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In this episode of Aussie English I play things by ear when explaining the expression “To Play By Ear” which means “to wing something”, “to improvise” or “to make it up as you go along”, etc.
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About the AuthorI learn languages, teach Australian English, and love all things science and nature!
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By pete — 2 years ago
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Ep071: Expression – To Be Up Shit Creek [Without A Paddle]
So, in today’s episode I want to run you guys through an expression and this expression is an expression that I use quite a bit in English, and the expression is “To Be Up Shit Creek”, “To Be Up Shit Creek”.
So, what does “To Be Up Shit Creek” mean? “To Be Up Shit Creek” means to be in deep trouble. So, to be in deep trouble with no solution, to be in a difficult situation. It means these sorts of things. Ah… I’ll run you through the different words in this phrase first before sort of talking about how and when I would use this kind of expression.
So, I’ll do it backwards. So, I’ll run through the “Creek” first. “A Creek” is a stream or a minor tributary of a river. So, it’s a small flow of water. It’s…. a river tends to be pretty big, a stream is slightly smaller, and then a creek is a very very very small um… river, a very very small river. A creek is the kind of um… flow of water, or river, or stream that you could probably jump across.
So, “Shit”. “Shit” is a rude slang term for poo, for feces, for crap. If you go to the toilet you either do a piss or a shit if you want to be rude and say those two variants, or you pee and poo. So, that’s what “Shit” means. I’m sure you’ll all know the rude word “Shit”.
“To be up”, “To be up”. Literally up obviously means the direction of above, “Up” as opposed to… to be down. In terms of a river, a stream or a creek, if you are “Up” a creek, or a stream or up a river, it means that you’re away from the end of the river, stream or creek. So, you’re near [nearer*] where it starts. You’re up along the river, the stream or the creek.
So, “To be up shit creek” literally in my head when I say this is makes me think of someone in a boat, a small boat or a canoe, paddling up a creek, up away from where the creek ends, and in this case a “Shit creek” is not a creek of water but a creek of shit. So, imagine you have like a um… a sewage plant somewhere that takes all of the human waste and sewage and it explodes and you have a… a tiny little creek or river of all of the… all of the effluent, all of the um… the shit coming out of that plant, you could imagine that that turns into a creek of shit or a shit creek. So, that’s what conjures up… that’s the image that conjures up in my head when I use this expression. If I’m up shit creek I imagine myself being in a canoe on a creek of shit and it just means that I know that I’m in a lot of trouble. So, if you were in… if you were literally in a canoe on a creek of shit you can’t really fall in, you don’t want to jump out, you just… you don’t want to be in the shit. So, you’re in trouble.
An interesting thing to add with regards to this expression too is that you’ll often hear it paired with, “up shit creek + without a paddle”, “Up shit creek without a paddle”. Um… so, without a paddle, a paddle is the thing that you use in order to… in order to paddle, paddle’s also a verb. So, it’s like an oar, an oar that you would use to row if you were in a… what would you be in? In a rowing boat or in um… yeah in a rowing boat I guess. So, if you were paddling, you’re using… it’s more the double… double handed paddle, and if you don’t have the paddle obviously you can’t control the canoe. So, if you’re up shit creek without a paddle it’s added in there to suggest that it’s um… intensified in difficulty, or the situation is even worse than if you were just up shit creek with a paddle. Now you’re up shit creek without a paddle.
And there’s an Australian variant that I wanted to um… add for you guys, to mention, that I found online that was pretty funny. And I hadn’t heard this, but it is definitely the kind of thing that Australians would say. And that is, “To be up shit creek in a barbed-wire canoe with a rusty spoon for a paddle”. So, that probably conjures up a pretty funny image in your head. I’ll repeat it again. “To be up shit creek in a barbed-wire canoe with a rusty teaspoon for a paddle”. So, first and foremost you’re up shit creek, then you’re in a canoe that’s made of barbed-wire, and if you know what barbed-wire is, it’s the wire along fences on farms that have little spikes. So, they’re little barbs. The wire is barbed, and it has spikes. Imagine a canoe made from that wire. So, obviously water’s going to get it. It’s going to be unpleasant to sit in. So, you’re in a barbed-wire canoe and then instead of a normal paddle you have a spoon that’s rusty. So, it could almost be falling apart, and that’s what you have to use as a paddle in shit creek in a barbed-wire canoe. So, I found that pretty funny. That’s a… that’s a fairly typical example of applying hyperbole to freshen up a… an expression. So, you sort of exaggerate and make it a little more funny and yeah, it just sort of turns it into a story.
