。
Many animals are known to signal their ambitious tendencies almost from birth. Even before wolf pups are weaned5, they begin sorting themselves out into alphas and all the others. The alphas are quicker, more curious, greedier for space, milk, Mom — and they stay that way for life. Alpha wolves wander widely, breed annually and may live to a geriatric6 10 or 11 years old. Lower-ranking wolves enjoy none of these benefits — staying close to home, breeding rarely and usually dying before they’re 4.
Humans often report the same kind of temperamental determinism. Families are full of stories of the inexhaustible7 infant who grew up to be an entrepreneur, the phlegmatic8 child who never really showed much go. But if it’s genes that run the show, what accounts for the Shipps, who didn’t encourage themselves until their growing up? And what, more tellingly, explains identical twins — precise genetic templates of each other who ought to be temperamentally identical but often exhibit profound differences in their advancements?
美国国家癌症研究所的遗传学家迪恩 • 哈默说,“幼年时的经历、家庭教养以及无数难以精确估量的事物仍有重大影响。”
Geneticist Dean Hamer of the National Cancer Institute says, “that still leaves a great deal that can be determined by experiences in infancy, subsequent upbringing and countless other imponderables9.”
Secrets of Ambition:
the Upper Middle Class
There are no hard rules for the kinds of families that turn out the highest achievers. Most psychologists agree that parents who set tough but realistic challenges, applaud10 successes and go easy on failures produce kids with the greatest self-confidence. What’s harder for parents to control but has perhaps as great an effect is the level of privilege into which their kids are born.
不过,富有或贫困对进取心的影响难以预测。家境优裕,你可能承袭成功所需的技能(想想两位布什总统)或贵族的游手好闲。家境贫寒,你可能获得积极进取的动力(看看比尔 • 克林顿)也有可能会破罐子破摔。
Just how wealth or poverty influences drive is difficult to predict. Grow up in a rich family, and you can inherit either the tools to achieve (think both Presidents Bush) or the indolence11 of the aristocrat. Grow up poor, and you can come away with either the motivation to strive (think Bill Clinton) or the inertia12 of the hopeless.
On the whole, studies suggest it’s the upper middle class that produces the greatest proportion of ambitious people — mostly because it also produces the greatest proportion of anxious people.
在衡量抱负时,人类学家将家庭分为4个类别:贫困、勉强度日、中上和富有。前两个类别的家庭必须为支付电费和电话费而奔忙,抱负常常只是奢侈品。对富有阶层来说,抱负往往毫无必要。只有中上阶层——经济上颇有保障但又不到经得起一两次变故的程度——改善自身命运的动力最强。人类学家爱德华 • 洛说:“这就是所谓的地位焦虑。无论你是否生来就有这种焦虑,你在后天确实能养成。”
Anthropologists divide families into four categories13: poor, struggling but getting by, upper middle class, and rich. For members of the first two groups, who are fighting just to keep the electricity on and the phone bill paid, ambition is often a luxury. For the rich, it’s often unnecessary. It’s members of the upper middle class, reasonably safe economically but not so safe that a bad break couldn’t spell catastrophe, who are most driven to improve their lot. “It’s called status anxiety,” says anthropologist Lowe, “and whether you’re born to be concerned about it or not, you do develop it.”
高成就者 = 高压力类疾病患者
High Achievers = Stress-related Ills
But a yearning for supremacy can create its own set of problems. Heart attacks, ulcers14 and other stress-related ills are more common among high achievers — and that includes nonhuman achievers. The blood of alpha wolves routinely shows elevated levels of cortical15 hormone, the same stress hormone that is found in anxious humans. Alpha chimps16 even suffer ulcers and occasional heart attacks.
爱德华 • 洛说:“人人都有雄心壮志。社会应该为人们提供各种不同的实现自我的途径。”
“Everyone has ambition,” says Edward Lowe. “Societies have to provide alternative ways for people to achieve.”
Ultimately, it’s that multiplicity17 of possible rewards — that makes dreaming big dreams and pursuing big goals worth all the bother. Ambition is an expensive impulse, one that requires an enormous investment of emotional capital. Like any investment, it can pay off in countless different kinds of coin. So, please recognize the riches when they come your way.
2010-04-10 19:06 编辑:kuaileyingyu