Here are the most important principles that I learned along the way.
My Most Fundamental Principles
In pursuing my goals I encountered realities, often in the form of problems, and I had to make decisions. I found that if I accepted the realities rather than wished that they didn’t exist and if I learned how to work with them rather than fight them, I could figure out how to get to my goals. It might take repeated tries, and seeking the input of others, but I could eventually get there. As a result, I have become someone who believes that we need to deeply understand, accept, and work with reality in order to get what we want out of life. Whether it is knowing how people really think and behave when dealing with them, or how things really work on a material level—so that if we do X then Y will happen—understanding reality gives us the power to get what we want out of life, or at least to dramatically
improve our odds of success. In other words, I have become a “hyperrealist.”
追求梦想的征途中，我与现实中遇到的问题激烈碰撞，不得不做出各种决策。我发现，与其整 日幻想这些问题不存在或与之抗争，还不如实事求是，寻找解决方案，这样倒能更快找到实现 目标的路。可能要反复尝试，汲取他人智慧，但最终总能实现梦想。久而久之，我深信要理解 现实，接受现实，与现实合作，寻找解决办法，才能实现梦想。无论是了解他人的真实想法与 行为，还是事物在物质层面的真实原理，如我们做甲那么乙就会发生，理解现实都会赋予我们 力量，助我们实现梦想，至少可以提高成功的几率。换句话说，我成了一名“高度写实主义 者”。
When I say I’m a hyperrealist, people sometimes think I don’t believe in making dreams happen. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, I believe that without pursuing dreams, life is mundane. I am just saying that I believe hyperrealism is the best way to choose and achieve one’s dreams. The people who really change the world are the ones who see what’s possible and figure out how to make that happen. I believe that dreamers who simply imagine things that would be nice but are not possible don’t sufficiently appreciate the laws of the universe to understand the true implications of their desires, much less how to achieve them.
提到“高度写实主义者”，就有人以为我不相信梦想可以变为现实，恰恰相反，事实上，我认 为生活没有梦想是寡然无味的。我强调的是，选择梦想与实现梦想，通过高度写实主义是最好 的办法。真正改变世界的人，能发现什么梦想是有可能实现的，并能指出可行之道。而真正的 空想家成天幻想一些不切实际的美好事物，不考虑宇宙规则，无法深刻理解自身愿望的真实内 涵，更别提实现他们的想法了。
Let me explain what I mean.
I believe there are an infinite number of laws of the universe and that all progress or dreams achieved come from operating in a way that’s consistent with them. These laws and the principles of how to operate in harmony with them have always existed. We were given these laws by nature. Man didn’t and can’t make them up. He can only hope to understand them and use them to get what he wants. For example, the ability to fly or to send cellular phone signals imperceptibly and instantaneously around the world or any other new and beneficial developments resulted from understanding and using previously existing laws of the universe. These inventions did not come from people who were not well-grounded in reality. 17The same is true for economic, political, and social systems that work. Success is achieved by people who deeply understand reality and know how to use it to get
what they want. The converse is also true: idealists who are not well-grounded in reality create problems, not progress. For example, communism was a system created by people with good intentions who failed to recognize that their idealistic system was inconsistent with human nature. As a result, they caused more harm than good.
我认为宇宙拥有无限多规则，实现一切梦想与进步都得遵循这些规则，如何遵循也是有定律有 原则可循的，这些定律一直都存在，不是人为制定的。人们只能理解并用好这些规则实现梦 想。举个例子吧，想飞翔，想在全球发射即时微感的手机讯号或别的什么有利于发展的新发 明，都得深刻理解宇宙已经存在的基本规律。不脚踏实地、实事求是的人是无法创造发明新事 物的。制定经济、政治、社会新制度也是如此。实事求是，基于现实来实现梦想，才能成功。 反之亦然：不脚踏实地实事求是的理想主义者只会制造麻烦，而不会带来进步。举例来说，创 造共产主义的人初衷是好的，但没意识到他们设想的理想体制同人类的本性是不相符的，所以 他们带来的麻烦比好处要多。
I recognize that sometimes a discovery is made by accident, but the discovery is of some basic underlying principle that creates understanding of a cause-effect relationship that leads to a desired result.