One question that I know you guys will probably ask is, “How offensive is this kind of expression, “To be up shit creek”?”. You’re not really calling anyone a name in this example. So, you’re swearing, which… which does elevate the offensiveness of this expression but because you’re not really calling anyone a name, you’re not swearing at someone, you’re kind of swearing with regards to a situation, it’s not really… I wouldn’t claim that it is that rude, at least, people aren’t going to get offended if you use this in front of them. But I’ll clarify. Because you are using a swear word I would not use this in formal situations. This is the kind of phrase that I would say with friends, um… with certain family members, some family members you just may not want to say the word “Shit” in front of, but if you can say the word “Shit” in front of a person then you can use this phrase obviously. So, that’s one thing to consider. I wouldn’t use it in formal situations at work, in an interview, in any of those sorts of things, but if I was out having a drink with my friends at a pub, at a bar, whatever it is, then I would definitely use this kind of language.
Alright. So, let’s give you guys some scenarios, some situations where you might want to use this kind of expression.
The first one is, say, that you are the best man at a wedding, and the best man is the sort of… the friend of the groom, the guy who’s getting married, who’s sort of in charge and has to sort of lead the wedding. So, give a speech, do all of that sort of… that sort of stuff to help the groom on his day while he’s getting, you know, ready to get married. So, say you’re the best man and you’ve got to give a speech but you forget to write the speech. So, you forgot to write the speech and the day of the wedding comes and the… the groom says to you, ah… “How’s the speech going? Are you ready?” and you say, “Oh crap… I’m up shit[‘s] creek. I’m up shit creek. I’ve totally forgotten to right the speech”. So, that’s an example where you could say, “I’m up shit creek. What am I going to do?” You’re in a bad situation.
Another example could be that you have a… you have an assignment that’s due today at university and you’ve forgotten to write it because you’ve been partying all week. So, you kept sort of postponing it, “Oh… I’ll do it tomorrow, I’ll do it tomorrow”, but instead tomorrow never came and all of a sudden the… the ah… assignment is due today, ah… then you’re definitely up shit creek.
Ah… one more example could be that you and your girlfriend have your yearly anniversary today and you’ve forgotten to go home after work to spend the night in with her doing something romantic, maybe you’re going to have dinner, maybe you’re going to watch a movie, maybe you’ll even go out see a movie or go to a restaurant. And instead you’ve gone to the pub with your mates and you’re having a drink, um… when you get home you are definitely going to be up shit creek, and probably without a paddle. So, that is definitely a situation where when you get home your girlfriend or wife is going to be incredibly angry that you’ve forgotten the anniversary, and so you are going to be up shit creek.
One more example, and this is probably where you would add that hyperbole and really use that sort of expression of up shit creek in a barbed-wire canoe with a rusty spoon for a paddle. It’s sort of when there’s like multiple events that have happened that have really lead you into a lot of trouble. So, an example here could be you’re driving home late at night. It’s the middle of the night. You’re in the middle of nowhere and you get a flat tire. So, you pull your car over to the side of the road and you realise as you get out to change the flat tire that you actually had a flat tire the week before, but you forgot to get a replacement tire. So, you took the flat tire off the car, put it in the back, switched the tires around, drove off. That happened last week. This week you’ve gotten a flat tire again just by chance, but the spare tire, the replacement tire that you have in the back is flat. It’s got a whole in it because you didn’t replace it. So, that’s problem number 1. As you get out of the car it starts to piss down, and “To piss down”, “To piss down”, means to rain really heavily. So, “To piss down raining”. So, that’s problem number 2. Problem number 3. You pull your phone out to call for help, to call your wife, to call the RACV [Royal Automobile Club of Victoria], um… we call [them] in Victoria. So, they’re the um… they’re who you would call to come and pick you up and help repair your car. And you realise your phone’s battery just went flat. So, this is definitely an example where you could say you’re “Up shit creek in a barbed-wire canoe with a rusty spoon for a paddle.” “Up shit creek in a barbed-wire canoe with a rusty spoon for a paddle.”
