每日新闻
您的位置 首页学习资料每日新闻

幸福的公式

作者: NYTALK管理者 点击:329 难度:高级
HAPPINESS has traditionally been considered an elusive and evanescent thing. To some, even trying to achieve it is an exercise in futility. It has been said that “happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”
人们习惯认为幸福难以捉摸、稍纵即逝。对于一些人来说,获得幸福甚至是徒劳无功的。有人说“幸福就像是一只蝴蝶,当你追逐时,往往抓不住,但是如果你愿意静静地坐下来,它可能飞落在你身上。”
 
Social scientists have caught the butterfly. After 40 years of research, they attribute happiness to three major sources: genes, events and values. Armed with this knowledge and a few simple rules, we can improve our lives and the lives of those around us. We can even construct a system that fulfills our founders’ promises and empowers all Americans to pursue happiness.
社会科学家已经捕捉到了蝴蝶。经过40年的研究,他们把幸福归因于三种主要来源:基因、事件和价值。具备这样的知识和几条简单的规则,我们就可以改善自己以及周边人的生活。我们甚至可以建设一个实现我们建国者承诺的体系,让所有美国人追求幸福。
 
Psychologists and economists have studied happiness for decades. They begin simply enough — by asking people how happy they are.
心理学家和经济学家已经研究幸福这个话题几十年了。他们开始只是很简单——问人们他们有多幸福。
 
The richest data available to social scientists is the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey, a survey of Americans conducted since 1972. This widely used resource is considered the scholarly gold standard for understanding social phenomena. The numbers on happiness from the survey are surprisingly consistent. Every other year for four decades, roughly a third of Americans have said they’re “very happy,” and about half report being “pretty happy.” Only about 10 to 15 percent typically say they’re “not too happy.” Psychologists have used sophisticated techniques to verify these responses, and such survey results have proved accurate.
现有对社会科学家最丰富的数据来自芝加哥大学的综合社会调查,这是自1972年就开始展开的对美国人的调查。这些广泛应用的资源被认为是理解社会现象的黄金学术标准。从调查得出关于幸福的数据出奇的一致。四十年中的每两年,大致三分之一的美国人说他们“非常幸福”,一半说“挺幸福的”。只有典型的百分之十至十五说他们“不太幸福”。心理学家通过复杂的方法来检验这些回答,事实证明,此类调查结果是精确的。
 
Beneath these averages are some demographic differences. For many years, researchers found that women were happier than men, although recent studies contend that the gap has narrowed or may even have been reversed. Political junkies might be interested to learn that conservative women are particularly blissful: about 40 percent say they are very happy. That makes them slightly happier than conservative men and significantly happier than liberal women. The unhappiest of all are liberal men; only about a fifth consider themselves very happy.
在这些平均数值之下是一些人口统计方面的差异。很多年以来,研究者发现女性比男性更幸福,尽管近代调查争论说此差距已经缩小或者调查结果甚至可能已经相反了。政治狂热者可能有兴趣知道保守的女性特别容易幸福:大约40%的人说她们非常幸福。她们比保守的男性稍微幸福,比自由的女性幸福得多。最不幸福的是自由的男性;只有五分之一说自己非常幸福。
 
But even demographically identical people vary in their happiness. What explains this?
但即使是人口统计上一致的人的幸福指数也不同,这说明了什么?
 
The first answer involves our genes. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have tracked identical twins who were separated as infants and raised by separate families. As genetic carbon copies brought up in different environments, these twins are a social scientist’s dream, helping us disentangle nature from nurture. These researchers found that we inherit a surprising proportion of our happiness at any given moment — around 48 percent. (Since I discovered this, I’ve been blaming my parents for my bad moods.)
第一个回答是与我们的基因有关。明尼苏达大学的研究者跟踪调查了从小被分开在不同家庭中养育的同卵双胞胎。因为基因副本在不同的环境中长大,帮助我们把先天和后天的养育分开,这些双胞胎是社会科学家的梦。研究者发现无论什么时候,我们继承幸福的比例出乎意料——约48%。(发现这个之后,我就把我的坏脾气归咎于我的父母。)
 
