第十六秒怎麼辦?──BUT WHAT ABOUT THE 16TH SECOND?

MONDAY MANNA

最近,我看了一名高中畢業代表在班上致告別詞的影片。他談到經過多年的努力和個人犧牲,實現了自己的目標:被任命為全班第一名的畢業生代表後,興奮激昂的心情。

但隨後他如酒後清醒般的察覺到:這種快感只持續了約15秒。他說,自己曾經期待會有更多感覺——也許像煙火,或是更令人激動。但沒有。當他得知獲得榮譽的事實後,只感覺到「空虛」。興奮的情緒來得快,也去得快,大概只會持續15秒。

所以,他提醒同學們要設定目標和夢想,同時要從正確的角度來看待。他警告:「別在第16秒懊悔。」這名學生所說的話讓人想起幾年前美國女歌手佩吉.李(Peggy Lee)的那首令人難忘的歌:「這就是所有了嗎?」(It That All There Is?) 我們可能把時間、才能和精力全數用來達成某特定目標,卻發現目標達成之後,並沒有我們想像中的滿足。

雖然不是每個人,但對大多數的人來說,高中或大學已是遙遠的記憶。而現在你可能正在從事某種工作,訂定職業和個人當天、一週、年度目標。我們心想:「當我達成了這個目標(不管是什麼),我就會很快樂。」我們放棄了生活中的其他優先事項——關係、健康和運動,以及享受並欣賞當下的能力。因為我們覺得只有目標最重要。

而後,正如這位畢業生代表所說的,我們達成了目標,抵達了目的地。欣喜若狂陶醉了大約15秒鐘的時間,對成就感到無比滿足。但是到了第16秒,我們會開始想「就這樣嗎?這就是一切嗎?」

所以,更明智的做法是聽從這位傑出學生的建議:「別在第16秒懊悔。」這不只是二十一世紀的問題。從研讀聖經的過程中,我們知道這個問題已經存在了數千年。用字遣詞或許不同,但都在傳達同一個訊息——不要專注在錯誤的事上。

既然可以得到永恆,何苦為短暫汲汲營營?你今天擁有什麼,做的什麼,可以帶到死後的世界?「不要為自己積攢財寶在地上;地上有蟲子咬,能銹壞,也有賊挖窟窿來偷。只要積攢財寶在天上;天上沒有蟲子咬,不能銹壞,也沒有賊挖窟窿來偷。因為你的財寶在哪裏,你的心也在那裏。」(馬太福音6章19-21節)

專注在恆常不變的事上。一位智者曾經說過:「最終,只有兩件事會長久流傳:上帝的道,與人的關係。」如果這是真的,犧牲自己與上帝以及我們所愛之人的關係,投注於其他事情是不明智的。「草必枯乾,花必凋殘,惟有我們 神的話必永遠立定。」(以賽亞書40章8節)

要明白地上暫時的生活很快就會結束了。聖經裡說我們在地上的生活像是一片「雲霧」(雅各書4章14節),轉瞬即逝。接著,我們將要面對永恆——到時候會發生什麼?「人就是賺得全世界,賠上自己的生命,有甚麼益處呢?」(馬可福音8章36節)

2020. Robert J. Tamasy 是企業巔峰: 給今日職場從箴言而來永恆的智慧 一書的作者。也與導師之心的作者David A. Stoddard 合著Tufting Legacies。編輯多本著作包括Mike Landry. Bob的書: 透過苦難成長。Mike Landry. Bob的網站為 www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com

反省與問題討論

  1. 你是否曾經花很多的時間和精力來實現某個特定的目標,卻發現目標達成時的幸福感很快就消失了——正如那名高中畢業生代表所發現的?對你來說那是什麼樣的經歷?
  2. 你認為「勝利的快感」為何如此短暫,且經常被沮喪或空虛的感覺所取代?
  3. 除了滿足感會快速地消失之外,完全沉溺於具有挑戰性的目標中,還會有哪些負面結果?
  4. 在你看來,這是否意味著無論是職業或是個人生活上,我們做每一件事時都要保持永恆的觀點,而非只從世俗的或暫時的角度來看?你覺得自己在這方面表現如何?

備註:如果你手上有聖經,並且想閱讀更多相關的經文,請參考以下的內容:

約伯記7章7節
7:7 求你想念,我的生命不過是一口氣;我的眼睛必不再見福樂。

詩篇39篇4-6節
39:4 耶和華啊,求你叫我曉得我身之終!我的壽數幾何?叫我知道我的生命不長!
39:5 你使我的年日窄如手掌;我一生的年數,在你面前如同無有。各人最穩妥的時候,真是全然虛幻。(細拉)
39:6 世人行動實係幻影。他們忙亂,真是枉然;積蓄財寶,不知將來有誰收取。

詩篇144篇4節
144:4 人好像一口氣;他的年日如同影兒快快過去。

箴言27篇1節
27:1 不要為明日自誇,因為一日要生何事,你尚且不能知道。

傳道書1章2-4節
1:2 傳道者說:虛空的虛空,虛空的虛空,凡事都是虛空。
1:3 人一切的勞碌,就是他在日光之下的勞碌,有甚麼益處呢?
1:4 一代過去,一代又來,地卻永遠長存。