So, that’s probably long enough for this one today guys. I might do a quick listen and repeat exercise here at the end so that you can practice your pronunciation, but I hope that it’s given you some insight into how we would use this… this kind of funny expression. It’s definitely the kind of thing that if you as a… a foreigner, you speaking English as a foreign English to you, if you use this with me it would really make me laugh, you know. As an Australian who uses this kind of phrase, if you were to say, you know, you got in trouble, one of these kinds of situations happened, and then you said to me, a native English speaker, “Oh man and I was totally up shit[‘s] creek” or “Up shit creek”, I would definitely laugh and be like, “Oh this is so cool. It’s so funny that you know that expression”. And yeah, I might also add that it can be said sometime where you’ll say “Shit’s creek” instead of “Shit creek”, and I think I did that two or three times in this… in this um… episode, and that’s where you’ve just made “the creek” possessed by “Shit”. So, it’s “Shit’s creek” instead of “Shit creek”. It can be either.
So, listen and repeat after me guys.
Up shit creek x 5
Without a paddle x 5
Up shit creek without a paddle x 5
So, that’s it for today guys. Hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and I’ll chat to you soon. All the best!
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By Admin — 3 months ago
AE 506 – Expression: Out of the Blue
A male surfer’s been killed in a shark attack near Wedge Island north of Perth. The attack happened just after 9 O’clock local time. Joining us now for more on the story is Sky News Perth reporter Michael Hopkins. Mike, what do we know at this stage?
Yes, hello. Well, what we know at this stage is that police have confirmed that it was, indeed, a fatal shark attack at Wedge Island, a holiday spot to Perth’s north at 9 O’clock this morning. Now, police are still searching the area with boats and also with quad bikes on the beach in a bid to find the surfer’s remains.
What is up, guys? What is up, you mob? How are you going? This is the first episode where you guys get to hear from ‘married Pete’.
So, how’s it going? Sorry, it’s been a little while with these expression episodes. I hope, as well, that you’ve got to check out the marriage and wedding episode that I published recently on the podcast and on YouTube. So, go and check that out if you haven’t and if you want to hear about all of what happened last weekend with Kel and me getting married. It was an amazing day. Anyway.
So, the video from the start there, guys, the video from the start was from Sky News, which you can check out at SkyNews.com.au. You can also check them out on YouTube and Sky News if you would like to watch stories about Australia and other parts of the world.
So, that was about a shark attack that occurred in Australia, and Australia is relatively well-known for having shark attacks relatively commonly, I guess. It’s up there in the most dangerous places in the world for sharks, but we will talk about that later on in the Aussie Fact as well as about some other animals that are more likely to kill you than sharks, and those animals might surprise you.
So, as usual guys, if you would like to support the podcast and you would like to get access to all the transcripts and all the MP3s for these episodes, make sure that you go to theAussieEnglishPodcast.com, go to the menu click ‘Sign Up’, and for just $4.99 per month you will get access to everything.
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Now, those deals are gone, unfortunately, for now. They are gone. However, you are still able to sign up. You just won’t save the same amount of money. Okay. So, you’ll just jump over to theAussieEnglishClassroom.com if you’re interested in that. Anyway. Enough of talking about all that stuff, guys. Get that out of the way and let’s get into the Aussie English joke.
So, today’s expression’s ‘out of the blue’ and that have me thinking about sharks. You might see the connection later on. And so, I thought I’ll try and find a shark joke. Okay. So, here’s the joke.
What did the seal with a broken arm say to the shark? What did a seal with a broken arm say did the shark?
Do not consume if ‘seal’ is broken. It’s so stupid. Do not consume if ‘seal’ is broken.
I wonder if you get that. Alright, let me explain. So, often when you go to the shops, if you buy something that’s in a jar or in some kind of packet, quite often it will say that if the seal of the jar of the seal of the packet is broken, don’t consume the food inside, because it means that air has gotten in and there may be bacteria in there and the food may have gone off, it may have gone bad. Okay. So, you’ll often see, ‘Do not consume if seal is broken’.
So, the joke here is that obviously a seal is also that animal, you know, that lives in the ocean and jumps on the land sometimes to sunbathe than have babies, but they are often hunted by sharks, and so, the seal with a broken arm says to the shark, ‘don’t consume if seal is broken’. Jesus. Anyway, guys.
Today’s expression is ‘out of the blue’ and this came from Fatimah in the Aussie English Classroom. We have the Facebook group. We vote on these expressions. Fatimah suggested this one and she crushed it, she did very well, and it got voted on by everyone. Let’s go through and define the words in ‘out of the blue’.
