“感动中国2019年度人物”潘维廉教授:先放好大石头,这是你成功的关键!

百家 作者:青年文摘 2021-09-01 22:54:42 阅读:306



先放好大石头,这是你成功的关键!


亲爱的中国朋友们:


我喜欢玩杂耍,它让人身心放松,另一个好处是,有科学依据证明玩杂耍能增加大脑的白质和灰质——对我来说是个好消息,这正是我需要的。


我见过一些人一次可抛玩6到7个球,英国的亚历克斯·巴伦(Alex Barron)凭借同时抛玩11个球,登上了吉尼斯世界纪录!对我来说,3个球已经够难的了——玩583个球或每天处理583项任务简直难以想象!


然而,这就是20世纪70年代美国经理人的日常。现在多亏互联网、手机和社交网络的便捷,我们每天处理的事务数量翻了10倍。


无论你是一个运营公司的经理人,还是一个寻找时间练习英语口语的学生,你都需要停止杂耍,得把你的大石头放在第一位。尽管这并不能保证成功,但如果你不能发现自己的大石头,并将它们放在第一位,就很有可能注定失败。


583个“球”


20世纪70年代,加拿大教授亨利·明茨伯格(Henry Mintzberg)发现,高管和经理们通常认为自己一天的时间花在了计划、组织、领导和控制上,但事实上,他们平均每天有583项活动,每48秒一项任务!


一项针对160名英国经理人的调查发现,他们能够花半个多小时完成一项任务的机会每两天才一次。


这样安排日程,经理们不仅没有时间做计划,甚至连思考的时间都没有。他们只是对问题做出反应,试图运转这一切,就像个玩杂耍的人在空中同时抛着583个球。没有时间思考,做出的反应不是基于实际发生的,而是基于经理人自身的期望和经验——但在瞬息万变的世界里,昨天的经验今天可能就已过时。


在节奏相对缓慢的20世纪70年代,管理者如果每天要处理583项任务,那么想象一下如今被电子邮件、手机和社交媒体充斥的生活,又会是一番怎样的场景。


不仅仅是经理人每天要面对十分繁忙的日程安排和十分复杂的紧急性需求,包括老师和学生在内的所有人都有着同样的问题——除非你学会识别那些“大石头”并把它们放在第一位,否则你永远不会达到高效。


石头罐的故事


几年前,一位美国教授把一个空玻璃罐装满石头,然后问道:“现在满了吗?”


“满了,”学生们回答道。教授笑了笑,然后添加一些小石块,再轻轻摇晃一下,这些鹅卵石就被筛到了底部。


“现在满了?”


“没有!”有了前车之鉴,学生们否定回答道。前车之鉴意味着你从错误中吸取教训。如果被热炉子烫着了,除了为数不多的享受疼痛的人,否则人们都不会再次碰那个灼热的炉子。


教授慢慢地加入细沙,直到玻璃罐满了。“现在满了吗?”


“没有!”学生们喊道。


教授沿着罐沿往里再加水,然后问道:“现在满了吗?”


大多数学生都给出了肯定答案,除了一个化学专业的学生说“没有!”,因为他知道加一些盐就可以减少水的体积。


“那你们从这次示范中学到了什么?”教授问道。


因为这是节关于时间管理的课,所以我说:“时间挤一挤总是有的!”


“胡说!”他说,“一天只有24小时,消逝了就永远回不来。丢了钱,你可以赚回来,但丢了时间,就永远丢了。”


他说:“它告诉我们你必须先放大石头,因为先加水、沙子和小石子,以后就永远无法装大石头了。”


这是我20年的学生生涯里最重要的一课。当然,大石头是那些值得你最优先考虑的事情。小石头也必须放进去,但晚些时候,或者有可能的话就委托他人来放。沙子是日常琐事,应该总是交给别人来做。水代表浪费时间的小事,应当忽略。



展开活动调查,找到你的大石头


把大石头放在第一位,首先你必须了解它们是什么。


要解决这个问题,你可以将一张纸分成两栏,左边一栏标上理论,右边一栏标上现实。在理论这一栏,列出所有你认为必须完成的任务,用1到5的数值来评定它们的重要性。


在现实这一栏,用相同的等级(以便对两边进行比较)评估你在这些任务上实际花费的时间。


比如,在理论那一栏,你可把“每天练习20分钟英语口语”评为5,但在现实那一栏,可把它评为1;或者你可以在理论那一栏,把“微信”评为2,而在现实那一栏评为5。


调查结束后,问自己三个问题(什么,为什么和怎么做):


  1. 最失衡的是什么?

  2. 为什么会这样?

  3. 怎样解决,或者至少怎样才能亡羊补牢?


