佳文共赏:马克·吐温「密西西比河上的生活」

Summer Sunrises on the Mississippi

by Mark Twain

One can never see too many summer sunrises on the Mississippi. They are enchanting. First, there is the eloquence of silence; for a deep hush broods everywhere. Next, there is the haunting sense of loneliness, isolation, remoteness from the worry and bustle of the world. The dawn creeps in stealthily; the solid walls of the black forest soften to grey, and vast stretches of the river open up and reveal themselves; the water is smooth, gives off spectral little wreaths of white-mist, there is not the faintest breath of wind, nor stir of leaf; the tranquility is profound and infinitely satisfying. Then a bird pipes up, another follows, and soon the pipings develop into a jubilant riot of music. You see none of the birds, you simply move through an atmosphere of song which seems to sing itself. When the light has become a little stronger, you have one of the fairest and softest pictures imaginable. You have the intense green of the massed and crowded foliage nearby; you see it paling shade by shade in front of you; upon the next projecting cape, a mile off or more, the tint has lightened to the tender young green of spring; the cape beyond that one has almost lost colour, and the furthest one, miles away under the horizon, sleeps upon the water a mere dim vapour, and hardly separable from the sky above it and about it. And all this stretch of river is a mirror, and you have shadowy reflections of the leafage and the curving shores and the receding capes pictured in it.

Well, this is all beautiful; soft and rich and beautiful; and when the sun gets well up, and distributes a pink flush here and a powder of gold yonder and a purple haze where it will yield the best effect, you grant that you have something that is worth remembering.

马克·吐温(Mark Twain1835.11.30~1910.4.21

美国作家、演说家,真实姓名是萨缪尔·兰亨·克莱门(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)。“马克·吐温”是他的笔名,原是密西西比河水手使用的表示在航道上所测水的深度的术语。代表作品有小说《百万英镑》《哈克贝利·费恩历险记》《汤姆·索亚历险记》等。

「密西西比河上的生活」是马克·吐温早期的一部自传体小说。就像是一位密西西比河的探索者,他不断观察丰富的河面变化,学习辨识潜在的危险。其实是马克·吐温成为作家之前的理想就是成为职业舵手。他曾拜师学艺,不断学习有关河流的知识,观察在河流上发生的一切,培养自己在河流上的敏锐度。

今天选摘的这一段“日出”,能够看到他是以怎样诗化的语言和细密的观察去描述一条河上的风景的。优美、节制又不乏活泼自然的英文完全是同类写作的典范。

最后分享马克·吐温最耳熟能详的一句名言,与君共勉。

永远要像你不需要金钱那样地工作,永远要像你不曾被伤害过那样地爱,永远要像没有人在注视你那样地跳舞,永远要像在天堂那样地生活。

Things to GIVE UP to be successful!

2018 年伊始,转载一篇 Medium.com 上的文章,希望大家在设定新年企划时参考。作者 Zdravko Cvijetic 是一位时间管理大师,在网络上很有影响力,感兴趣的朋友可以关注他的博客 zerotoskill.com。

Somebody once told me the definition of hell: “On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become. — Anonymus

Sometimes, to become successful, we do not need to add more things, we need to give up on some of them.

Even though each one of us has a different definition of success, there are certain things that are universal, which, if you give up on them, you will be more successful.

Some of them you can give up today, while it might take a bit longer for others.

1. Give Up On The Unhealthy Lifestyle

Take care of your body. It is the only place you have to live. — Jim Rohn

If you want to achieve anything in life, everything starts here. First, you have to take care of your health, and there are only two things you need to keep in mind:

  1. Healthy Diet
  2. Physical Activity

Small steps, but you will thank yourself one day.

2. Give Up The Short-term Mindset

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. — Mae West

Successful people set long-term goals, and they know that these aims are merely the result of short-term habits that they need to do every day.

These healthy habits should not be something you do; they should be something you are.

There is a difference between: “Working out to have summer body” and “Working out because that is who you are.”

