Embrace the near win
by Sarah Lewis
I feel so fortunate that my first job wasworking at the Museum of Modern Art on a retrospective of painter ElizabethMurray.
I learned so much from her. After the curator Robert Storr selected allthe paintings from her lifetime body of work, I loved looking at the paintingsfrom the 1970s. There were some motifs and elements that would come up againlater in her life.
I remember asking her what she thought of those early works.If you didn't know they were hers, you might not have been able to guess.
Shetold me that a few didn't quite meet her own mark for what she wanted them tobe. One of the works, in fact, so didn't meet her mark, she had set it out inthe trash in her studio, and her neighbor had taken it because she saw itsvalue.
我十分慶倖自己的第一份工作 是在現代藝術博物館 當時正在籌備伊莉莎白•默里（美國畫家）的回顧展 她讓我受益匪淺 在館長羅伯特•斯托 從默里的畢生心血中 精心挑選出所有展品後 我總愛欣賞她創作於二十世紀七十年代的畫作 其中的一些主題和元素 未來都將反映到她的後期創作中 我記得我問過她 對自己的早期作品有何看法 若非事先所知 恐怕你無論如何也猜不到 那些作品出自她之手她告訴我其中有幾幅 並未如她所願展現出個人風格 實際上 有一幅甚至令她大失所望 以至於被扔進了畫室的垃圾桶 但她的鄰居卻撿了去 因為她看到了其中的價值。
In that moment, my view of success andcreativity changed.
I realized that success is a moment, but what we're alwayscelebrating is creativity and mastery. But this is the thing: What gets us toconvert success into mastery? This is a question I've long asked myself. Ithink it comes when we start to value the gift of a near win.
聽到這裡，我對成功和創造力的看法 發生了改變 我意識到成功只屬於片刻 而始終為人們所稱道的 則是創造力和掌控力 但問題在於：如何將成功轉化為一種掌控力？ 對此我思慮良久 我想轉化的關鍵在於 認識到垂成（接近成功）的價值。
I started to understand this when I went onone cold May day to watch a set of varsity archers, all women as fate wouldhave it, at the northern tip of Manhattan at Columbia's Baker AthleticsComplex.
I wanted to see what's called archer's paradox, the idea that in orderto actually hit your target, you have to aim at something slightly skew fromit.
I stood and watched as the coach drove up these women in this gray van, andthey exited with this kind of relaxed focus.
One held a half-eaten ice creamcone in one hand and arrows in the left with yellow fletching.
And they passedme and smiled, but they sized me up as they made their way to the turf, andspoke to each other not with words but with numbers, degrees, I thought,positions for how they might plan to hit their target.
I stood behind onearcher as her coach stood in between us to maybe assess who might need support,and watched her, and I didn't understand how even one was going to hit the tenring. The ten ring from the standard 75-yard distance, it looks as small as amatchstick tip held out at arm's length. And this is while holding 50 pounds ofdraw weight on each shot. She first hit a seven, I remember, and then a nine,and then two tens, and then the next arrow didn't even hit the target. And Isaw that gave her more tenacity, and she went after it again and again. Forthree hours this went on. At the end of the practice, one of the archers was sotaxed that she lied out on the ground just star-fished, her head looking up atthe sky, trying to find what T.S. Eliot might call that still point of theturning world.
我開始明白這一點時 是在一個五一節 那天天氣寒冷 我前往觀看一支 大學射箭代表隊訓練 她們恰巧都是女生 訓練場地在曼哈頓北端哥倫比亞大學的貝克爾運動綜合中心 當時我想見識一下所謂的“弓箭手悖論” 即“必須瞄準稍稍偏離靶心的目標 才能正中靶心”的說法 我站在一旁 只見教練開著灰色的貨車載著姑娘們到場 她們漫不經心地鑽出了車 有個女生右手握著吃了一半的甜筒 左手拿著帶黃色箭羽的箭 她們微笑著從我身邊經過 但在前往靶場的時候 她們打量了我一番並且一邊通過手勢而不是對話 向同伴給出數位、角度、位置等資訊 我想她們是在交流 如何命中靶心的方法 我站在一名弓箭手的後面 她的教練站在我們中間 可能在觀察誰需要幫助教練看著她 我甚至無法想像 怎樣才能射中靶心的10環 靶心的距離足有75碼遠看起來就和距離 一臂之遠的火柴頭一樣小 而且每次開弓時 還要承受50磅的拉力 我記得她第一箭射中7環，然後是9環 接著連續兩個10環然後再下一箭 卻直接脫靶了 但我發現脫靶反而 使她的意志更加堅定 之後她一次次重複，力圖射中靶心 訓練持續了三小時之久 到結束時，其中一名弓箭手已精疲力竭 四肢張開癱倒在地活像一隻海星 她抬頭仰望天空 試圖尋找T•S•艾略特（美國詩人）筆下的 “旋轉世界的靜止點”。
It's so rare in American culture, there'sso little that's vocational about it anymore, to look at what doggedness lookslike with this level of exactitude, what it means to align your body posturefor three hours in order to hit a target, pursuing a kind of excellence inobscurity. But I stayed because I realized I was witnessing what's so rare toglimpse, that difference between success and mastery.
