日期:2014-04-04 11:41


第一篇:The Bottom Line on Happiness

第一篇:The Bottom Line on Happiness

By Clayton M Christensen

My class at Harvard Business School helps students understand what good management theory is and how it is built. In each session, we look at one company through the lenses of different theories, using them to explain how the company got into its situation and to examine what action will yield the needed results. On the last day of class, I asked my class to turn those theoretical lenses on themselves to find answers to those three questions: First, How can I be sure I’ll be happy in my career? Second, How can I be sure my relationships with my spouse and my family will become an enduring source of happiness? Third, How can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail? Though the last question sounds lighthearted, it’s not. Two of the 32 people in my Rhodes scholar class spent time in prison. Jeff Skillin of Enron fame was my classmate at Harvard Business School.

I graduated HBS in 1979, and over the years, I’ve seen more and more of my classmates come to reunions unhappy, divorced, and alienated from their children. I can guarantee you that not a single one of them graduated with the deliberate strategy of getting divorced and raising children who would become estranged from them. And yet a shocking number unwittingly implemented that strategy. The reason? They didn’t keep the purpose of their lives front and center.

Having a clear purpose has been essential to me. But it was something I had to thing long and hard about before I understood it. When I was a Rhode Scholar, I was in a very demand academic program, trying to cram an extra year’s worth of work into my time at Oxford. I decided to spend an hour every night reading, thinking and praying about why God put me on this earth. It was a very challenging commitment because every hour I spent doing that, I wasn’t studying applied econometrics. I was conflicted about whether I could really afford to take time away from my studies, but I stuck with it and ultimately figured out the purpose of my life.

My purpose grew out of my religious faith, but faith isn’t the only thing that gives people direction. For example, one of my former students decided that his purpose was bring honestly and economic prosperity to his country and to raise children who were as capably committed to his cause, and to each other, as he was. His purpose is focused on family and others, as is mine.

Here are some management tools that can be used to help you lead a purposeful life.

1. Use Your Resources Wisely – Your decisions about allocating your personal time, energy, and talent shape your life’s strategy. I have a bunch of “businesses” that compete for these resources: I’m trying to have a rewarding relationship with my wife, raise great kids, contribute to my community, succeed in my career, and contribute to my church. And I have exactly the same problem that a corporation does. I have a limited amount of time, energy and talent. How much do I devote to each of these pursuits?

Allocation choices can make your life turn out to very different from what you intended. Sometimes that’s good: opportunities that you have never planned for emerge. But if you don’t invest your resources wisely, the outcome can be bad. As I think about my former classmates who inadvertently invested in lives of hollow unhappiness, I can’t help believing that their troubles related right back to a short-term perspective.

When people with a high need for achievement have an extra half hour of time or an extra ounce of energy, they’ll unconsciously allocate it to activities that yield the most tangible accomplishments. Our careers provide the most concrete evidence that we’re moving forward. You ship a product, finish a design, complete a presentation, close a sale teach a class, publish a paper, get paid, get promoted. In contrast, investing time and energy in your relationships with your spouse and children typically doesn’t offer the same immediate sense of achievement. Kids misbehave every day. It’s really not until 20 years down the road that you can say, “I raised a good son or a good daughter.” You can neglect your relationship with your spouse and on a daily basis it doesn’t seem as if thing are deteriorating. People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to under invest in their families and overinvest in their careers, even though intimate and loving family relationships are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness.

If you study the root causes of business disasters, over and over you’ll find this predisposition toward endeavors that offer immediate gratification. If you look at personal lives through that lens, you’ll see that same stunning and sobering pattern: people allocating fewer and fewer resources to the things they would have once said mattered most.

2. Create A Family Culture - It’s one thing to see into the foggy future with a acuity and chart the course corrections a company must make. But it’s quite another to persuade employees to line up and work cooperatively to take the company in that new direction.