This brings me to my most fundamental principle:
Truth — more precisely, an accurate understanding of reality — is the essential foundation for producing good outcomes.
真相 —— 具体来说，就是精准理解现实 —— 这是达成良好结果的最重要根基。
While I spend the most time studying how the realities that affect me most work— i.e., those that drive the markets and the people I deal with—I also love to study nature to try to figure out how it works because, to me, nature is both beautiful and practical.
Its perfection and brilliance staggers me. When I think about all the flying
machines, swimming machines, and billions of other systems that nature created, from the microscopic level to the cosmic level, and how they interact with one another to make a workable whole that evolves through time and through multidimensions, my breath is taken away. It seems to me that, in relation to nature, man has the intelligence of a mold growing on an apple—man can’t even make a mosquito, let alone scratch the surface of understanding the universe.
大自然完美绚丽，令我惊叹。天上飞的，水里游的，千姿百态都是大自然创造的。从微观层面 到宇宙宏观，世界万物相互联系，构成和谐运转的整体，随时间推移，层层演进，我惊叹得无 法呼吸。同大自然相比，人类的智慧充其量也就苹果上的一小块霉斑，人类连只蚊子都没创 造，更别说理解宇宙了，最多也就能知道点皮毛。
Though how nature works is way beyond man’s ability to comprehend, I have found that observing how nature works offers innumerable lessons that can help us understand the realities that affect us. That is because, though man is unique, he is part of nature and subject to most of the same laws of nature that affect other species.
大自然的运行规律，人类是难以完全理解的，但观察自然，能学到不少东西，有益于我们理解 身边的现实。因为每个人虽是独立个体，但都是自然的一部分，受制于大自然支配一切物种的 普遍规律。
For example, I have found that by looking at what is rewarded and punished, and why, universally—i.e., in nature as well as in humanity—I have been able to learn more about what is “good” and “bad” than by listening to most people’s views about good and bad. It seems to me that what most people call “good” and “bad” typically reflects their particular group’s preferences: the Taliban’s definitions are different than Americans’, which are different than others’—and within each group there are differences and they are intended to paint a picture of the world the way they’d like it to be rather than the way it really is. So there are many different takes on what is good and bad that each group uses to call others “bad” and themselves “good,” some of which are practical and others of which are impractical. Yet all of them, and everything else, are subject to the same laws of nature–i.e., I believe that we all get rewarded and punished according to whether we operate in harmony or in conflict with nature’s laws, and that all societies will succeed or fail in the degrees that they operate consistently with these laws.
举例来说，我们看看奖惩之道吧，大自然和人类是一样的，在这点上，我更能分辨好与坏，而 不是随大流听别人的观点。我认为大多数人对好与坏的区分都是基于个人喜恶，塔利班和美国 人对好与坏的定义就截然不同，对别的群体亦是如此。每个群体对好与坏的定义都不尽相同， 都是基于自身期望，而非事实本身。每个群体对什么是好，什么是坏都有不同观点，有些切合 实际，有些不然，即便世间万物都受制于同样的自然规律。我们获得奖励，还是得到惩罚，都
This perspective gives me a non-traditional sense of good and bad: “good,” to me, means operating consistently with the natural laws, while “bad” means operating inconsistently with these laws. In other words, for something to be “good” it must be grounded in reality. And if something is in conflict with reality—for example, if morality is in conflict with reality—it is “bad,” i.e., it will not produce good outcomes.
