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【中英阅读】J·K·罗琳:失败的额外收益
suitel(2017/4/13 10:29:55)  点击:1734  回复:1  
本文节选自J·K·罗琳在哈佛大学2008年毕业典礼上发表的演讲《失败的额外收益与想象力的重要性》(The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination)。

Looking back at the 21-year-old that I was at graduation is a slightly uncomfortable experience for the 42-year-old that she has become. Half my lifetime ago, I was striking an uneasy balance between the ambition I had for myself and what those closest of…to me expected of me.
对于一个已经42岁的人来说,回顾自己21岁毕业时的情景并不是什么愉快的事情。我的前半生一直在自己的志向与最亲近的人对我的期望之间勉强维持着平衡。

I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do—ever—was [to] write novels. However, my parents, both of whom came from 1)impoverished backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that my overactive imagination was an amusing personal 2)quirk that never pay a 3)mortgage or secure a 4)pension.
我知道现在听来这话就像卡通版的铁砧那么讽刺,不过……所以他们希望我报读专业学位,而我则想读英国文学。我们达成了一个现在回想起来双方都不甚满意的让步,于是我改读现代语言。可是父母的小车才刚在大路尽头拐弯,我立刻抛弃了德语,在古典文学的走廊上狂奔。

I know the irony strikes with the force of a cartoon 5)anvil now, but…so they hoped that I would take a vocational degree; I wanted to study English literature. A 6)compromise was reached that 7)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 8)scuttled off down the classics corridor.
我知道现在听来这话就像卡通版的铁砧那么讽刺,不过……所以他们希望我报读专业学位,而我则想读英国文学。我们达成了一个现在回想起来双方都不甚满意的让步,于是我改读现代语言。可是父母的小车才刚在大路尽头拐弯,我立刻抛弃了德语,在古典文学的走廊上狂奔。

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 the subjects on this planet, I think they would have been hard put to name one less useful than Greek 9)mythology when it came to securing the keys to an 10)executive bathroom.
我忘了自己是怎么把这件事告诉父母的,他们也可能是在我毕业那天才发现我读的是古典文学。如果想得到通往豪华浴室的钥匙的话,那么在这个星球上的所有科目中,我想他们很难找到一门比希腊神话更没用的课程了。



Now I would like to make it clear—in 11)parenthesis—that I do not blame my parents for their point of view. There is an 12)expiry date on blaming your parents for 13)steering you in the wrong direction. The moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you. What is more, I cannot criticize 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 14)ennobling experience. Poverty 15)entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand 16)petty 17)humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is 18)romanticized only by fools.
我想插一句来说明——我并不责怪父母有这样的观点。抱怨父母引导自己走错方向这件事有一个有效期限。一旦你们达到可以开车的(合法)年龄,就要自行承担责任。而且我也不能因为父母希望我不再贫穷而指责他们。他们自己尝尽了没钱的滋味,我一直以来的日子也不富足,我也……同意他们的观点——贫穷并不能让人高贵。贫穷会带来一连串恐惧与压力,有时甚至是沮丧;它意味着无数卑劣的羞辱以及各种艰难困苦。通过自己的努力摆脱贫穷确实是值得自豪的事情,但只有傻瓜才会把贫穷当成美谈。

What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but failure.
和你们这么大的时候,我最害怕的不是贫穷,而是失败。

At your age, in spite of a 19)distinct lack of motivation at university, where I had spent far too long in the coffee bar writing stories, and far too little time at lectures, I had a knack for passing examinations, and that, for years, had been the measure of success in my life and that of my peers.
和你们这么大的时候,尽管我明显缺少在校园求学的动力——我花了太多时间在咖啡馆写故事,不怎么听课——我在应试方面很有一套,而这也是多年来评价我以及我的同龄人是否成功的标准。

Now I am not dull enough to suppose that because you are young, gifted and well-educated, you have never known heartbreak…hardship or heartache. Talent and intelligence never yet 20)inoculated anyone against the 21)caprice of the Fates, and I do not for a moment suppose that everyone here has enjoyed an existence of 22)unruffled 23)privilege and 24)contentment.
你们还年轻,天资聪明,受过良好教育,但我并不会愚蠢地因此判定你们不懂得伤心难过……困难或者心痛的滋味。才华与智商未能使人免受命运无常的折磨,而我从不认为这里的所有人都已经享有平静的恩典和满足。