If about half of our happiness is hard-wired in our genes, what about the other half? It’s tempting to assume that one-time events — like getting a dream job or an Ivy League acceptance letter — will permanently bring the happiness we seek. And studies suggest that isolated events do control a big fraction of our happiness — up to 40 percent at any given time.
如果我们大约一半的幸福是与基因硬性连接的,那另一半呢?这让人想到那些一次性的事件——例如得到一份理想工作或者常青藤大学的录取函——会永久地给我们带来所追求的幸福。研究表明,单独事件会控制我们很大一部分的幸福——在任何特定时间高达40%。
 
But while one-off events do govern a fair amount of our happiness, each event’s impact proves remarkably short-lived. People assume that major changes like moving to California or getting a big raise will make them permanently better off. They won’t. Huge goals may take years of hard work to meet, and the striving itself may be worthwhile, but the happiness they create dissipates after just a few months
但是尽管一次性事件确实控制我们大部分的幸福,每个事件的影响却证明是非常短暂的。人们以为像搬家去加州或者大幅加薪这样的大变化会让他们永远地幸福。其实不会。伟大的目标也许需要长年累月的辛苦劳作才达到,奋斗本身也可能值得,但是这带来的幸福感会在短短几个月后消失。
 
So don’t bet your well-being on big one-off events. The big brass ring is not the secret to lasting happiness.
所以不要把大的一次性事件当做你幸福的赌注。中头奖可不是幸福长久的秘诀。
 
To review: About half of happiness is genetically determined. Up to an additional 40 percent comes from the things that have occurred in our recent past — but that won’t last very long.
回顾一下:约一半的幸福是由基因决定的。大约40%来自近来发生的事情——但这种幸福感不会维持很久。
 
That leaves just about 12 percent. That might not sound like much, but the good news is that we can bring that 12 percent under our control. It turns out that choosing to pursue four basic values of faith, family, community and work is the surest path to happiness, given that a certain percentage is genetic and not under our control in any way.
那就只剩下12%了。可能看上去不多,但好消息是我们可以完全控制这12%。鉴于某部分幸福感是遗传的,无论怎样都不由我们控制,那么选择追求四种基本的价值观——信仰、家庭、社区和工作则是通往幸福最可靠的道路。
 
The first three are fairly uncontroversial. Empirical evidence that faith, family and friendships increase happiness and meaning is hardly shocking. Few dying patients regret overinvesting in rich family lives, community ties and spiritual journeys.
前三个是毫无争议的。实验性证明信仰、家庭和友情会提高幸福感,而其非凡意义也毫不令人惊讶。很少有临终病人后悔过度投资在丰富的家庭生活、群体联系和精神之旅上。
 
Work, though, seems less intuitive. Popular culture insists our jobs are drudgery, and one survey recently made headlines by reporting that fewer than a third of American workers felt engaged; that is praised, encouraged, cared for and several other gauges seemingly aimed at measuring how transcendently fulfilled one is at work.
然而,工作貌似没那么直观。大众文化都在强调我们的工作是苦差事,最近有一个上了头条的调查,据报道,少于三分之一的美国员工对工作投入,也就是被称赞、鼓励、关心,还有几个其他测量貌似是针对评估一个人在工作时有多么满足的。
 
Those criteria are too high for most marriages, let alone jobs. What if we ask something simpler: “All things considered, how satisfied are you with your job?” This simpler approach is more revealing because respondents apply their own standards. This is what the General Social Survey asks, and the results may surprise. More than 50 percent of Americans say they are “completely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their work. This rises to over 80 percent when we include “fairly satisfied.” This finding generally holds across income and education levels.
那些标准对于大多数婚姻来说都太高了,别说工作。如果我们问更简单的问题会怎样呢:“从整体来看,你有多满意你的工作?”这个更简单的方法更有启迪作用,因为调查对象都有自己的标准。这也是美国社会调查问的问题,结果惊人。超过50%的美国人说他们“完全满意”或者“很满意”他们的工作。如果加上回答“挺满意的”的人,将超过80%。这样的调查结果适用于不同的收入阶层和教育程度。
 