这种观点与传统意义上的好与坏不太一样，对我来说，符合自然规律的就是好的，不符合自然 规律的就是不好的。也就是说，好的事情必须是基于现实规律的，如果一件事情同现实规律相 冲突，比如道德如果和现实相冲突，那就是坏的，就不会产生有益结果。
In other words, I believe that understanding what is good is obtained by looking at the way the world works and figuring out how to operate in harmony with it to help it (and yourself) evolve. But it is not obvious, and it is sometimes difficult to accept.
For example, when a pack of hyenas takes down a young wildebeest, is this good or bad? At face value, this seems terrible; the poor wildebeest suffers and dies. Some people might even say that the hyenas are evil. Yet this type of apparently evil behavior exists throughout nature through all species and was created by nature, which is much smarter than I am, so before I jump to pronouncing it evil, I need to try to see if it might be good. When I think about it, like death itself, this behavior is integral to the enormously complex and efficient system that has worked for as long as there has been life. And when I think of the second- and third- order consequences, it becomes obvious that this behavior is good for both the hyenas, who are operating in their self-interest, and in the interests of the greater system, which includes the wildebeest, because killing and eating the wildebeest fosters evolution, i.e., the natural process of improvement. In fact, if I changed anything about the way that dynamic works, the overall outcome would be worse.
例如，一群土狼攻击一只羚羊，是好是坏？表面上看，这可糟透了，可怜的羚羊遭受痛苦而 亡。有人会斥责说这群土狼真是太可恶了，可这种他们称为可恶的行为却在所有物种间无处不 在，这是大自然创造的行为，这可比我聪明多了。我跳出来说这种行为多邪恶前我会想，这件 事可能不是坏事。就死亡本身来看，是庞大、复杂、高效运转的大自然系统中的一部分，这种 系统自世界上存在生命以来就存在了。再从生物圈的二、三级效应来看，显然这种行为有利于
I believe that evolution, which is the natural movement toward better adaptation, is the greatest single force in the universe, and that it is good.Itaffects the changes of everything from all speciesto the entire solar system. It is good because evolution is the process of adaptation that leads to improvement. So, based on how I observe both nature and humanity working, I believe that what is bad and most punished are those things that don’t work because they are at odds with the laws of the universe and they impede evolution.
我认为，生物进化是大自然的正常活动，帮助生物更好地适应大自然，是宇宙最强大的一股力 量，所以生物进化是好事情。生物进化影响着所有物种，甚至影响太阳系。生物进化是好事 情，因为这是让生物更适应大自然的过程，能够改善物种本身。基于我对自然与人类的观察， 我认为那些不好的、受惩罚的事情都是因为与宇宙规律相违背，影响了生物进化。
In fact, it appears to me that everything other than evolution eventually disintegrates and that we all are, and everything else is, vehicles for evolution.
I believe that the desire to evolve, i.e., to get better, is probably humanity’s most pervasive driving force. Enjoying your job, a craft, or your favorite sport comes from the innate satisfaction of getting better.Though most people typically think that they are striving to get things (e.g., toys, better houses, money, status, etc.) that will make them happy, that is not usually the case. Instead, when we get the things we are striving for, we rarely remain satisfied.It is natural for us to seek other things or to seek to make the things we have better. In the process of this seeking, we continue to evolve and we contribute to the evolution of all that we have contact with. The things we are striving for are just the bait to get us to chase after them in order to make us evolve, and it is the evolution and not the reward itself that matters to us and those around us.
渴望进化，渴望变得更好，也许是人类最普遍的驱动力。喜欢你的工作，欣赏一件工艺品，热 爱一项体育运动，都是源自内心对更好生活的向往。尽管大多数人都觉得为实现梦想而苦苦挣 扎，比如想要玩具，更好的住房，赚钱，名望等等，认为实现这些梦想就能开心。事实上并非 如此，当我们努力实现了梦想后，人们很少会知足。我们会有新的目标，或想改善我们拥有的 东西，这都是很正常的。追寻梦想的过程中，我们不断成长，也促使我们接触的人与事成长。 我们想实现的梦想只是个诱饵，促使我们在实现之后去追求更多梦想，促使我们成长。和实现 的那些梦想比起来，成长本身对我们和周围的人才是最有意义的。
Of course, we are often satisfied with the same things – relationships, careers, etc.—but when that is the case, it is typically because we are getting new enjoyments from the new dimensions of these things.