However, the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not very 25)well-acquainted with failure. You might be driven by a fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. Indeed, your conception of failure might not be too far removed from the average person’s idea of success. So high have you already flown!
然而,你们能从哈佛毕业,说明你们和失败还不是老朋友。对你们来说,对于失败的恐惧与对于成功的渴望可能有同等的驱动力。确实,你们对于失败的概念或许与普通人对成功的看法相去无几呢。你们的起点已经相当高了!

1)Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of 2)criteria if you let it. So I think it['s] fair to say that by any 3)conventional measure, a 4)mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an 5)epic scale. An 6)exceptionally short-lived marriage had 7)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 that 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.
最终,我们所有人都要自行判断何谓失败,但是如果你愿意的话,这个世界很愿意给你一堆失败的标准。因此基于任何传统标准,我完全可以说毕业不过七年的自己失败得一塌糊涂。一段异常短暂的婚姻破灭了,作为一个失业的单身妈妈,我成了这个现代化英国里最穷的阶层,只是还未到无家可归的地步。我父母的忧虑以及我自己的担心都成真了。从所有惯常标准来看,我知道的最失败的人就是我自己。

Now I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one, and I had no idea that there was going to be what the press has…since represented as a kind of fairy tale 8)resolution. I had no idea then how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.
我并不想在这里对你们说失败很好玩。我的那段人生非常灰暗,那时我并不知道等待着自己的是……媒体后来所说的“童话般的出路”。我并不知道这条隧道有多长,在一段相当长的时间里,隧道那头的光芒只是一个渺茫的希望,而不是现实。

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the 9)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. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one 10)arena where I believed I truly belonged. I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so 11)rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
那么我为什么还要谈论失败的收益呢?简单来说,因为失败就意味着与“可有可无”进行决裂。我不再自欺欺人,做回真正的自己,开始集中全副精力完成我唯一重视的写作。如果我真的在其他方面成功了,我可能就不会下定决心,誓要在这个领域中取得成功——我相信这里才是自己真正的归属。我自由了,因为我最大的恐惧已经成真,而我活得好好的,还有一个心爱的女儿、一台旧打字机和一个好点子。于是人生最低点反而成了坚固的底座,我以此为基础重筑生活。

You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is 12)inevitable. It is possible to live without failing at something, unless you live so 13)cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail 14)by default.
你们也许不会像我这样一败涂地,但生活中失败总是难免的。只要活着总会在哪儿栽跟头,除非你活得特别小心,但这么小心翼翼还不如不活呢——在这种情况下,你因放弃人生而败。

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more disciplined than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of 15)rubies.
失败让我的内心产生了一种顺利通过考试也无法获得的安全感。失败让我更了解自己,这些知识从其他途径无法获得。我发现自己意志坚定,自控能力也比想象中要强,我还发现自己拥有几个比红宝石更宝贵的朋友。

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from 16)setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself or the strength of your relationships until both have been tested by 17)adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any 18)qualification I ever earned.
你们在挫折中重新站起来,更有智慧,更加强大——当你们明白到这一点,就意味着你们今后更有生存能力。在面临逆境的考验之前,你们不会真正了解自己,也没法确定一段感情有多坚定。这样的认识是一份真正的礼物,比我任何一份证书都要珍贵,因为其获取的过程非常痛苦。

So given a Time-Turner注, I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of 19)acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the 20)humility to know that will enable you to survive its 21)vicissitudes.
如果给我一个时间转换器,我会告诉21岁的自己——个人的幸福就是认识到生活并不是一张记录着“得到什么东西”和“取得什么成就”的清单。证书和简历都不是你们的人生,尽管你们会碰到许多和我一般年纪或者更年长的人,他们也没搞明白这一点。人生中难关重重,错综复杂,也没有人可以完全掌控自己的生活,只要谦逊地认识到这一点,你们就能顺利渡过生命的兴衰浮沉。

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