J.K. 羅琳:失敗讓你變得更有智慧,這樣的知識才是真正的禮物

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一九六五年七月三十一日生,是一位英國知名奇幻小說家,代表作為《哈利波特》系列作品。《哈利波特》暢銷全球,熱賣超過四億本,成為史上最暢銷的書籍之一;其同名改編電影也成為電影史上票房收入最高的電影之一。

J.K. 羅琳的人生宛如《灰姑娘》故事,在短短五年內從接受政府濟助的貧窮單親媽媽,成為富可敵國的暢銷作家。《時代雜誌》也以她「對哈利波特迷在社會、道德與政治方面的影響」評為二〇〇七年時代年度風雲人物第二位。

二〇〇八年六月五日,J.K. 羅琳接受哈佛大學頒發榮譽文學博士學位(Honorary Doctor of Letters degree),並於當天畢業典禮上發表此篇演說。

面對全球首府哈佛畢業生,這群世界上學業最成功的人,J.K. 羅琳要送給他們的禮物就是「失敗」,因為「你們對成功的渴望,應該跟你們對失敗的恐懼一樣大⋯⋯你們失敗的經驗,可能跟平常人成功的經驗一樣少。」

Important Lessons 重要的教訓

I have LG racked my mind and heart for what I ought to say to you today. I have asked myself what I wish I had known at my own graduation, and what important lessons I have learned in the 21 years that have expired between that day and this. I have come up with two answers. On this wonderful day when we are gathered together to celebrate your academic success, I have decided to talk to you about the benefits of failure. And as you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called “real life,” I want to extol the crucial importance of imagination.

為了今天的演說,我絞盡腦汁,費盡心思。我自問,現在的我希望大學畢業時,自己該知道些什麼,以及我畢業後到現在為止這二十一年來,我學到了哪些重要的教訓。我得出了兩個答案。在這美好的日子裡,我們齊聚一堂,慶祝你們學業有成,但我想跟各位分享關於失敗的好處。還有,當你們站在所謂「現實生活」的入口,我想宣揚一下想像力有多至關重要。

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. 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 would never pay a mortgage, or secure a pension. I cannot remember telling my parents that I was studying Classics; they might well have found out for the first time on graduation day.

回顧二十一歲大學畢業時期的我,對於現在四十二歲的我來說是有點尷尬的體驗。我當時堅信自己唯一想做的事、也一直想做的事就是寫小說。不過,我的父母皆出身貧困,都沒上過大學,他們認為我那過於豐富的想像力只是令人莞爾的個人怪癖,對於繳房貸或取得退休金是無濟於事的。我不記得是否告訴過父母我主修的是古典文學,他們甚至可能在我畢業典禮那天才發現。

The Benefits of Failure 失敗的好處

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 ennobling experience. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is indeed something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticized only by fools. What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but failure.

關於父母希望我永遠都不要經歷窮苦的生活這點,我無可厚非。他們體驗過貧困的日子,我自己後來也經歷過,所以我同意他們,這不是什麼使人昇華的經歷。靠自己努力擺脫貧困,確實足以令人感到自豪,但只有傻瓜才將貧困視為浪漫的事。在你們這個年紀的時候,我最害怕的不是貧困,而是失敗。

Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it is fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. 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.

我們最終都要自己摸索出失敗的定義是什麼,但只要你願意,這個世界總是迫不及待給你一套標準。所以,我可以這麼說,以任何傳統的標準來看,我在畢業後七年就經歷了慘敗。格外短命的婚姻已宣告破裂,而且我當時沒有工作,成了單親媽媽,可以說達到了現代英國最貧窮的標準,只差沒有流離失所。

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. 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 rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

那我為什麼要談失敗的好處?只不過因為失敗可以幫你擺脫不必要的東西。我不再需要偽裝自己,並開始將我的所有精力都放在完成唯一對我重要的事。既然我最恐懼的事已成為現實,我就自由了,更何況我還活著,還有我最寶貝的女兒,又有一台老舊的打字機和滿腦子創意。於是谷底成了我重建人生的堅厚基石。

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength ofyour relationships, until both have been tested by adversity.Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth
more than any qualification I ever earned.

挫敗會讓你變得更有智慧、更茁壯,代表從此以後你的生存能力便是安全可靠的。在歷經逆境的考驗之前,你永遠不會認識到真正的自己,也不會知道自己人際關係的力量。這樣的知識才是真正的禮物,雖然得來的過程是痛苦的,但比起我曾獲得的其他資歷都還要值得。

【 J.K. 羅琳示範演講、文章好用的 「however」】

副詞 however 在句義上屬轉折語,常用在敘述長句中,熟悉掌握各個轉折語的意思,有助於寫作時讓句子更通順。however 的常見含義有三個:

● 然而,但是,相對地

解:此用法可將 however 置於句中或句首來連接前後兩個子句,後面務必加上逗點。

例:However, not every invention is necessary.

解:放在句中時,若前面為完整子句,however 前面需要再加上分號,若是直接插入句中,則前後都是逗號。

例:The first test was quite easy; the second, however, was much more difficult.

● 不管,無論如何(方式)

例:At our company, we’re allowed to dress however we like.

● 不管,無論如何(程度)

例:However much we disagree with other people’s views, we should still respect them.

 

文章出處:EZ TALK

圖片來源:the-maestros

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