When there is little agreement, you have to use “power tools” – coercion, threats, punishments and so on, to secure cooperation. But if employee’s ways of working together succeed over and over, consensus begins to form. Ultimately, people don’t even think about whether their way yields success. They embrace priorities and follow procedures by instinct and assumption rather than by explicit decision, which means that they’ve created a culture. Culture, in compelling but unspoken ways, dictates the proven, acceptable methods by which member s of a group address recurrent problems. And culture defines the priority given to different types of problems. It can be a powerful management tool.

I use this model to address the question, How can I be my family becomes an enduring source of happiness? My students quickly see that the simplest way parents can elicit cooperation from children is to wield power tools. But there comes a point during the teen years when power tools no longer work. At that point, parents start wishing they had begun working with their children at a very young age to build a culture in which children instinctively behave respectfully toward one another, obey their parents, and choose the right thing to do. Families have cultures, just a companies do. Those culture can be built consciously or evolve inadvertently.

If you want your kids to have strong self-esteem and the confidence that they can solve hard problems, those qualities won’t magically materialize in high school. You have to design them into family’s culture and you have think about this very early on. Like employees, children build self-esteem by doing things that are hard and learning what works.

3. Avoid “Just this Once” – We’re taught in finance and economics that in choosing investments, we should ignore sunk and fixed cost and instead base decisions on the marginal costs – that is, the price of each individual new step or purchase. But I teach that this practice biases companies toward using what they’ve already put in place – what helped them succeed in the past – instead of guiding them to create the capabilities they’ll need in the future. If we knew the future would be exactly the same as the past, this would be fine. But if the future’s different, and it almost always is, then it’s the wrong thing to do.

The marginal cost doctrine addresses the third question I discuss with my students: how to live a life of integrity. Often when we need to choose between right and wrong, a voice in our head says, “Look, I know that as a general rule, most people shouldn’t do this. But in this particular extenuating circumstance, just this once, it’s okay.” The marginal coast of doing something wrong “just this once” always seems to alluringly low. It suckers you in, and you don’t look at where that path is ultimately headed and at the full coast that the choice entails. Justification for infidelity and dishonesty in all their manifestations lies in the marginal cost economics of “just this once.”

I’d like to share a story about how I came to understand the potential damage of “just this once” in my own life. I played on the Oxford University varsity basketball team. We worked our tails off and finished the season undefeated. The guys on the team were the best friends I’ve ever had in my life. We got to the British equivalent of the NCAA tournament and made it to the final four. It turned out that the championship game was scheduled for a Sunday. I had made a personal commitment to God at age 16 that I would never play ball on Sunday. So I went to the coach and explained my problem. He was incredulous. My teammates were, too, because I was the starting center. Every one of the guys on the team came to and said, “You’ve got to pay. Can’t you break the rule just this one time?” I’m a deeply religious man, so I went way and prayed about what I should do. I got a very clear feeling that I shouldn’t break my commitment, so I didn’t play in the championship game.

In many ways, that was a small decision, involving one of several thousand Sundays in my life. In theory, I could have crossed over the line just that one time and then never done it again. But looking back, I can see that resisting the temptation of “just this one” was one of the most important decisions I have ever made. My life has been an unending stream of extenuating circumstances. Had I crossed the line that one time, I would have done it over and over in the years that followed.

The lesson I learn is that it’s easier to hold to your principles 100 percent of the time than it is to hold to them 98 percent of the time. If you give in to “just this once.” Based on a marginal cost analysis, as some of my former classmates did, you’ll regret where you end up. You’ve got to define for yourself what you stand for and draw the line in a safe place.

4. Remember to be Humble – It’s crucial to take a sense of humility in to the world. If you attitude is that only smarter people have to teach you, your learning opportunities will be very limited. But if you have a humble eagerness to learn something from everybody, your learning opportunities will be unlimited. Generally you can be humble only if you feel really good about yourself and want to help those around you feel really good about themselves too. When we see people acting in an abusive, arrogant, or demeaning manner toward others, their behavior almost always is a symptom of their lack of self-esteem. They need to put someone else down to feel good about themselves.

