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2006年NPR美国国家公共电台十月-Failure Is a Good Thing

时间:2007-07-20 08:46来源:互联网 提供网友:joly   字体: [ ]
I believe in honor, faith and service.
I believe that a little outrage1 can take you a long way.
I believe in freedom of speech.
I believe in empathy.
I believe in truth.
I believe in the ingredients of love.
This I believe.

On Mondays we bring you our series " This I Believe". And this morning we will hear the beliefs of Jon Carroll who's been a columnist2 for the San Francisco Chronicle for almost 25 years. That's a lot of daily deadlines to meet, but he holds the belief to get them through. Here is our series curator, independent producer, Jay Allison.

People often rely on personal beliefs that help them toward their goals. They want to be better people to serve others, to live successfully. But Jon Carroll's belief is not so much concerned with success, in fact, quite the opposite. Here is with his essay for " This I Believe."

Last week, my granddaughter started kindergarten, and, as is conventional, I wished her success. I was lying. What I actually wish for her is failure. I believe in the power of failure.

Success is boring. Success is proving that you can do something that you already know you can do, or doing something correctly the first time, which can often be a problematical victory. First-time success is usually a fluke. First-time failure, by contrast, is expected; it is the natural order of things.

Failure is how we learn. I have been told of an African phrase describing a good cook as "she who has broken many pots." If you've spent enough time in the kitchen to have broken a lot of pots, probably you know a fair amount about cooking. I once had a late dinner with a group of chefs, and they spent time comparing knife wounds and burn scars. They knew how much credibility their failures gave them.

I earn my living by writing a daily newspaper column. Each week I am aware that one column is going to be the worst column of the week. I don't set out to write it; I try my best every day. Still, every week, one column is inferior to the others, sometimes spectacularly so.

I have learned to cherish that column. A successful column usually means that I am treading on familiar ground, going with the tricks that work, preaching to the choir3 or dressing4 up popular sentiments in fancy words. Often in my inferior columns, I am trying to pull off something I've never done before, something I'm not even sure can be done.

My younger daughter is a trapeze artist. She spent three years putting together an act. She did it successfully for years with the Cirque du Soleil. There was no reason for her to change the act -- but she did anyway. She said she was no longer learning anything new and she was bored; and if she was bored, there was no point in subjecting her body to all that stress. So she changed the act. She risked failure and profound public embarrassment5 in order to feed her soul. And if she can do that 15 feet in the air, we all should be able to do it.

My granddaughter is a perfectionist, probably too much of one. She will feel her failures, and I will want to comfort her. But I will also, I hope, remind her of what she learned, and how she can do whatever it is better next time. I probably won't tell her that failure is a good thing, because that's not a lesson you can learn when you're five. I hope I can tell her, though, that it's not the end of the world. Indeed, with luck, it is the beginning.

Jon Carroll with his essay for " This I Believe."

Over 15,000 of you have now submitted essays for our series and we're just made all of them available online. To browse6, or search through these essays or to submit one of your own, visit our website at NPR.org. For " This I Believe", I am Jay Allison

"This I believe" continues next Monday on "All Things Considered", we'll hear an essay from a 14-year-old in Milford, Michigan. Joshua Yuchasz, has Asperger's Syndrome7 and believe sthat people should have respect for others. Support for "This I believe" comes from Capella University.

1.fluke:[N-COUNT]If you say that something good is a fluke, you mean that it happened accidentally rather than by being planned or arranged. (INFORMAL)

2.preach to the choir:try hard to convince someone of something they already believe

3.trapeze:n. horizontal bar suspended from two parallel ropes used for gymnastics and acrobatics 吊架, 高空秋千


1 outrage hvOyI     
  • When he heard the news he reacted with a sense of outrage.他得悉此事时义愤填膺。
  • We should never forget the outrage committed by the Japanese invaders.我们永远都不应该忘记日本侵略者犯下的暴行。
2 columnist XwwzUQ     
  • The host was interviewing a local columnist.节目主持人正在同一位当地的专栏作家交谈。
  • She's a columnist for USA Today.她是《今日美国报》的专栏作家。
3 choir sX0z5     
  • The choir sang the words out with great vigor.合唱团以极大的热情唱出了歌词。
  • The church choir is singing tonight.今晚教堂歌唱队要唱诗。
4 dressing 1uOzJG     
  • Don't spend such a lot of time in dressing yourself.别花那么多时间来打扮自己。
  • The children enjoy dressing up in mother's old clothes.孩子们喜欢穿上妈妈旧时的衣服玩。
5 embarrassment fj9z8     
  • She could have died away with embarrassment.她窘迫得要死。
  • Coughing at a concert can be a real embarrassment.在音乐会上咳嗽真会使人难堪。
6 browse GSWye     
  • I had a browse through the books on her shelf.我浏览了一下她书架上的书。
  • It is a good idea to browse through it first.最好先通篇浏览一遍。
7 syndrome uqBwu     
  • The Institute says that an unidentified virus is to blame for the syndrome. 该研究所表示,引起这种综合症的是一种尚未确认的病毒。
  • Results indicated that 11 fetuses had Down syndrome. 结果表明有11个胎儿患有唐氏综合征。
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