It is natural that it should be this way—i.e., that our lives are not satisfied by obtaining our goals rather than by striving for them—because of the law of diminishing returns.For example, suppose making a lot of money is your goal and suppose you make enough so that making more has no marginal utility. Then it would be foolish to continue to have making money be your goal. People who acquire things beyond their usefulness not only will derive little or no marginal gains from these acquisitions, but they also will experience negative consequences, as with any form of gluttony. So, because of the law of diminishing returns, it is only natural that seeking something new, or seeking new depths of something old, is required to bring us satisfaction.
自然规律就是如此，我们不会满足于实现一个个梦想，而是享受这个追梦的过程，这是基于收 益递减原理的。举个例子，假设你的梦想是赚钱，而当你赚够了，再赚更多也就没有边际效益 了，若此时的梦想还是赚钱就很傻。超过使用边际后还不断获取，是难有回报，甚至没有回报 的，还会产生譬如贪婪这种负面的结果。根据收益递减原理，我们很自然地会想要寻求新鲜事 物或探索已存在事物的新层次，这样我们才能获得满足。
The marginal benefits of moving from a shortage to an abundance of anything decline.
In other words, the sequence of 1) seeking new things (goals); 2) working and learning in the process of pursuing these goals; 3) obtaining these goals; and 4) then doing this over and over again is the personal evolutionary process that fulfills most of us and moves society forward.
I believe that pursuing self-interest in harmony with the laws of the universe and contributing toevolution is universally rewarded, and what I call “good.” Look at
all species in action: they areconstantly pursuing their own interests and helping evolution in a symbiotic way, with most of them not even knowing that their selfserving behaviors are contributing to evolution. Like the hyenas attacking the wildebeest, successful people might not even know if or how their pursuit of selfinterest helps evolution, but it typically does.
我认为，在遵循宇宙规律，在有利于进化的基础上追寻个人目标，就会获得奖赏，我就会认为 这是好的事情。看看所有现存的物种吧：它们不断维护自身利益，同其它生物共生进化，却不 知道它们这种自利行为也推动了进化。像我提到的土狼袭击羚羊，成功人士可能不知道自己追 逐自身利益的同时帮助了进化，可事实就是如此。
When pursuing self-interest is in conflict with evolution, it is typically punished.
Self-interest and society’s interests are generally symbiotic: more than anything else, it is pursuit of self-interest that motivates people to push themselves to do the difficult things that benefit them and that contribute to society. In return, society rewards those who give it what it wants. That is why how much money people have earned is a rough measure of how much they gave society what it wanted—NOT how much they desired to make money. Look at what caused people to make a lot of money and you will see that usually it is in proportion to their production of what the society wanted and largely unrelated to their desire to make money. There are many people who have made a lot of money who never made making a lot of money their primary goal. Instead, they simply engaged in the work that they were doing, produced what society wanted, and got rich doing it. And there are many people who really wanted to make a lot of money but never produced what the society wanted and they didn’t make a lot of money. In other words, there is an excellent correlation between giving society what it wants and making money, and almost no correlation between the desire to make money and how much money one makes. I know that this is true for me—i.e., I never worked to make a lot of money, and if I had I would have stopped ages ago because of the law of diminishing returns. I know that the same is true for all the successful, healthy (i.e., non-obsessed) people I know.
