深度解读 | 姜文《让子弹飞》



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2017-06-10 纽约时报中文网 NYT教育频道 NYT教育频道

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Humans are social animals who thrive on reciprocity. It’s in our nature to be socially obliging, and the word no feels like a confrontation that threatens a potential bond. But when we dole out an easy yes instead of a difficult no we tend to overcommit our time, energy and finances.


“The ability to communicate ‘no’ really reflects that you are in the driver’s seat of your own life,” said Vanessa M. Patrick, an associate professor of marketing at the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. “It gives you a sense of empowerment.”

“说‘不’的能力其实反映出你是自己生活的主宰者,”休斯顿大学 (University of Houston)C·T·鲍尔商学院(C. T. Bauer College of Business)营销学助理教授凡妮莎·M·帕特里克(Vanessa M. Patrick)说。“它会给你一种变得强大之感。”

That’s why learning to say no comes in handy.


One technique is the refusal strategy. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research by Professor Patrick and Henrik Hagtvedt found that saying “I don’t” as opposed to “I can’t” allowed participants to extract themselves from unwanted commitments.


While “I can’t” sounds like an excuse that’s up for debate, “I don’t” implies you’ve established certain rules for yourself, suggesting conviction and stability. And since it’s personal, it also maintains the social connection humans crave.


I remember how, as a recent college graduate, I was short on a student loan payment because of this need for social connection. I didn’t say no to an overly friendly door-to-door magazine seller. I had a nice conversation with her but was out $30 (and the magazines never came).


“We actually used the pushy salesperson scenario: selling magazine subscriptions,” Professor Patrick said. She and her colleagues asked some subjects to sell magazines and others to say no. When subjects said “I don’t” versus “I can’t,” they were more effective in getting their point across, and the sellers were more willing to accept their refusal.


There are a few other ways you can get more comfortable with saying no.


First, practice being more aggressive when the stakes are low. For example, when a cashier asks you to sign up for a store credit card you don’t want, try saying “I don’t use store credit cards” instead of a passive “Not today, but thank you,” which implies your decision is up for debate.


It’s a lot easier to be assertive with a stranger selling you something than it is when, say, your pleading co-worker asks for a ride to the airport. Get comfortable with your assertiveness when it’s easy so you’ll be prepared when there’s more pressure.


Second, it’s easier to say no when you know exactly how to say it, so come up with a few anchor phrases for different situations. “No, I don’t buy from solicitors” for door-to-door salespeople, for example. “No, I don’t go out during the week” for co-workers who want to go on a drinking binge on a Monday night.


When you have these phrases ready, you don’t have to waste time wavering over an excuse. And you start to develop a reflexive behavior of saying no.


Still, sometimes we’re afraid to say no because we fear missing out. We want to take on new opportunities and adventures, so we say yes to everything instead. It’s what Shonda Rhimes and Tina Fey told us to do. But all of those yeses can lead to burnout.

不过,有时我们不敢说不,是因为担心错过。我们想抓住新的机遇和冒险的机会,因此便来者不拒。这是桑达·莱姆斯(Shonda Rhimes)和蒂娜·菲(Tina Fey)告诉我们应该做的。但所有这些“不拒”可能会导致最终的崩溃。

“We live in a ‘yes’ culture, where it’s expected that the person who is going to get ahead is the go-getter who says yes to everything that comes their way,” said Dara Blaine, a career counselor and coach in Los Angeles.

“我们生活在一个习惯说‘好’的文化中。在这种文化中,人们期待有望领先的人会积极进取,拥抱所有的机遇,”洛杉矶职业顾问和职业规划教练达拉·布莱恩(Dara Blaine)说。

“It’s when people learn to say no that I’ve really seen their careers take off,” she said.


To combat the problem, it helps to understand your own long-term goals first. This way, you can say yes to opportunities that most reflect your values. Second, try to build free time in your schedule so there’s room for new, interesting opportunities you might otherwise overlook.


“I wouldn’t encourage someone who’s struggling to say no to everything,” Ms. Blaine said. “But I would encourage them to say no to something just to change the story, the story being, ‘I have to say yes to everything or I’m not going to make it.’”


Still, some commitments and obligations are difficult to reject. You can’t exactly tell your boss: Sorry, I don’t work past 5 p.m., ever. But there are ways to ease into the refusal. If your boss wants to pile on extra work, for example, you might suggest you’re not the best choice for that task because your plate is already full and you don’t want to sacrifice quality.


And if you’re worried that your no might seem threatening, don’t be. Research from Columbia University found that our perceptions of our own assertiveness are often unreliable. In mock negotiations, people who thought they were adequately assertive or even over-assertive were seen by others as under-assertive. So if you feel confrontational, there’s a good chance the other party doesn’t see you that way.

如果你担心自己的拒绝看起来有威胁性,不必这么想。哥伦比亚大学(Columbia University)的研究显示,我们对自己的坚决程度的感知往往并不可靠。在模拟谈判中,那些自认为足够坚定、甚至过于斩钉截铁的人,却被其他人看作不够强硬。所以如果你感觉自己表现出了对抗的态度,别人很有可能并不这么想。

Each person’s mileage is going to vary. But if you feel overcommitted, no is a small word that can remind you how much control you have over your destiny.


“You have obligations,” Professor Patrick said. “But within the limits of your control, it’s about operating at the most optimal level.”


For most of us, that means living a happier and less stressful life, which is easier to do from the driver’s seat. Waiting for a nonexistent Vogue subscription while your student loan incurs interest? Not so much.




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