5. Choose the Right Yardstick – Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people. This is my final recommendation: Think about the metric by which your life will be judged, and make a resolution to live every day so that in the end, your life will be judged a success.

第二篇:2. Why Bilinguals Are Smarter

第二篇:2. Why Bilinguals Are Smarter

SPEAKING two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.

This view of bilingualism is remarkably different from the understanding of bilingualism through much of the 20th century. Researchers, educators and policy makers long considered a second language to be an interference, cognitively speaking, that hindered a child’s academic and intellectual development.

They were not wrong about the interference: there is ample evidence that in a bilingual’s brain both language systems are active even when he is using only one language, thus creating situations in which one system obstructs the other. But this interference, researchers are finding out, isn’t so much a handicap as a blessing in disguise. It forces the brain to resolve internal conflict, giving the mind a workout that strengthens its cognitive muscles.

Bilinguals, for instance, seem to be more adept than monolinguals at solving certain kinds of mental puzzles. In a 2004 study by the psychologists Ellen Bialystok and Michelle Martin-Rhee, bilingual and monolingual preschoolers were asked to sort blue circles and red squares presented on a computer screen into two digital bins ? one marked with a blue square and the other marked with a red circle.

In the first task, the children had to sort the shapes by color, placing blue circles in the bin marked with the blue square and red squares in the bin marked with the red circle. Both groups did this with comparable ease. Next, the children were asked to sort by shape, which was more challenging because it required placing the images in a bin marked with a conflicting color. The bilinguals were quicker at performing this task.

The collective evidence from a number of such studies suggests that the bilingual experience improves the brain’s so-called executive function ? a command system that directs the attention processes that we use for planning, solving problems and performing various other mentally demanding tasks. These processes include ignoring distractions to stay focused, switching attention willfully from one thing to another and holding information in mind ? like remembering a sequence of directions while driving.

Why does the tussle between two simultaneously active language systems improve these aspects of cognition? Until recently, researchers thought the bilingual advantage stemmed primarily from an ability for inhibition that was honed by the exercise of suppressing one language system: this suppression, it was thought, would help train the bilingual mind to ignore distractions in other contexts. But that explanation increasingly appears to be inadequate, since studies have shown that bilinguals perform better than monolinguals even at tasks that do not require inhibition, like threading a line through an ascending series of numbers scattered randomly on a page.

The key difference between bilinguals and monolinguals may be more basic: a heightened ability to monitor the environment. “Bilinguals have to switch languages quite often ? you may talk to your father in one language and to your mother in another language,” says Albert Costa, a researcher at the University of Pompeu Fabra in Spain. “It requires keeping track of changes around you in the same way that we monitor our surroundings when driving.” In a study comparing German-Italian bilinguals with Italian monolinguals on monitoring tasks, Mr. Costa and his colleagues found that the bilingual subjects not only performed better, but they also did so with less activity in parts of the brain involved in monitoring, indicating that they were more efficient at it.

The bilingual experience appears to influence the brain from infancy to old age (and there is reason to believe that it may also apply to those who learn a second language later in life).

In a 2009 study led by Agnes Kovacs of the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy, 7-month-old babies exposed to two languages from birth were compared with peers raised with one language. In an initial set of trials, the infants were presented with an audio cue and then shown a puppet on one side of a screen. Both infant groups learned to look at that side of the screen in anticipation of the puppet. But in a later set of trials, when the puppet began appearing on the opposite side of the screen, the babies exposed to a bilingual environment quickly learned to switch their anticipatory gaze in the new direction while the other babies did not.

Bilingualism’s effects also extend into the twilight years. In a recent study of 44 elderly Spanish-English bilinguals, scientists led by the neuropsychologist Tamar Gollan of the University of California, San Diego, found that individuals with a higher degree of bilingualism ? measured through a comparative evaluation of proficiency in each language ? were more resistant than others to the onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease: the higher the degree of bilingualism, the later the age of onset.

Nobody ever doubted the power of language. But who would have imagined that the words we hear and the sentences we speak might be leaving such a deep imprint?