So, ‘out of something’, right. ‘Out of something’. If you’re out of something, it’s that you’re coming out of something, you’re exiting something, right. It’s sort of the opposite of going into something, ‘out of something’ is leaving something, from being within something. Okay. Pretty self-explanatory. I’m sure you guys know what ‘out of something’ is.
‘The blue’. Now, this might be more confusing. ‘Blue’ is obviously a colour, right. The sky is blue. The ocean is blue. My eyes are blue. What else is blue? I don’t know. Other things are blue. Anyway. In this case, though, it doesn’t refer to the colour, specifically. It’s referring to the sky, which I guess is blue. But ‘the blue’ in this case means the sky.
So, let’s define the expression ‘out of the blue’. I wonder if you guys have heard this. Something happens out of the blue, right. If it’s… just appears out of the blue. What could that mean?
‘Out of the blue’ means out of nowhere, to appear unexpectedly or surprisingly, you know. You’re not expecting that thing to happen or to appear. It is appearing out of the blue. It’s appearing out of nowhere.
So, ‘the blue’ in this case refers to the sky, the blue sky, as we said, and usually, thunderstorms with, you know, thunder and lightning, don’t tend to happen when there’s a clear blue sky. But when it does happen, it’s a surprise that no one expects, it’s unexpected, it’s surprising. And apparently an older version of this expression was ‘a bolt out of the blue’ or ‘a bolt from the blue’, which referred to a completely unexpected and surprising appearance of a thunderbolt from a clear blue sky, right, out of nowhere.
So, we can use this literally, if someone, say, appears in front of you. They appear out of nowhere. You know, it’s shocking, it’s surprising, unexpected. But we can use it to for things that people say or maybe emotions, you know, non-physical things, right. So, if someone suddenly says something or burps or yawns or, you know, does something like that where you could say, oh, that was out of the blue. You know, I got upset and it was out of the blue.
So, let’s go through some examples, guys, to try and show you how I would use this expression in my day-to-day life. Okay.
So, example number one. Imagine that you are going to the beach with your mates. You’re about to hit the beach. You want to go for a surf or a body board or a body surf or maybe just a cheeky dip in the ocean at your favourite beach, your favourite Australian beach, maybe Bondi Beach or Bell’s Beach down here where Rip Curl Pro is often held each year, the surfing competition. So, you all dive into it. You pile out of the car when you get to the beach. You put your wettie is on, or maybe you’re wearing board shorts, you put your boardies on, your grab your boards and you dive into the water to catch a first wave. The waves are about six foot. It’s incredibly clean, you know, it’s not choppy, it’s not… the water’s not rough, there’s an offshore wind as well making the waves perfect, and you and your mates are carving it up each time you catch one of these incoming waves. When all of a sudden, out of the blue, one of your mates spots a large fin pop above the surface of the water a few metres away. Now, you all panic, you all frantically start swimming to shore and fear the worst. You think, oh no, it’s going to be a shark and it’s going to ruin our awesome day. But it turns out to be a lone dolphin who wants to join your ranks to catch a wave or two itself. So, it just appeared out of the blue, unexpectedly, out of nowhere.
Example number two. You’re at home on a weekend and you plan on binge watching your favorite TV show, right. I was doing this recently watching The Walking Dead. So, you’ve got to drink out of the fridge, you know, your favorite beer, your favorite soft drink, you’ve got some chips or your favorite snack, and you’ve kicked back on the couch and you’ve put the first episode on. So, you get through most of the show, but the tension starts to build, the show starts to climax, there’s a bit of suspense, something big is about to happen in the show when all of a sudden, out of the blue, the power goes off, the TV screen goes black. You might scream out, no! I wanted to see what was going to happen. You’ll lose it, you get upset, because you can’t see what was about to happen on the show, because out of the blue, unexpectedly, surprisingly, out of nowhere, the power went out.
Example number three. You’re at home one day cleaning the house after your kids have been playing and they’ve made a bit of a mess of the place, right. They’d been mucking around with finger-paint or food or something. They’ve made a mess. So, you’re busy cleaning away, when all of a sudden, the doorbell goes or someone knocks on the door. So, you go and open it up and it turns out that it’s a long-lost friend who you haven’t seen since you were at school, you know, maybe 20 years ago. So, you might say, Wow! How did you know I was here? That’s so out of the blue. Where did you come from? I haven’t seen you in yonks. I haven’t seen you in donkey’s years. I haven’t seen you in ages. But what an awesome surprise. It’s great to see you even if it is randomly and out of the blue.
