Go for your life

February 1, 2011

Connection, Experience

When I was living in Sydney a few years ago, I met a girl at a party who was on holiday from Germany. In the course of conversation about life and travel, she said this to me. Go for your life. The unexpected turn-of-phrase has stuck with me ever since.

It can be enlightening to talk to people who are just learning English. Often they say things in oddly clear, discrete terms. When you don’t know a lot of the subtle, nuanced words for an emotion or feeling, you just say the obvious one. “That makes me happy.” “I feel angry.” “I hate him.”

It can be shocking and it can be such a relief. How refreshing for someone to just say what they mean and not use a bunch of schmoozy, politically-correct language while you try to suss out the real meaning.  It creates a connection. It also forces you to fully engage as the listener. After you are shocked to hear the words, “I hate him,” you must translate it into, “He criticized my idea in the meeting and made me feel incompetent.”

Go for your life means, “You have one life – go for it!” What a memorable and actionable message.

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