This shouldn’t shock us. Vocation is central to the American ideal, the root of the aphorism that we “live to work” while others “work to live.” Throughout our history, America’s flexible labor markets and dynamic society have given its citizens a unique say over our work — and made our work uniquely relevant to our happiness. When Frederick Douglass rhapsodized about “patient, enduring, honest, unremitting and indefatigable work, into which the whole heart is put,” he struck the bedrock of our culture and character.
这应该不会让我们感到震惊。职业对于美国理想来说非常重要,是那句格言:我们“活着是为了工作”,其他人“工作是为了活着”的根源。纵观我们的历史,美国灵活的劳工市场和动态社会让其市民对工作有一种独特的看法——并让我们的工作与幸福有独特的联系。当弗雷德里克·道格拉斯把“全心全意地投入耐心、持久、诚实、不懈和不屈不挠的工作”写入狂想曲时,他塑造了我们的文化和性格的基石。

I’m a living example of the happiness vocation can bring in a flexible labor market. I was a musician from the time I was a young child. That I would do it for a living was a foregone conclusion. When I was 19, I skipped college and went on the road playing the French horn. I played classical music across the world and landed in the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra.
我就是一个在灵活的劳工市场中,职业带来幸福的活生生的例子。我从小就是一个音乐家,以此谋生也在预料中。19岁时,我放弃读大学,走到街上吹起了法国圆号。我在世界各地弹奏古典乐,最后加入了巴塞罗那交响乐团。
 
I was probably “somewhat satisfied” with my work. But in my late 20s the novelty wore off, and I began plotting a different future. I called my father back in Seattle: “Dad, I’ve got big news. I’m quitting music to go back to school!”
我也许对自己的工作“有点满意”。但在我二十八九岁时,那种新鲜感消失了,我开始策划一个不同的未来。我打电话给在西雅图的父亲:“爸,我有个重大消息要宣布,我要放弃音乐事业回去上学了!”
 
You can’t just drop everything,” he objected. “It’s very irresponsible.”
“你不可以就这样放弃一切”,他反对道。“这样很不负责任。”
 
“But I’m not happy,” I told him.
“但是我不开心,”我告诉他。
 
There was a long pause, and finally he asked, “What makes you so special?!”
停顿了很长时间,终于他问,:“你怎么会这么特殊?!”
 
But I’m really not special. I was lucky — lucky to be able to change roads to one that made me truly happy. After going back to school, I spent a blissful decade as a university professor and wound up running a Washington think tank.
但是我真的不特殊。我很幸运——能够转换到一条让我真正感到幸福的道路上是幸运的。回到学校后,我愉快地度过了作为教授的十年,而且兴奋地运行了一个华盛顿智囊团。
 
Along the way, I learned that rewarding work is unbelievably important, and this is emphatically not about money. That’s what research suggests as well. Economists find that money makes truly poor people happier insofar as it relieves pressure from everyday life — getting enough to eat, having a place to live, taking your kid to the doctor. But scholars like the Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman have found that once people reach a little beyond the average middle-class income level, even big financial gains don’t yield much, if any, increases in happiness.
一路走来,我认识到一份有收获的工作真是难以置信的重要,这断然与金钱无关。研究表明也是如此。经济学家发现金钱会让真正贫困的人更幸福,它缓解了日常生活的压力——有足够吃的,有地方住,带你的小孩去看医生。但是像诺贝尔获奖者丹尼尔·卡尔曼这样的学者发现一旦人们的收入超出一般中产阶级收入水平一点,即使是丰厚的经济收获也对幸福感的提升没有多大效果。