自身利益和社会利益是相互共生的。追逐自身利益，会激励人们接受挑战，获得益处，推动社 会有效发展。反过来，社会也会回馈那些推动其有效发展的个体。所以评判对社会有效贡献的 粗略标准是赚了多少钱，而不是有多想要赚钱。看看是什么促使人们赚钱，你就会发现，这同 他们对社会的有效生产值成正相关，同他们想赚钱的欲望程度无关。不少盆满钵赢的人都没把 赚钱当做首要目标，他们只是认真工作，生产社会需要的东西，就逐渐变得富有了。也有不少 人天天想赚一大笔钱，但从没按社会需求进行生产，就没怎么赚钱。也就是说，提供社会所需 同赚钱之间的关系甚是紧密，而赚钱的欲望强烈程度则与之没什么关系。至少对我确实如此，
Of course, there are many people who give society what it wants but are paid poorly. This is explained by the law of supply and demand.
I do know some successful people who are obsessed with making money despite making money having little or no marginal benefit for them.
This process of productive adaptation—i.e., the process of seeking, obtaining, and pursuing new goals— does not just pertain to how individuals and society move forward. It is equally relevant when dealing with setbacks, which are inevitable. That is why many people who have had setbacks that seemed devastating at the time ended up as happy as (or even happier than) they were before, once they successfully adapted to them. The faster that one appropriately adapts, the better. As Darwin described, adaptation—i.e., adjusting appropriately to changes in one’s circumstances—is a big part of the evolutionary process, and it is rewarded. That is why some of the most successful people are typically those who see the changing landscape and identify how to best adapt to it.
这个过程叫有效适应，也就是寻求、获得、追寻新目标的过程。它不仅和个体与社会进步相 关，也同样与挫败相关，挫败是难以避免的。所以有人面对看似灾难性的挫折后，一旦成功适 应了，就和以前一样开心，甚至更开心。适应越快，效果越好。达尔文说，适应就是对个体环 境的变化进行适当调整。这是进化过程中很重要的一部分，适应过程能带来回馈。所以大多数 成功人士能很快觉察到大环境的变化，并迅速以最佳方式适应。
Darwin is reported to have said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
Your ability to see the changing landscape and adapt is more a function of your perceptive and reasoning abilities than your ability to learn and process quickly.
So,it seems to me that desires to evolve are universal and so are symbiotic relationships that lead to the evolution of the whole to occur via the pursuit of individuals’ self-interests. However, what differentiates man from other species is man’s greater ability to learn. Because we can learn, we can evolve more and faster than other species.
想进化是很正常的，追逐个人利益时，与社会的共生关系会推动整个社会进化，这也是很普遍 的。人类与别的物种的不同之处在于人类善于学习。我们会学习，所以我们比别的物种进化得 快。
I also believe that all things in nature have innate attributes that are both good and bad, with their goodness and their badness depending on what they are used for. For example, the thorns on a rose bush, the stinger on a bee, the aggressiveness of a lion, the timidity of a gazelle are all both good and bad, depending on their applications. Over time, nature evolves toward the right balance through the process of natural selection—e.g., an overly aggressive animal will die prematurely, as will an overly timid animal. However, because man has the ability to look at himself and direct his own change, individuals have the capacity to evolve.
所有事物都有其内在的固有属性，都有好与坏两面，这取决于用途。比方说玫瑰上的刺，蜜蜂 身上的刺，狮子的攻击性，小羚羊的怯弱，这些都既是好的也是不好的，取决于他们的用途。 攻击性过强或太胆小的动物都可能还没发育完全就死掉了。而人类有能力审视自己，指导自身 变化，有能力进行进化。
Most of us are born with attributes that both help us and hurt us, depending on their applications, and the more extreme the attribute, the more extreme the potential good and bad outcomes these attributes are likely to produce. For example, highly creative, goal- oriented people who are good at imagining the big picture often can easily get tripped up on the details of daily life, while highly pragmatic, task-oriented people who are great with the details might not be creative. That is because the ways their minds work make it difficult for them to see both ways of thinking. In nature everything was made for a purpose, and so too were these different ways of thinking. They just have different purposes. It is extremely important to one’s happiness and success to know oneself—most importantly to understand one’s own values and abilities—and then to find the
right fits. We all have things that we value that we want and we all have strengths and weaknesses that affect our paths for getting them. The most important quality that differentiates successful people from unsuccessful people is our capacity to learn and adapt to these things.