3. Give Up Playing Small

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson

If you never try and take great opportunities, or allow your dreams to become realities, you will never realize your true potential.

Moreover, the world will never benefit from what you could have achieved.

So voice your ideas, don’t be afraid to fail, and certainly don’t be afraid to succeed.

4. Give Up Your Excuses

It is not about the cards you are dealt, but how you play the hand. – Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Successful people know that they are responsible for their life, no matter their starting point, weaknesses, and past failures.

Realizing that you are entirely responsible for what happens next in your life, is both frightening and exciting.

However, it is the only way that you can reach the success because excuses limit and prevent us from growing personally and professionally.

Own your life; no one else will.

5. Give Up The Fixed Mindset

The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.  ― Robert Greene, Mastery

In a fixed mindset, people believe that their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits and that talent alone creates success — without effort. They are wrong.

Moreover, successful people know this. They invest an immense amount of time on a daily basis to develop a growth mindset, acquire new knowledge, learn new skills and change their perception so that it can benefit their lives.

Remember, who you are today, it is not whom you have to be tomorrow.

6. Give Up Believing In The “Magic Bullet.”

Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better. — Émile Coué

Overnight success is a myth.

Successful people know that making small continuous improvement every day, will be compounded over time, and give them desired results.

That why you should plan for the future, but focus on the day that’s ahead of you, and improve just 1%.

7. Give Up Your Perfectionism

Shipping beats perfection. — Kahn Academy’s Development Mantra

Nothing will ever be perfect, no matter how much we try.

Fear of failure (or even fear of success) often prevents us from taking action and putting our creation out there in the world. However, many opportunities will be lost if we wait for things to be right.

So, “ship,” and then improve (that 1%).

8. Give Up Multi-tasking

You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.  ― Winston S. Churchill

Successful people know this. That is why they choose one thing and then beat it into submission. No matter what, a business idea, a conversation, or a workout.

Being fully present and committed to one task, is indispensable.

9. Give Up Your Need to Control Everything

Some things are up to us, and some things are not up to us. — Epictetus, Stoic philosopher

Differentiating these two is important.

Detach from the things you cannot control, and focus on the ones you can, and know that sometimes, the only thing you will be able to monitor is your attitude towards something.

Moreover, remember, nobody can be frustrated while saying “Bubbles” in an angry voice.

10. Give Up Saying YES To Things That Don’t Support Your Goals

He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly. — James Allen

Successful people know this that to accomplish their goals, they will have to say NO to tasks, activities, and demands from your friends, family, and colleagues.

On a short-term, you might sacrifice a bit of instant gratification, but when your goals come to fruition, it will be worth it.

11. Give Up The Toxic People

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. – Jim Rohn

People we spend the most time with, add up to whom we become.

There are less ambitious people, and there are more ambitious people than us. If you spend time with the ones that are less driven than you, your average will go down, and with it your success.

However, if you spend time with people more advanced than you, no matter how challenging that might be, you will be more successful.

Take a look at around yourself, and see if you need to make any changes.

12. Give Up Your Need To Be Liked

The only way to avoid pissing people off is to do nothing important. — Oliver Emberton

Think of yourself as a market niche.

There will be many people that like that niche, but there will be individuals who do not, and no matter what you do, you will not be able to make an entire market like you.

This is entirely natural, and there’s no need to do anything to justify yourself.

The only thing you can do is continue being authentic, and know that growing number of “haters” means that you are doing important things.

13. Give Up Your Dependency on The Social Media & Television

The trouble is, you think you have time. — Jack Kornfield

Impulsive web browsing and television watching is a disease of today’s society.

These two should never be an escape from your life or your goals.

Unless your goals depend on either, you should minimize (or eliminate) your dependency on them. Moreover, direct that time towards things that can enrich your life.

Call To Action

If you want to increase your productivity and eliminate procrastination, check out the free guides below.

  1. The Ultimate Productivity Cheat Sheet – Readdle Edition
  2. New Year’s Resolution Worksheet