So relieving poverty brings big happiness, but income, per se, does not. Even after accounting for government transfers that support personal finances, unemployment proves catastrophic for happiness. Abstracted from money, joblessness seems to increase the rates of divorce and suicide, and the severity of disease.
所以缓解贫困会带来很大的幸福感,但是收入本身不会。即使政府的转移性支出可以支持个人财务,但失业仍会毁灭幸福。除了金钱,失业似乎会增加离婚率、自杀率和疾病的严重性。
 
And according to the General Social Survey, nearly three-quarters of Americans wouldn’t quit their jobs even if a financial windfall enabled them to live in luxury for the rest of their lives. Those with the least education, the lowest incomes and the least prestigious jobs were actually most likely to say they would keep working, while elites were more likely to say they would take the money and run. We would do well to remember this before scoffing at “dead-end jobs.”
根据社会调查,将近四分之三的美国人即使有意外之财让他们享受下半生,他们也不会放弃工作。那些受教育程度最低、收入最少、工作最低等的人更倾向于继续工作,那些精英阶层更可能会拿钱走人。在嘲笑“无前途的工作”之前,我们要好好反省一下。
 
Assemble these clues and your brain will conclude what your heart already knew: Work can bring happiness by marrying our passions to our skills, empowering us to create value in our lives and in the lives of others. Franklin D. Roosevelt had it right: “Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
结合以上线索,你的大脑会得出一个你的内心已经知道的结论:工作会把我们的热情和技能结合,让我们为自己和他人的生活创造价值,从而获得幸福。富兰克林罗斯福说得对:“幸福并不仅仅在于拥有金钱,而在于成就感带来的愉悦和创造性努力带来的兴奋。”
 
In other words, the secret to happiness through work is earned success.
换句话说,工作中获得幸福的秘密在于获得的成功。
 
This is not conjecture; it is driven by the data. Americans who feel they are successful at work are twice as likely to say they are very happy overall as people who don’t feel that way. And these differences persist after controlling for income and other demographics.
这不是凭空猜测,而是由数据证明的。在工作中感到成功的美国人比那些没有这样感觉的人更有可能说自己总体上很幸福。这样的差异在除去收入和其他人口统计数据因素后仍存在。

You can measure your earned success in any currency you choose. You can count it in dollars, sure — or in kids taught to read, habitats protected or souls saved. When I taught graduate students, I noticed that social entrepreneurs who pursued nonprofit careers were some of my happiest graduates. They made less money than many of their classmates, but were no less certain that they were earning their success. They defined that success in nonmonetary terms and delighted in it.
你可以选择任何一种货币来衡量你获取的成功。你可以用美金来计算,当然——也可以用你教会阅读的孩子的数量,保护的栖息地或者拯救的灵魂。我以前教研究生时,发现那些追求非赢利事业的社会企业家就是我最开心的学生中的一部分。他们赚的钱比很多同学赚的少,但一样很确信自己获得了成功。他们用非货币的形式来定义那种成功并因此而快乐。
 
If you can discern your own project and discover the true currency you value, you’ll be earning your success. You will have found the secret to happiness through your work.
如果你能领悟出自己的项目并发现你在乎的真正货币,你就能获得成功。你就能通过工作发现幸福的秘密。
 
There’s nothing new about earned success. It’s simply another way of explaining what America’s founders meant when they proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that humans’ inalienable rights include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
对于获得的成功没有新的定义。只是用另一种方式来解读美国建国者在宣布独立宣言时的含义:人类不可剥夺的权利包括生命、自由和对幸福的追求。

This moral covenant links the founders to each of us today. The right to define our happiness, work to attain it and support ourselves in the process — to earn our success — is our birthright. And it is our duty to pass this opportunity on to our children and grandchildren.
这个精神契约把建国者与我们今天的每个人连接起来。我们有权定义幸福,努力获得幸福并在过程中激励自己——获取我们自己的成功——是我们与生俱来的权利。我们有责任把这样的机会传递给孩子们和孙子们。
 