我们大多数人生来具备的特质，既会帮助我们，也可能伤害到我们，根据用途而有别。程度越 极端，特质带来的积极或消极影响就相对应越大。例如，创造力很强、目标很清晰，善于把握 大局的人可能就会在生活细节上吃亏。而重实务、关注具体任务、能完美处理细节的人可能不 怎么有创造力。因为我们思维的特性，很难两者兼顾。事事都存之有理，不同的思维方式也存 之有理，因其有不同的存在目的，这对于个人幸福感和自身了解极为重要，尤其是了解自身价 值和能力，这样才能进一步找到合适的定位。人人都有珍视之物，都有渴望之事，都有影响我 们实现梦想的优缺点。区分成功人士与平庸之辈最重要的品质就是学习能力和适应能力。
Unlike any other species, man is capable of reflecting on himself and the things around him to learn and adapt in order to improve. He has this capability because, in the evolution of species man’s brain developed a part that no other species has—the prefrontal cortex. It is the part of the human brain that gives us the ability to reflect and conduct other cognitive thinking. Because of this, people who can objectively reflect on themselves and others —most importantly on their weaknesses are—can figure out how to get around these weaknesses, can evolve fastest and come closer to realizing their potentials than those who can’t.
和别的物种不同，人类能够进行自身反思，对周遭事物展开思考，进而获得学习与提高。人类 拥有这些能力是因为在进化过程中大脑形成了前额叶皮层，这是别的生物所没有的。它使得人 类具备自省、开展其他认知思维的能力。鉴于此，人类能客观地反思自己和别人，最重要的是 反思自身的缺点，指出解决这些缺点的办法，能最快进化、开发潜能。
However, typically defensive, emotional reactions—i.e., ego barriers—stand in the way of this progress. These reactions take place in the part of the brain called the amygdala. As a result of them, most people don’t like reflecting on their weaknesses even though recognizing them is an essential step toward preventing them from causing them problems. Most people especially dislike others exploring their weaknesses because it makes them feel attacked, which produces fight or flight reactions; however, having others help one find one’s weaknesses is essential because it’s very difficult to identify one’s own. Most people don’t like helping others explore their weaknesses, even though they are willing to talk about them behind their backs. For these reasons most people don’t do a good job of understanding themselves and adapting in order to get what they want most out of life. In my opinion, that is the biggest single problem of mankind because it, more than anything else, impedes people’s abilities to address all other problems and it is probably the greatest source of pain for most people.
掌管。鉴于这种反应的存在，大多数人都不爱反省自身缺点，即便他们都知道反省缺点是避免 出现问题的重要一步。大家尤其讨厌别人挖掘自己的缺点，令人深感冒犯，从而产生还击或逃 离的反应。其实有人指出自己的缺点很重要，因为自己很难发现自身缺点。大多数人都不喜欢 指出别人的缺点，不过背地里倒是挺愿意讨论别人的缺点。所以芸芸众生，真正了解自己的人 甚少，也就无法适应环境、实现梦想了。我认为，这是人类面临最简单却最大的问题，深深阻 碍着人们解决问题的能力，也是大多数人感到痛苦的根源。
Some people get over the ego barrier and others don’t. Which path they choose, more than anything else, determines how good their outcomes are. Aristotle defined tragedy as a bad outcome for a person because of a fatal flaw that he can’t get around. So it is tragic when people let ego barriers lead them to experience bad outcomes.
有人能克服自我设障这种情绪反应，有些人则做不到。选什么路，就会走向何种结果。亚里士 多德认为悲剧是人类无法克服致命弱点而带来的不好结果。如果人们被自我设障这种情绪牵着 鼻子走，碰了一鼻子灰，就是悲剧。