节省时间需要花时间


“赚钱需要钱”是常识,但很少有人知道“节省时间也需要时间”。


攻读全日制博士学位时,我还经营着一家公司,一天下来我得努力20个小时。所以听到那个摇晃玻璃罐的故事后,我就每天早上将自己锁在办公室,让我的秘书告诉别人我在开早会——那时办公室里其实只有我和一杯咖啡。


每天一早我便评估当天的任务,并安排好我的“大石头”,余下的事情,我要么委托他人,要么安排到下午做。


主动把大石头放在第一位,我几乎总能完成当天的主要任务。遇到不速之客,我会惋惜地说道:“很抱歉(然而我完全不这么认为),我早上10点安排了事情,下午1点也安排了——真没时间了!抱歉!去找找爱德华兹先生吧……”


不先放置好大石头,我的一天就会被一些小石头、沙子和水给塞满,到下午四五点,才发现竟然把大石头给忘了,更不用说试图完成它们了。这样一来,我要么工作到很晚,要么得把工作带回家——或者推到第二天。



大石头第一的理念非常有用,实践起来一点都不复杂,但它的作用只有在人们坚持不懈的情况下才会凸显出来,这解释了大多数人失败的原因——俗话说,“凡事预则立,不预则废。”


今天人们远比20世纪70年代忙碌,当时经理人每天要处理583项任务。但据我所知,最有效率的人,包括一些亿万富翁,每天所处理的事情远没有583项。他们知道成功不是做更多的事情。成功是做更少的事情,并将它们做得更好。


这就是为什么我会提醒学生,生意(business)这个英文单词上写的是“i”,而不是“y”(busyness 忙碌)。


20世纪90年代末,尽管我有着美好初衷,但还是陷入了明茨伯格说的“活动陷阱”。


当健康出现问题时,我开始拒绝他人的许多要求,把重心放在三个优先事项上:家庭、学生、讲述中国故事。只有在遇到那些和我的经验兴趣特别匹配,或是我希望进一步了解的活动时,我才会同意。学会拒绝后,我参与的事情比“来者不拒”时要少很多,但我能完成的事情却要多得多。


我的许多学生告诉我,他们想成为所在领域的领导者,但如果你连自己都领导不了,又怎能成为某个领域的领导者呢!


如果你管理不了自己的时间,别人会乐意为你“代劳”。所以无论人生目标是什么,收回对时间的控制权,因为这是你最宝贵和无法替代的资源。


如果你有目标——提高英语口语、写一本书、学武术——就不要找借口,而是把它当成你的大石头,然后把它放在第一位。


道理很简单——但实践起来不总是这么回事,因为你不仅需要在今天将大石头放在第一位,明天以及以后的每一天都是如此,直到你实现梦想。并且,即使一个梦想实现了,你仍旧需要将大石头放在第一位——根据我以往经验,一旦实现一个梦想,总有另一个梦想随之而来。停止学习,停止梦想,就是否定生活的全部意义。


坚持梦想——确保它是一块大石头,而不只是一个白日梦!


潘维廉

2020年5月26日


点击下方视频,看老潘的英语分享


Big Rocks First 

– Key to Your Success!


May 26, 2020


Dear Chinese friends,


I love juggling because it’s a relaxing exercise, and an added benefit is that science has proven that juggling increases the brain’s white and gray matter – which is great news for me because I need all the help I can get.


I’ve seen some people juggle 6 or 7 balls at a time, and Alex Barron of the UK won the Guinness World Record by juggling 11! For me, juggling 3 balls is hard enough – so imagine juggling 583 balls – or tasks – each day? 


Yet that’s exactly what the average American manager did in the 1970s. And nowadays, thanks to the internet, mobile phones and social networking, we’re probably juggling ten times that.


Whether you’re a manager trying to keep a company together or a student seeking time to practice oral English, you need to stop juggling and put your Big Rocks first. This won’t guarantee success, but failure to discover your Big Rocks and put them first will probably guarantee your failure.


583 Balls


In the 1970s, Canadian Professor Henry Mintzberg found that executives and managers typically believed that they spent their day planning, organizing, leading and controlling, but in reality they averaged 583 activities a day – one task every 48 seconds! 


A study of 160 British managers found that only once in every two days were they able to spend over half an hour on one task.


With such a schedule, managers not only have no time to plan, they don’t even think. They simply react to problems, trying to keep everything going like a juggler with 583 balls in the air. With no time to think, reactions are based not on what is really happening but on the manager’s expectations, based on their experience – but in our rapidly changing world, yesterday’s experience may be outdated today.


If managers juggled 583 tasks a day in the slower 1970s, just imagine life today with email, mobile phones and social media. 


And it’s not just managers who are juggling impossibly complex schedules and competing demands. Everyone, including teachers and students, face the same issues, and you’ll never be fully effective unless you learn to identify the “big rocks” and put them first.


The Rock Jar Story


Years ago, an American professor filled an empty glass jar to the brim with rocks and asked, “Is it full?”


“Yes,” the students answered. The professor smiled, and then added tiny rocks as he shook the jar gently, letting the pebbles sift to the bottom.


“It is full now?”


“No!” said the twice-burned students. Twice-burned means you learn from mistakes. If you burn yourself on a hot stove, you don’t touch it twice unless you’re one of those few people who actually enjoy pain.