傳道書2章1-11、21節
2:1 我心裏說:「來吧,我以喜樂試試你,你好享福!」誰知,這也是虛空。
2:2 我指嬉笑說:「這是狂妄。」論喜樂說:「有何功效呢?」
2:3 我心裏察究,如何用酒使我肉體舒暢,我心卻仍以智慧引導我;又如何持住愚昧,等我看明世人,在天下一生當行何事為美。
2:4 我為自己動大工程,建造房屋,栽種葡萄園,
2:5 修造園囿,在其中栽種各樣果木樹;
2:6 挖造水池,用以澆灌嫩小的樹木。
2:7 我買了僕婢,也有生在家中的僕婢;又有許多牛群羊群,勝過以前在耶路撒冷眾人所有的。
2:8 我又為自己積蓄金銀和君王的財寶,並各省的財寶;又得唱歌的男女和世人所喜愛的物,並許多的妃嬪。
2:9 這樣,我就日見昌盛,勝過以前在耶路撒冷的眾人。我的智慧仍然存留。
2:10 凡我眼所求的,我沒有留下不給它的;我心所樂的,我沒有禁止不享受的;因我的心為我一切所勞碌的快樂,這就是我從勞碌中所得的分。
2:11 後來,我察看我手所經營的一切事和我勞碌所成的功。誰知都是虛空,都是捕風;在日光之下毫無益處。

傳道書2章 21節
2:21 因為有人用智慧、知識、靈巧所勞碌得來的,卻要留給未曾勞碌的人為分。這也是虛空,也是大患。


BUT WHAT ABOUT THE 16TH SECOND?

By Robert J. Tamasy

Recently I watched a video of a high school valedictorian’s graduation speech to his class. He talked about the elation he felt when, after years of hard work and personal sacrifice, he had achieved his goal of being named valedictorian, the number one-ranked student in his class.

But then he made a sobering observation: That feeling of euphoria lasted “about 15 seconds.” He said he had expected to feel much more – fireworks maybe, or much more excitement. But no. When the reality of receiving the academic honor had settled in, he felt “nothing.” As quickly as the surge of emotion came, the feelings subsided. Within about 15 seconds.

So he cautioned his fellow students to set goals and dreams, but keep them in perspective. He warned, “Have no regrets in the 16th second.” What the scholar said was reminiscent of the haunting Peggy Lee song of years ago, “It That All There Is?” We can pour our time, talent and energy into accomplishing a certain objective, only to find that after it has been achieved, it is not as fulfilling as we had imagined.

For most, if not all, of us, high school is a distant memory. As is college, if we attended. Instead, you are probably in the midst of a career and you set goals, both professional and personal – some for that day, others for the week, this year, for your entire career. “When I achieve that (whatever it is), then I will be happy,” we reason. We forgo other priorities in our lives – relationships, health and fitness, the ability to enjoy and appreciate the moment. Because our goals and objectives are all that matter.

Then, as the valedictorian noted, we hit the target. We reach our goal. And for about 15 seconds, we revel in euphoria, the overwhelming satisfaction of accomplishment. But then comes the 16th second, and we find ourselves wondering, “That’s it? Is that all there is?”

So we would be wise to heed the advice of the stellar student: “Have no regrets in the 16th second.” This is not a 21st century problem. It is one that existed thousands of years ago, as we learn in studying the Bible. We find different words, but the same message – do not focus on the wrong things.

Why strive for the temporary when we can gain the eternal? What do you have today, what are you working for, that you can take with you when you die? “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves can break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

Concentrate on those things that will endure. A wise person once said, “When all is said and done, only two things will last: the Word of God, and people.” If that is true, it is unwise to devote ourselves to other things, at the expense of a growing relationship with God, as well as relationships with people we love. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8)

Realize this temporal life will soon be over. The Scriptures talk about our earthly lives as “a vapor” (James 4:14). All too quickly, they are gone. But then we confront eternity – what will happen then? “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).

© 2020. Robert J. Tamasy has written numerous books, including Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies;The Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard; and has edited other books. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. Have you ever dedicated huge amounts of time and energy toward achieving a specific goal, only to discover the happiness of accomplishing it fades quickly – as the high school valedictorian discovered? What was that experience like for you?
  2. Why do you think “the thrill of victory” can be so fleeting, often being replaced with feelings of discouragement or emptiness?
  3. What are some of the consequences – negative results – of becoming totally immersed in a challenging goal or objective, beyond discovering that the sense of satisfaction can fade surprisingly quickly?
  4. What in your view, does it mean to maintain an eternal perspective in all we do, both professionally and personally, rather than an earthly or temporal perspective? How would you evaluate yourself in this regard?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:

Job 7:7; Psalm 39:4-6, 144:4; Proverbs 27:1; Ecclesiastes 1:2-4, 2:1-11,21

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