在美國文化中 ,極少有人會觀看這些菜鳥訓練, 從她們身上領會堅持不懈的含義, 以及為了命中靶心 連續三小時不斷調整姿勢 ,默默追求卓越的意義, 因為這樣做的職業價值已所剩無幾, 但我留了下來，因為我意識到 ,我正在見證關於 區別成功和掌控力的 如此難得的一幕。
So success is hitting that ten ring, butmastery is knowing that it means nothing if you can't do it again and again.
Mastery is not just the same as excellence, though. It's not the same assuccess, which I see as an event, a moment in time, and a label that the worldconfers upon you.
Mastery is not a commitment to a goal but to a constantpursuit. What gets us to do this, what get us to forward thrust more is tovalue the near win. How many times have we designated something a classic, amasterpiece even, while its creator considers it hopelessly unfinished, riddledwith difficulties and flaws, in other words, a near win? Elizabeth Murraysurprised me with her admission about her earlier paintings. Painter PaulCézanne so often thought his works were incomplete that he would deliberately leavethem aside with the intention of picking them back up again, but at the end ofhis life, the result was that he had only signed 10 percent of his paintings.His favorite novel was "The [Unknown] Masterpiece" by Honoré de Balzac, and he felt the protagonist was the painter himself.Franz Kafka saw incompletion when others would find only works to praise, somuch so that he wanted all of his diaries, manuscripts, letters and evensketches burned upon his death. His friend refused to honor the request, andbecause of that, we now have all the works we now do by Kafka:"America," "The Trial" and "The Castle," a workso incomplete it even stops mid-sentence.
所以，命中靶心意味著成功, 而掌控力則是懂得 如果你不能百發百中, 那麼即使成功也毫無意義. 但是，掌控力並不等同於卓越 ,它和成功不同 ,成功是一次事件 ,一個瞬間 ,是世人給你貼上的一個標籤 .掌控力不是對目標的一次性實現 ,而是一種永恆的追求. 對垂成的重視, 促使我們不斷追求 ,推動我們日益進步, 多少我們認定為經典, 甚至傑作的作品 ,在創作者看來卻是 充滿困難與缺陷的, 無可救藥的半成品, 或者說垂成品 .默里對自己早期畫作的坦誠 ,出乎我的意料, 保爾•塞尚（法國畫家） 時常覺得自己的作品有所欠缺 ,他會有意置之不理 ,待日後加以完善, 但直到臨終時, 他認可並署名的畫作也僅僅是他所有作品的十分之一. 塞尚最愛的一部小說是 巴爾扎克的《無人知道的傑作》 他覺得小說主人公是他的真實寫照, 對於換做他人都將大加讚賞的作品, 弗朗茨•卡夫卡（奧地利小說家） 卻認為有太多不足之處, 以至於他要求自己所有的 日記、手稿、信件甚至草稿 ,都在他死後付之一炬 他的朋友沒有答應他的要求 ,正因為此，如今我們才能有幸拜讀 現今所有卡夫卡的作品, 包括《美國》、《審判》和《城堡》 《城堡》並不是一部完整的小說， 就連停筆處的句子也只寫了一半.
The pursuit of mastery, in other words, isan ever-onward almost.
"Lord, grant that I desire more than I canaccomplish," Michelangelo implored, as if to that Old Testament God on theSistine Chapel, and he himself was that Adam with his finger outstretched andnot quite touching that God's hand.
