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进取心 ≠ 成功 ≠ 幸福

Anne Fisher 2012年03月12日

一份最新研究指出,一流学校毕业,然后一步步走上公司高层,不一定会带来长寿幸福的生活。

    你如何定义成功?

    这个问题是美国圣母大学(University of Notre Dame)门多萨商学院(Mendoza College of Business)管理学教授蒂姆西•贾吉进行的一项深入研究项目的核心。贾吉称:“虽然积极进取的人取得了很多成就,但他们的幸福感相比不那么积极进取的人只高了一点点,而且他们的寿命事实上也相对更短一些。”

    他的这项研究跟踪调查了717名生于上世纪初的积极进取者,选取他们从童年到成年以及日后岁月中的关键节点,针对进取心、成就以及各种健康和幸福指标进行了测定。

    接受调查的人中很多都是毕业于哈佛(Harvard)、耶鲁(Yale)、普林斯顿(Princeton)、斯坦福(Stanford)和其他一流名校,随后从事高要求、高地位和高收入的职业。但与控制组中的寻求安逸者(心理学家通常将这类人列为B类人)相比,这些高成就者的幸福感并没有显著增加。而且,平均而言,寻求安逸者的寿命比高成就者更长。

    “我们发现,进取心最多只是增加人生满足感的一个很细微的因素,事实上它同时还对寿命具有轻微的负面影响,”贾吉说。“因此,没错,积极进取者的确拥有更成功的事业,但这看起来并没有转化为更幸福、更健康的生活。”

    虽然这项研究没有指出导致积极进取者寿命较短的原因,但贾吉猜测:“或许是因为他们对事业忘我投入,忽略了很多有益于健康的事情,”比如“健康的生活习惯、稳定的家庭关系和深候的社交网络”。

    因此,父母们需要注意了:敦促子女抱负远大理想、进名牌学校、追寻辉煌事业从长远来看似乎对他们并没有什么好处。

    “如果你最大的愿望是他们能拥有幸福和健康的生活,或许不应过度强调事业成功的重要性,”贾吉说。“进取心能给我们(以及孩子们)的东西有限。”

    这项研究报告《志存高远的价值:进取心的前因和后果》(On the Value of Aiming High: The Causes and Consequences of Ambition)将刊登在即将出版的《应用心理学》杂志 (Journal of Applied Psychology)上。

    译者:老榆木

    How do you define success?

    That's the question at the core of an exhaustive research project by Timothy Judge, a professor of management at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business. "Despite their many accomplishments, ambitious people are only slightly happier than their less-ambitious counterparts, and they actually live somewhat shorter lives," says Judge.

    His study tracked 717 go-getters, born in the early years of the 20th century, and measured ambition, achievement, and various indicators of health and happiness at key points in the subjects' lives, from childhood into young adulthood and beyond.

    Many in the group graduated from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and other prestigious schools, and then went on to demanding, high-status, highly paid careers. Yet, when compared with a control group of more laid-back peers -- folks with the personality profile psychologists sometimes label Type B -- the high-achieving group was not markedly happier. What's more, the slackers, on average, outlived the high-achievers.

    "We discovered that ambition has, at most, only a very slight positive effect on life satisfaction, and actually a slightly negative impact on longevity," says Judge. "So, yes, ambitious people do achieve more successful careers, but that doesn't seem to translate into leading happier or healthier lives."

    Although the study doesn't address the reasons for higher mortality rates among ambitious people, Judge speculates that "perhaps the investments they make in their careers come at the expense of the things we know affect longevity," such as "healthy behaviors, stable relationships, and deep social networks."

    Note to parents: Pushing kids to aim for the stars, get into a prestigious school, and pursue a high-powered career may not do them any favors in the long run.

    "If your biggest wish for your children is that they lead happy and healthy lives, you might not want to overemphasize the importance of professional success," says Judge. "There are limits to what our ambitions can bring us -- or our kids."

    The study, "On the Value of Aiming High: The Causes and Consequences of Ambition," will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.

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