So, hopefully guys you understand the expression now ‘out of the blue’. It is for something to appear physically or figuratively out of nowhere, unexpectedly, surprisingly.
So, as usual, let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise where you guys can practice your pronunciation. You can work on your Australian accent if that is something that you are trying to master at the moment. Listen and repeat after me. Or work on the accent that you are currently targeting, you know, British, US, whatever it is, and say these words with that accent. Let’s go.
Out of the
Out of the blue x 5
It’s pretty interesting, actually. There’s quite a bit of pronunciation and connected speech modifying there when I say those words by themselves or when I say them together, right. Out, out of, out of the, out of the blue. That’s interesting.
Anyway, we’ll go over that more in the Aussie English Classroom pronunciation video for this episode, guys. Remember to sign up to that if you are interested in improving your English and improving your pronunciation. TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com. Oh! And I almost forgot, we’ll go through a sentence and now we will conjugate through, ‘I appeared out of the blue’, ‘you appeared out of the blue’. Okay, so listen and repeat after me.
I appeared out of the blue
You appeared out of the blue
He appeared out of the blue
She appeared out of the blue
We appeared out of the blue
They appeared out of the blue
It appeared out of the blue
Man, there’s a lot of t-flaps going on there. ‘It appeared out of the blue’.
Alright. Aussie English Fact for the day, guys. So, sharks. I wanted to talk about shark attacks as they tend to occur out of the blue, right, and they’re a common occurrence in Australia, at least the media would have you believe this. It tends to always be one on the on the TV every week or two, you hear about a shark attack. And then I want to talk about shark culling, okay? And this is a hot topic that pollies, politicians, are always yacking about on the telly as well.
Alright, so unsurprisingly shark attacks have been happening in Australia since the first humans arrived here nearly 50,000 or 60,000 years ago when they first surrendered to the enticing ocean waters that surrounded the continent. The earliest shark attack that was fatal that’s on record occurred in the early years of British colonisation in Port Jackson where an Aboriginal woman was swimming and she was, quote, “bitten in two” by a shark.
Between the years of 1958 and 2018, there have been 536 shark attacks in Australia, and we are number two on the list of shark attacks in the world. 73 of these shark attacks proved to be fatal to the victims. Australia comes in at number two with the US at number one with more than double the number of shark attacks at 1104. But despite this, there are actually twice as many deaths in Australia as there are in the US who recorded only 35 fatalities in the same period of time. Interesting. It seems that, statistically speaking, in Australia you have the highest chance of being attacked and killed by a shark than anywhere else in the world.
If you’re interested in taking your chances at the most dangerous beach in Australia, then I suggest heading off to Coffin Bay in South Australia whose name seems appropriate, although, there may not be enough of you left to warrant using a coffin.
Although, shark attacks often receive a lot of air time on national and state news, you’re far more likely to be killed by a bunch of other less-suspecting and cute and cuddly animals Down Under.
In 2011, Australia’s National Coronial Information System, or NCIS, released its first report into the trends and patterns surrounding animal-related deaths in Australia where they evaluated the first decade of this century from the years 2000 to 2010. The report discovered that horses, including ponies and donkeys, were Australia’s most deadly animal causing 77 deaths in a 10-year period. So, 7.7 deaths a year.
Next on the list of cute and cuddly but more likely to kill you than a shark were cows, including bulls and cattle, which accounted for 33 deaths, 16 of which, interestingly enough, were during motor vehicle accidents. So, to any cows listening, get off the bloody road!
Number three on the list was man’s best friend, dogs, who killed 27 people from attacks most of which were children under the age of four and the elderly.
And the final unsuspecting death bringer to humans on this list before sharks is the iconic and much beloved Australian kangaroo, which accounted for 18 deaths, albeit, indirectly, through motor vehicle accidents. So, again, Skippy, get off the road!
Place five and six was a tie with bees and sharks both accounting for 16 deaths in a 10-year period. So, 1.6 deaths per year. So, there you go.
Next time you’re second guessing taking a dip at Bondi Beach for fear of being devoured by the tooth-filled gnashing jaws of a shark, remember, that you’re much more likely to die from animals like horses, cows, kangaroos, dogs, and even bees than you are sharks.