The professor slowly added fine sand until it was full. “Is it full now?”


“No!” shouted the students.


He added water to the very brim and asked, “Is it full now?”


“Yes!” said most students, though a chemistry major said “No!” because he knew that adding salt could actually decrease water’s volume.


“So what is the lesson of this demonstration?” asked the professor.


We knew it was about time management, so I said, “There is always more time!”


“Nonsense,” he said. “There are only 24 hours in a day, and once it is gone, it is gone forever. If you lose money, you can earn it back, but if you lose time, it is gone forever.”


“The lesson,” he said, “is that you must put the big rocks in first, because if you first add water, sand and little rocks, you’ll never get the big rocks in later.”


That was one of the most important lessons I learned in 20 years of school. Big Rocks, of course, are your greatest priorities. Small rocks must also get done but later – or delegate them if you can. Sand is the daily chores, which should always be delegated. Water is the time wasters that you should ignore.


Find Your Big Rocks 

with an Activity Survey


To put your big rocks first, you must first discover what they are. 


You can do this by making two columns on a sheet of paper, the left one labeled Theory and the right one Reality. Under Theory, list all tasks that you believe you must do, and rate their importance on a 1 to 5 scale. 


Under Reality, use the same 1 to 5 scale (so you can compare the two sides) to rate how much time you really spend on those tasks. 


For example, under Theory, you may rate “practice oral English 20 minutes a day” as 5, but under Reality give it a 1. Or you might rate “WeChat” as a 2 under Theory but a 5 under Reality.


After your survey, ask yourself 3 questions (what, why and how):


1. What are the biggest imbalances? 

2. Why do I have them?

3. How can I fix them, or at least compensate for them?


It Takes Time to Save Time


“It takes money to make money” is common knowledge but few understand that it also “takes time to save time.”


I was running a business while doing a PhD full time, and struggling with 20 hour days. So as soon as I heard the Rock Jar Story, I began each day locked in my office while my secretary told everyone I was in my morning meeting – which was just me and a cup of coffee.


I reviewed each day’s activities and scheduled my big rocks early in the day, and I either delegated the rest or scheduled them in the afternoon. 


When I proactively put my big rocks first, I almost always finished that day’s key tasks. People still dropped in with unexpected demands but I would sigh and say, “I’m so sorry (though I wasn’t sorry at all) but I have this at 10 AM, and this at 1 PM – no time! Sorry! Please see Mr. Edwards...”


But if I did not put the big rocks first, my day would fill up with little rocks, sand and water and by 4 or 5 PM I’d find I had not even thought about the big rocks, much less attempted to finish them, and I’d either work late or take my work home – or have even more to do the next day.


Big Rocks First is a powerful but simple concept, but it only works when done consistently over time, which is why most people fail – but as the saying goes, “You either fail to plan or you plan to fail.”


Today is far more hectic than the simpler 1970s when managers juggled 583 tasks per day, but the most effective people I know, including a few billionaires, do not come close to 583 tasks a day. They know that success is not doing more things; success is doing fewer things, but doing them better. 


That’s why I remind my students that business is spelled with an “i,” not a “y” (busyness).


In the late 1990s, in spite of my best intentions, I too got caught up in what Mintzberg calls the “activity trap.” 


When my health broke down I began to say no to many of the demands made upon me, focusing on my three priorities: family, students, telling China’s story. The only time I agreed to other activities was when they were either uniquely suited to my experience and interests, or they were something I wanted to learn more about. Since I began saying no, I’ve done much less yet accomplished far more than I did during the days when I said “yes” to everyone.


Lastly – many of my students say they want to become leaders in their fields, but you cannot be a leader if you cannot even lead yourself. 


If you don’t manage your time, others will happily manage it for you, so whatever your goal in life, take back control of time, your most precious and irreplaceable resource. And if you have a goal – improve oral English, write a book, learn martial arts – stop making excuses and make it one of your Big Rocks, and then put that Big Rock First.


It’s that simple – but simple isn’t always easy because you need persistence in putting the Big Rocks First today, tomorrow and every day until you accomplish your dream. And even then it does not end because, in my experience, once I’ve achieved one dream, there’s always another dream building upon what I’ve just learned. To stop learning and dreaming is to abandon one’s whole reason for living.


Dream – and then make sure that dream is a Big Rock so it is not just a day dream!


Bill Brown



潘维廉教授及新书简介


《老潘写给青少年的18封信》是由新航道国际教育集团策划、外文出版社出版的一本写给青少年的中英双语书信集。本书的作者是厦门大学工商管理教育(MBA)中心美籍专家、教授潘维廉。潘教授在中国已生活30余年,是CCTV “感动中国2019年度人物”,也是新航道和中国教育电视台联合主办的“用英语讲中国故事”活动的形象大使这是潘教授写给青少年的首本英汉对照书信集。在书中,他分享了自己对语言学习、家庭教育、跨文化交流等问题的思考,并收录他本人英语读信的视频。书信言辞真切不乏幽默,是他献给中国孩子的一份充满智慧的诚意之作。


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