But today that opportunity is in peril. Evidence is mounting that people at the bottom are increasingly stuck without skills or pathways to rise. Research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston shows that in the 1980s, 21 percent of Americans in the bottom income quintile would rise to the middle quintile or higher over a 10-year period. By 2005, that percentage had fallen by nearly a third, to 15 percent. And a 2007 Pew analysis showed that mobility is more than twice as high in Canada and most of Scandinavia than it is in the United States.
但是今天这样的机会岌岌可危。越来越多的证据证明底层人民因没有技能或者上升途径而被困住。波士顿联邦储备银行的研究指出,在上世纪80年代,21%的底层收入美国人在10年间上升入中等或更高收入的阶层。直到2005年,这个百分比下滑了近三分之一,下降至15%。一个2007年的皮尤分析指出加拿大和斯堪的纳维亚半岛大部分地区的迁移率是美国的两倍多。
 
This is a major problem, and advocates of free enterprise have been too slow to recognize it. It is not enough to assume that our system blesses each of us with equal opportunities. We need to fight for the policies and culture that will reverse troubling mobility trends. We need schools that serve children’s civil rights instead of adults’ job security. We need to encourage job creation for the most marginalized and declare war on barriers to entrepreneurship at all levels, from hedge funds to hedge trimming. And we need to revive our moral appreciation for the cultural elements of success.
这就是主要问题,自由企业的拥护者太晚意识到这点。仅仅认为我们的体系赐予每个人平等的机会是不够的。我们要为那些能够逆转令人不安的移动趋势的政策和文化。我们需要那些为孩子的公民权利服务的学校,而不是为了成人的工作保障。我们要鼓励为最边缘化的群体创造就业机会,对各个级别的创业障碍发起进攻,从对冲基金到修建树枝。我们要复苏对成功文化要素的精神领悟。

We must also clear up misconceptions. Free enterprise does not mean shredding the social safety net, but championing policies that truly help vulnerable people and build an economy that can sustain these commitments. It doesn’t mean reflexively cheering big business, but leveling the playing field so competition trumps cronyism. It doesn’t entail “anything goes” libertinism, but self-government and self-control. And it certainly doesn’t imply that unfettered greed is laudable or even acceptable.
我们也必须清除错误的想法。自由企业并不意味着破坏社会安全体系,而是拥护那些能真正帮助弱势群体,建立能够维持这些承诺的政策。它不代表反射性地为大企业欢呼,而是平衡游戏场地让竞争胜过任人唯亲。它不会导致“怎么都行”的自由主义,而是自制和自控。它当然也不表明无拘无束的贪婪值得赞赏或者甚至可以接受。
 
Free enterprise gives the most people the best shot at earning their success and finding enduring happiness in their work. It creates more paths than any other system to use one’s abilities in creative and meaningful ways, from entrepreneurship to teaching to ministry to playing the French horn. This is hardly mere materialism, and it is much more than an economic alternative. Free enterprise is a moral imperative.
自由企业给了最多人最好的机会来获得他们的成功,并在他们的工作中找到持久的幸福。它比任何一个体系创造了更多的途径让人们用创新和有意义的方式来运用自己的能力,从创业精神到教导、政府部门、吹法国号。这几乎不是简单的唯物主义,远远超过一种经济选择。自由企业是精神上的必需品。

To pursue the happiness within our reach, we do best to pour ourselves into faith, family, community and meaningful work. To share happiness, we need to fight for free enterprise and strive to make its blessings accessible to all.
要追求力所能及的幸福,我们尽最大的努力投入到信仰、家庭、社区和有意义的工作中。要分享快乐,我们就得为自由企业而奋斗,努力让其利益惠及所有人。

(Arthur C. Brooks is the president of the American Enterprise Institute, a public policy think tank in Washington, D.C.)
(阿瑟C·布鲁克斯是华盛顿公共政策智囊团——美国企业研究院的院长。)