So, why do sharks attack humans? Are they hunting us like the movie Jaws famously depicts? The answer is definitely no. Feeding is not the reason that sharks attack humans. In fact, humans don’t provide enough high-fat meat for sharks, which need a lot of energy to power their large muscular bodies. Sharks are just inquisitive animals and have no hands to explore the world around them and these unknown objects that they might stumble across bobbing around in the ocean. Therefore, they’re left with a jaw full of razor-sharp teeth to satiate their curiosity and explore any objects they may come across. Unfortunately, for us though, one simple exploratory nip from a large shark is usually a grievous and life-threatening injury to any human when coming from a great white, a tiger, or a bull shark, the three sharks that are the most common culprits for human fatalities.
Unfortunately, beach-loving Australians are insistent on partaking in one of their favorite pastimes, their favourite hobbies, enjoying the beaches and oceans around the country. And shark attacks often cause hysteria in the media and are quickly commandeered by politicians looking to gain favour and win votes by stirring up fear and promising easy solutions.
This is where the contentious issue of shark nets and drum lines come into play in Australia. Shark nets are often placed in the water to prevent sharks entering certain beaches, but they are criticised by environmentalists and conservationists alike who claim that these nets are extremely destructive to marine life and often harm or even kill sharks, which are an important part of a healthy marine ecosystem.
Drum lines are unmanned aquatic traps used to lure, capture, and kill large sharks using baited hooks connected to floating drums that indiscriminately kill any shark curious enough to take a bite of the bait. They’re often deployed in locations after an attack in the hopes of catching the perpetrating shark that attacked a human or at least reducing the numbers of big sharks in the area. However, like shark nets, drum lines have been heavily criticised as being ineffective, cruel, unethical, non-scientific, and environmentally destructive. One analogy I saw was if a tradie murdered one person and then disappeared, would killing five other Australian tradies at random make Australia safer?
So, finishing up, every time you decide to take a dip in the ocean you’re obviously at risk of a shark attack. True. But you’re much more likely to die from things like kangaroos and horses in car accidents than you are from a shark. So, just be safe, be smart, and if you want to bring your risk to 0%, stay out of the water. Simple as that.
Anyway, guys thank you so much. It’s always a pleasure when you guys join me and listen to these episodes. I know that they’re helping a lot of people. You get back to me, you send me emails, you send me comments on Instagram, on Facebook, and it means a lot to me, guys, and I’ll want to give you a big, big, big thank you from both me and Kel to everyone who gave us their well-wishes and congratulations after the wedding. That really meant a lot to both of us. So, thank you so much, guys, and we were so happy to be able to share that experience with you as well on Instagram and on YouTube.
So, that’s it for this week guys. I hope you enjoy the episode. I hope to see you in the Aussie English Classroom and I will chat to you very soon. See you, guys.
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By pete — 3 years ago
In this episode of Walking With Pete I chat a little bit about the importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded, positive, motivated people when it comes to pursuing what’s important to you.
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Walking With Pete: If you want to be a lion then surround yourself with other lions
G’day everyone. Welcome to this episode of Walking With Pete.[I’m] back at it again out in the park having a… a cheeky little walk in the afternoon. I’ve been listening to some of my language podcasts, and just walking around and enjoying the sun as it’s been pretty cold more recently here in Melbourne. There’s been a lot of… a lot of cold weather, and it actually snowed recently around um… Victoria at sea-level, which is a pretty rare event. I mean, it didn’t… it didn’t snow in the city but, there were some smaller towns / cities nearby like Ballarat that ah… got a little bit of a blanket of snow the other day, and Tasmania, again, down in the south has been getting covered with it. So, if you were on the Facebook page recently you may’ve seen the kangaroo sanctuary picture that I put up that had all of those kangaroos huddling together in the snow down in Tasmania, which is a bit of a rare sight. So, that was interesting.