“主啊，請讓我的渴望總是多於我所能完成的” 米開朗琪羅如是懇求道， 仿佛在懇求西斯廷教堂壁畫 （這裡指《創世紀•創造亞當》）中 所繪的舊約中的上帝 而他就是那壁畫中的亞當 虔誠地伸出手指 即將與上帝的神指觸碰。
Mastery is in the reaching, not thearriving.
It's in constantly wanting to close that gap between where you areand where you want to be. Mastery is about sacrificing for your craft and notfor the sake of crafting your career. How many inventors and untoldentrepreneurs live out this phenomenon? We see it even in the life of theindomitable Arctic explorer Ben Saunders, who tells me that his triumphs arenot merely the result of a grand achievement, but of the propulsion of alineage of near wins.
它存在於力圖縮小理想與現實之間差距的 長久的希冀之中 。掌控力意味著為事業作出犧牲 ，而非圖一時事業之成就 。許多發明家和無數企業家 ，都踐行了這一點。 我們甚至可以從不屈不撓的北極探險家 本•桑德斯的生平看到這一點 。據他所說，他所取得的成就 ，不僅包括 這巨大的成就本身， 還包括一系列垂成事件所帶來的推動作用。
We thrive when we stay at our own leadingedge. It's a wisdom understood by Duke Ellington, who said that his favoritesong out of his repertoire was always the next one, always the one he had yetto compose. Part of the reason that the near win is inbuilt to mastery isbecause the greater our proficiency, the more clearly we might see that wedon't know all that we thought we did. It's called the Dunning–Kruger effect.The Paris Review got it out of James Baldwin when they asked him, "What doyou think increases with knowledge?" and he said, "You learn howlittle you know."
不斷超越自我，方能茁壯成長 。艾靈頓公爵（美國爵士音樂家）領悟了這個道理 ，在他創作的所有歌曲中，他最鍾愛的 永遠是下一首， 永遠是即將譜寫出的那首 ，垂成之所以是掌控力形成的內因 ，部分原因是因為 我們對一件事情越精通 就會越清楚地明白 自己並非全知全能， 這就是所謂的“達克效應” 在《巴黎評論》對詹姆斯•鮑德溫（美國作家）的採訪中也有所提及， 當記者問鮑德溫 “你如何看待知識的增長？” 他回答道：“學之甚多，方顯知之甚少。”
Success motivates us, but a near win canpropel us in an ongoing quest.
One of the mostvivid examples of this comes when we look at the difference between Olympicsilver medalists and bronze medalists after a competition.
Thomas Gilovich andhis team from Cornell studied this difference and found that the frustrationsilver medalists feel compared to bronze, who are typically a bit more happy tohave just not received fourth place and not medaled at all, gives silvermedalists a focus on follow-up competition.
We see it even in the gamblingindustry that once picked up on this phenomenon of the near win and createdthese scratch-off tickets that had a higher than average rate of near wins andso compelled people to buy more tickets that they were called heart-stoppers,and were set on a gambling industry set of abuses in Britain in the 1970s. Thereason the near win has a propulsion is because it changes our view of thelandscape and puts our goals, which we tend to put at a distance, into moreproximate vicinity to where we stand. If I ask you to envision what a great daylooks like next week, you might describe it in more general terms. But if I askyou to describe a great day at TED tomorrow, you might describe it withgranular, practical clarity. And this is what a near win does.
It gets us tofocus on what, right now, we plan to do to address that mountain in our sights.
It's Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who in 1984 missed taking the gold in the heptathlonby one third of a second, and her husband predicted that would give her thetenacity she needed in follow-up competition. In 1988, she won the gold in theheptathlon and set a record of 7,291 points, a score that no athlete has comevery close to since.
