English 中文网 漫画网 爱新闻iNews 翻译论坛
当前位置: Language Tips > Zhang Xin

Another false start?

[ 2011-08-02 16:08]     字号 [] [] []  
免费订阅30天China Daily双语新闻手机报:移动用户编辑短信CD至106580009009

Another false start?

Reader question:

Please explain “false start”, as in this sentence: “I’m writing the last month off as another false start.”

My comments:

In other words, the “I” in that sentence did not achieve what he set out to achieve “last month”. He therefore wants to write that month off, hopefully to start anew this month.

“False start” is a term borrowed from the sports meet. In the 100-meter dash, for instance, the umpire at the start of a race has players lined neatly up behind the starting line. That’s when he announces “On your marks!” Then he says, “Get set” (meaning Get ready), and he then shoots a toy gun – the sound of the gunshot being the signal for the players to get up and run.

Sometimes, however, one or more players will dash out before hearing the shot – in other words, they will have “jumped the gun”. This is a violation, or illegal. A second such violation will see the player expelled from the race.

Anyways, whenever a “jumped gun” situation occurs, the field or the players will be called back to start again.

Hence, the nullified attempt is called a false start.

The false start is a start, no doubt, sort of, but it is in vain. It is false, as against true.

In the top example, when “I” want to write last month off as another false start, it means that person considers last month a total failure in terms of achieving or rather not achieving his goals. Not a total failure perhaps – there must have been some good done – but considered as a whole, that month’s time was considered a waste.

Time to start anew again, starting this month, tonight, or may be Wednesday. Or Friday may be the good news day.

Any day, in fact, is a good day, so long as real lessons have been learned from the past.

Otherwise, that person risks repeating last month’s errors and come September, will be moaning again and writing August off as another false start.

We wish it would not be the case, though. We wish him good luck and hope that the month of August, this very month, will be a fruitful one, as fruitful as the month of August is for nature at large in the northern hemisphere, i.e. a harbinger of bumper harvests in September and October henceforth.

Anyways, here are real examples of “false start” in the news:

1. In this season of Tiger’s discontent Friday’s supposed breakthrough turned into just another false start.

At times this year, Tiger Woods has looked as if he’s about to round into form. Friday’s round, when he made seven birdies in his final 11 holes, was one of those times.

Come Saturday, though, all the old symptoms returned. Woods struck the ball reasonably well, but his short game and especially his putting, were woeful.

“I hit the ball well all day,” said Woods who ended up shooting 74. He’s seven back of Rory McIlroy, tied for ninth.

“That wasn’t the problem. I just made nothing. You take away the two three-putts there, the two unforced errors there and then make a few, it should have been a pretty good round.”

Though he says he can still win, not many people are buying it. Even he, in fact, sounds like he is having trouble actually saying the words.

“I’m going to have to put together a good front nine and see what happens,” he said.

- Tiger victim of another false start, WinnipegSun.com, April 9, 2011.

2. THE world is used to big Indian firms planting flags in foreign fields. Now the subcontinent’s medium-sized firms are venturing abroad, too, and often proving quicker and nimbler than their peers in other emerging economies.

Take the Godrej Group, a family-controlled conglomerate based in Mumbai. The firm began as a lockmaker in 1897. While the Indian economy was closed it could not expand abroad much, so it diversified wildly: into soap, typewriters, forklift trucks, animal feed and talcum powder. When India opened up in the 1990s, it had to become less jumbled and to shape up, says Adi Godrej, the chairman. “We put our thinking caps on.”

After a false start experimenting with joint ventures with foreign firms, the group has settled on having clearly defined divisions, typically fully controlled. Together they have sales of $3.3 billion, with the largest being Godrej Consumer Products, a sort of mini-Unilever that cranks out soap, detergent, hair products and weapons for waging war on creepy-crawlies. This unit has led the foray overseas, with deals in Nigeria, Indonesia, Argentina, Britain and South Africa since late 2005. It has spent about $1 billion, says Mr Godrej, and now makes about a third of its sales outside India. In June it announced the acquisition of Darling Group, which sells hair extensions in 14 countries in Africa.

- Godrej, an Indian conglomerate, goes global its own way, The Economist, July 30, 2011.

3. The Share Guide: Napoleon Hill, the author of Think and Grow Rich, was like a grandfather to the human potential movement. His motto was: “Whatever your mind can conceive and believe you can achieve.” What are your thoughts on that?

Brian: It’s absolutely true, as long as you take the next step. If you look at Napoleon Hill’s teachings, they are very rigorous. It requires that you have organized plans of action, that you have specialized knowledge, that you have a positive personality, that you take an enormous amount of time to get along well with everybody in your world, and that you have a burning desire, definite goals, use your time well, and so forth. Napoleon Hill doesn’t say that it’s quick and easy. You can conceive it and believe it, but he said that’s just a starting point. But here’s an interesting point that holds people back: Most of the things you try won’t work. They turn out to be partial failures or total failures. You’ll embark on something and you’ll visualize it and you’ll write it down, you’ll set it as a goal, you’ll make a plan, and it won’t work. And you’ll end up with nothing. And what people don’t realize is that life is a series of false starts. Nobody just goes onward and upward with no failures. What you’ve got to do is pull yourself back every single time that you miss the target. Ask yourself “What did I learn from that,” and then clearly isolate the lesson and then take the next step.

The Share Guide: So we have to keep on going and not quit.

Brian: Right! One of the things that I teach over and over is that there is a great power in the universe that wants you to succeed. And this great power realizes that the only way you can succeed is if you learn critical lessons on the way through life. If you want to get an advanced degree in success and happiness, you are going to take a lot of courses, you’re going to have to make a lot of mistakes, and you’re going to have to pass a lot of tests. Now the good news is that every single test you take, every single setback or difficulty, you gain a lesson. So instead of becoming upset about what happened, you simply focus on the lesson, and the potential gain. And the very seeking of the lesson makes you more positive and focused person. One of Napoleon Hill’s key principles is that in every problem or setback, there is the seed of an equal or greater benefit or advantage. So what you do is you take your situation in life today, and look at it this way. As a friend of mine said, “If life is a school, what courses are you taking today? And what lessons do you need to learn to get to the next level?” As Galileo said, “We cannot teach a person anything that they do not know, we can only bring what they do know to a higher level of awareness.” In other words, if you have experiences and you do not reflect on them to determine what you have learned, you will not gain from the experiences. You will repeat the same mistakes. The great power in the universe also knows that the only way that you will learn is if it hurts. If it doesn’t hurt, you won’t learn.

- An Interview with Brian Tracy on Self-Actualization, ShareGuide.com, August 2, 2004.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


Make the cut?

Rocket science

Brick wall?

Hand to mouth?

(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑陈丹妮)