Today we make room for a remarkably narrow range of personality styles.We're told that to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable.We see ourselves as a nation of extroverts——which means that we've lost sight of who we really are. One-third to one-half of Americans are introverts——in the other words, one out of every two or three people you know. If you'er not an introvert yourself, you are surely raising, managing, married to, or coupled with one.

If these statistics surprise you, that's probably because so many people pretend to be extroverts.Closet introverts pass undetected on playgrounds, in high school locker rooms, and in the corridors of corproate America.Some fool even themselves, until some life event——a layoff, an empty nest, an inheritance that frees them to spend time as they like——jolts them into taking stock of their true natures. You have only to raise this subject with your friends and acquaitances to find that the most unlikely people consider themselves introverts.

It makes sense that so many introverts hide even from themsevles. We live with a value system that I call the Extrovert Ideal—— the omnipresentbelief tht the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight. The archetypalextrovert prefers action to contemplation, risk-taking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt. He favors quick decisions, even at the risk of being wrong. She works well in teams and socializes in groups.We like to think that we value individuality, but all too often we admire one type of individual—— the kind who's comfortable "putting himself out there." Sure,we allow technologically gifted loners who launch companies in garages to have any personality they please, but they are the exceptions, not the rule, and our tolerance extends mainly to those wo get fabulously wealthy or hold the promise of doing so.

Introversion——along with its cousions sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness——is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology.Introverts living under the Extrovert Idal are like women in a a man's world,discounted because of a trait that goes to the coreof who they are. Extorversion is an enormouslyappealing personality style, but we've turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.

The Extrovert Idal has been documented in many studies, though this research has never been grouped under a single name.Talkative people, for example, are rated as smarteer, better-looking, more interesting, and more desirable as friends. Velocityof speech counts as well as volume: we rank fast talkers as more competent and likable than slow ones. Even the word introvet is stigmatized——one informal study,by psychologist Laurie Helgoe, found that introverts described their own physical appearance in vivid language, but when asked to describe generic introverts they drew a bland and distasteful picture.

But we make a grave mistake to embrace the Extrovert Idal so unthinkingly. Some of our greatest ideas, art, and inventions——from the theory of evolution to van Gogh's sunflowers to the personal computer——came from quiet and cerebralpeople who knew how to tune in to their inner worlds and the treasures to be found there.



By W. Somerset Maugham

It was nearly bed-time and when they awoke next morning land would be in sight. Dr. Macphail lit his pipe and, leaning over the rail, searched the heavens for the Southern Cross. After two years at the front and a wound that had taken longer to heal than it should, he was glad to settle down quietly at Apia for twelve months at least, and he felt already better for the journey. Since some of the passengers were leaving the ship next day at Pago-Pago they had had a little dance that evening and in his ears hammered still the harsh notes of the mechanical piano. But the deck was quiet at last. A little way off he saw his wife in a long chair talking with the Davidsons, and he strolled over to her. When he sat down under the light and took off his hat you saw that he had very red hair, with a bald patch on the crown, and the red, freckled skin which accompanies red hair; he was a man of forty, thin, with a pinched face, precise and rather pedantic; and he spoke with a Scots accent in a very low, quiet voice.

Between the Macphails and the Davidsons, who were missionaries, there had arisen the intimacy of shipboard, which is due to propinquity rather than to any community of taste. Their chief tie was the disapproval they shared of the men who spent their days and nights in the smoking-room playing poker or bridge and drinking. Mrs. Macphail was not a little flattered to think that she and her husband were the only people on board with whom the Davidsons were willing to associate, and even the doctor, shy but no fool, half unconsciously acknowledged the compliment. It was only because he was of an argumentative mind that in their cabin at night he permitted himself to carp.

"Mrs. Davidson was saying she didn't know how they'd have got through the journey if it hadn't been for us," said Mrs. Macphail, as she neatly brushed out her transformation. "She said we were really the only people on the ship they cared to know."

"I shouldn't have thought a missionary was such a big bug that he could afford to put on frills."