如果我們琢磨一下 一場奧運會比賽後 亞軍和季軍之間的差別， 便會得出一個鮮明例證 ，康奈爾大學的湯瑪斯•季洛維奇與他的團隊 ，研究這種差別後發現 ，亞軍通常比季軍更顯沮喪， 因為和一無所獲的第四名相比 ，季軍至少有獎牌可得， 這也是值得高興的， 而與金牌失之交臂的亞軍在沮喪之餘 ，會把注意力放在接下來的比賽中 。
我們甚至可以從博彩業中 體會到垂成的作用， 正因為意識到這種作用， 博彩業推出了“刮刮樂”彩票 ，這種彩票的中獎率高於平均值 十分容易誘使人們購買更多以至於被戲稱為“速效救心丸 在二十世紀七十年代的英國 刮刮樂風靡博彩業
垂成之所以是一種推動力 ，是因為它可以改變我們對形勢的看法 ，將原本遙不可及的目標 融入離我們更近 更容易企及的目標當中。 如果下周讓你描述美好的一天 你大概只會泛泛而談 ，但如果明天讓你形容在TED的美好一日 ，你或許就會清晰具體、繪聲繪色地講述一番。 這就是垂成體現的作用。
它會讓我們立即集中注意力 ，著手解決眼前的難題 。
傑西•喬伊娜•柯西在1984年的奧運會上 ，僅以三分之一秒之差 ，痛失七項全能金牌 。她的丈夫預言，這會讓她獲得 接下來的比賽中所需要的堅韌。 1988年的奧運會，她最終斬獲七項全能金牌， 並且書寫了7291分的新紀錄 ，此記錄至今仍無人能及。
We thrive not when we've done it all, butwhen we still have more to do.
I stand here thinking and wondering about allthe different ways that we might even manufacture a near win in this room, howyour lives might play this out, because I think on some gut level we do knowthis. We know that we thrive when we stay at our own leading edge, and it's whythe deliberate incomplete is inbuilt into creation myths. In Navajo culture,some craftsmen and women would deliberately put an imperfection in textiles andceramics. It's what's called a spirit line, a deliberate flaw in the pattern togive the weaver or maker a way out, but also a reason to continue making work.Masters are not experts because they take a subject to its conceptual end.They're masters because they realize that there isn't one.
此刻我站在這裡思考著一個問題 ，我想知道如果要在這個演播廳內 ，刻意製造一次垂成， 諸位將如何各顯神通 ，又將如何在各自的生活中發揮它的作用， 因為我想我們內心都明白這種作用的存在 ，我們懂得不斷超越自我 方能茁壯成長的道理 ，這就是為何有意製造的不完美 ，會成為創世神話的內在組成部分 ，在納瓦霍文化中 ，一些手藝人會故意在紡織品和陶器中 ，保留些許缺陷， 他們稱之為“靈性線” 即在圖案中有意留出瑕疵， 給編織者或製造者以改進的空間， 也是一種精益求精的動力， 大師不是專家， 大師之所以為大師， 是因為他們追求事物概念上的終點 ，但同時也清楚終這個終點並不存在
Now it occurred to me, as I thought aboutthis, why the archery coach told me at the end of that practice, out of earshotof his archers, that he and his colleagues never feel they can do enough fortheir team, never feel there are enough visualization techniques and posturedrills to help them overcome those constant near wins. It didn't sound like acomplaint, exactly, but just a way to let me know, a kind of tender admission,to remind me that he knew he was giving himself over to a voracious, unfinishedpath that always required more.
我由此想到，為什麼射箭隊的教練， 會在訓練結束後 ，私下告訴我， 他和他的夥伴始終覺得 ，為自己的團隊做得不夠， 始終覺得沒有掌握足夠的瞄準技巧 ，也沒有進行足夠多的姿勢訓練， 來幫助他們克服日復一日接近成功的過程 ，在我聽來，這絕非訴苦， 而是以一種便於理解的方式， 一種委婉的坦陳， 來提醒我，他清楚自己 已經踏上一條永不滿足永無止境的道路
We build out of the unfinished idea, evenif that idea is our former self. This is the dynamic of mastery. Coming closeto what you thought you wanted can help you attain more than you ever dreamedyou could. It's what I have to imagine Elizabeth Murray was thinking when I sawher smiling at those early paintings one day in the galleries. Even if wecreated utopias, I believe we would still have the incomplete. Completion is agoal, but we hope it is never the end.
我們朝著未實現的目標前行， 即使這目標是回到故我， 這便是推動掌控力的力量， 努力去接近你所追求的目標， 可以助你達到意想不到的驚人高度 ，這不禁讓我想象， 我在展館看見默里 微笑地凝視著自己的早期作品的那天， 她當時是怎樣的想法 ，我相信，就算我們真的創造了烏托邦， 也依然存在不完美 ，追求完美固然是我們的目標 ，但我們希望這絕非終點。