"It's not frills. I quite understand what she means. It wouldn't have been very nice for the Davidsons to have to mix with all that rough lot in the smoking-room."

"The founder of their religion wasn't so exclusive," said Dr. Macphail with a chuckle.

"I've asked you over and over again not to joke about religion," answered his wife. "I shouldn't like to have a nature like yours, Alec. You never look for the best in people."

He gave her a sidelong glance with his pale, blue eyes, but did not reply. After many years of married life he had learned that it was more conducive to peace to leave his wife with the last word. He was undressed before she was, and climbing into the upper bunk he settled down to read himself to sleep.

When he came on deck next morning they were close to land. He looked at it with greedy eyes. There was a thin strip of silver beach rising quickly to hills covered to the top with luxuriant vegetation. The coconut trees, thick and green, came nearly to the water's edge, and among them you saw the grass houses of the Samoaris; and here and there, gleaming white, a little church. Mrs. Davidson came and stood beside him. She was dressed in black, and wore round her neck a gold chain, from which dangled a small cross. She was a little woman, with brown, dull hair very elaborately arranged, and she had prominent blue eyes behind invisible pince-nez. Her face was long, like a sheep's, but she gave no impression of foolishness, rather of extreme alertness; she had the quick movements of a bird. The most remarkable thing about her was her voice, high, metallic, and without inflection; it fell on the ear with a hard monotony, irritating to the nerves like the pitiless clamour of the pneumatic drill.

"This must seem like home to you," said Dr. Macphail, with his thin, difficult smile.

"Ours are low islands, you know, not like these. Coral. These are volcanic. We've got another ten days' journey to reach them."

"In these parts that's almost like being in the next street at home," said Dr. Macphail facetiously.

"Well, that's rather an exaggerated way of putting it, but one does look at distances differently in the J South Seas. So far you're right."

Dr. Macphail sighed faintly.

"I'm glad we're not stationed here," she went on. "They say this is a terribly difficult place to work in. The steamers' touching makes the people unsettled; and then there's the naval station; that's bad for the natives. In our district we don't have difficulties like that to contend with. There are one or two traders, of course, but we take care to make them behave, and if they don't we make the place so hot for them they're glad to go."

Fixing the glasses on her nose she looked at the green island with a ruthless stare.

"It's almost a hopeless task for the missionaries here. I can never be sufficiently thankful to God that we are at least spared that."

Davidson's district consisted of a group of islands to the North of Samoa; they were widely separated and he had frequently to go long distances by canoe. At these times his wife remained at their headquarters and managed the mission. Dr. Macphail felt his heart sink when he considered the efficiency with which she certainly managed it. She spoke of the depravity of the natives in a voice which nothing could hush, but with a vehemently unctuous horror. Her sense of delicacy was singular. Early in their acquaintance she had said to him:

"You know, their marriage customs when we first settled in the islands were so shocking that I couldn't possibly describe them to you. But I'll tell Mrs. Macphail and she'll tell you."

Then he had seen his wife and Mrs. Davidson, their deck-chairs close together, in earnest conversation for about two hours. As he walked past them backwards and forwards for the sake of exercise, he had heard Mrs. Davidson's agitated whisper, like the distant flow of a mountain torrent, and he saw by his wife's open mouth and pale face that she was enjoying an alarming experience. At night in their cabin she repeated to him with bated breath all she had heard.

  • imprintvt. 刻上记号(加特征,印刷,盖印,压印,铭记) n.
  • resolutionn. 决心,决定,坚决,决议,解决,分辨率
  • spousen. 配偶
  • allocatevt. 分派,分配,分配额
  • avoidvt. 避免,逃避
  • tangibleadj. 有形的,可触摸的,确凿的,实际的
  • addressn. 住址,致词,讲话,谈吐,(处理问题的)技巧 vt.
  • comparableadj. 可比较的,比得上的
  • inadequateadj. 不充分的,不适当的
  • chucklev. 轻声笑,咯咯笑,暗自笑 n. 轻声笑,咯咯笑