Um… Today I was going to talk to you about a few things. One of them was, if you want to be a lion you’ve got to surround yourself with other lions. So, what does this mean? This is a term or an expression that isn’t really… it’s not really used. I mean it’s not really said like that, but this is what someone said to me once when I first started jiu-jitsu, the martial art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Someone said, you know, if you want to be a lion you’ve got to train with other lions, and I guess the basic idea is that if you want to be good at something obviously you need to surround yourself with other people who also want to be good at something, are better than you at the thing that you’re trying to be good at, and who are incredibly motivated. So, people who you can feed off. And when I say “feed off of someone” it means to sort of gain motivation from someone. So, if you feed off of someone’s motivation it means that from their motivation you yourself gain motivation. So, say, if I’m trying to lose weight. If I’m a bit overweight and I want to… I want to go outside and exercise more often it’s going to obviously be better for me to surround myself with like-minded people, other people who are motivated to be fit, to be healthy, whether they are fit and healthy already or whether they also want to lose weight and become fit and healthy. And then, because of their motivation I can feed off of that and also be motivated, and vice versa. So, they can feed off of my motivation, and we can both work hard together. As opposed to, if you surround yourself with people who don’t want what you want, who don’t have the same kind of motivation or ambition or interests that you do it’s going to be so much harder for you to try and attain the goals that you’ve set yourself, say, weight loss, in that example. If you’re trying to really concentrate on getting into shape, losing some weight and getting fit, if you surround yourself with people who are overweight and eat a lot of bad food, they stay at home, they’re not very active, you know, they don’t go outside, they don’t exercise, they have no interest in being healthy then it’s going to be a lot harder for you to follow your ambitions of losing weight and becoming healthy if you’re constantly surrounded with other people who aren’t interested in that at all. You know, it’s kind of like, if you want to learn English surround yourself with other people who want to learn English or who want to learn languages, whereas if you surround yourself with people who don’t give a… don’t give a crap about learning languages, or about you know, learning English or self-improvement, it’s going to be a lot harder for you to motivate yourself and follow your dreams. So, I guess the idea is that if you want to be a lion surround yourself with other lions. If you were to go into Africa, into the wild, into well… the bush in Africa, and you wanted to be a lion your best option is to find lions and join them. Behave like them. Live with them. If you want to be a lion then it’s a pretty stupid idea to go and find a herd of zebras and follow them around, you know, you’re going to become a zebra. So, that’s the basic idea of that.
I guess one of the second points was that don’t be afraid to be the dumbest part… the dumbest person in the room, you know, or the worst person in the room. That’s often an incredibly good sign guys. So, this is… this sort of comes back to worrying about making mistakes in English and having conversations with people who are at a higher level than you, or who are native speakers. You should really look for these opportunities and relish these opportunities. And what do I mean by “relish”? When I say “relish” I mean enjoy them, you know, really have fun with them. Be excited to be in those sorts of situations, because that is when you’re truly going to improve. You don’t… you don’t get better by surrounding yourself with people lower than you with regards to whatever it is that you are trying to improve upon. So, if I want to get better at French it’s a lot better for me to surround myself with people who speak French better than me, people who are native French speakers, than it is for me to surround myself with say, people who’ve just started French, who’re beginners, who don’t speak French at all, who don’t speak French very well, who don’t speak French as good or better than me. It’s going to be a lot better for me to be the worst person in the room than for me to be the best person in the room, at least in terms of my personal growth. So, that’s why I wanted to say that as well. I wanted to touch on the fact that it’s often… it’s hard, it’s difficult to be the worst person in the room, but if you can continually put yourself in that situation you’re going to advance a lot quicker than someone who only looks for situations where they are the best in the room, because they’re not going to be getting pushed. They’re not going to be getting um… into situations where they have to learn as much, as you would if you were the worst person in the room. And this happens exactly with me and jiu-jitsu. If I want to get good at jiu-jitsu I need to be focused less on beating people who are worse than me and focus more on not losing to people who are better than me, but trying to survive. I may not necessarily be able to beat people who are better than me, but I’m going to be able to learn a lot more from losing to better people than I’m going to be able to learn from beating worse people. So, I guess that’s the main take-away point. If you guys want to be really really good at English continually look for situations where you are the worst speaker in the room, and I… I don’t mean intentionally be bad, I mean just look for situations where you’re going to be pushed. Look… look for situations where you’re going to really have to try hard. You’re going to make a lot of mistakes. You’re surrounding yourself with people who are better than you, and you’re only option is to improve you know, you kind of give yourself no exits. You have to get better to be able to hang around with these people. And by hanging around with these people you will naturally just get better anyway. So, you can’t avoid it. So, that’s… that’s mainly today’s subject. I just wanted to sort of go over that idea of if you want to be a lion surround yourself with other lions. And I guess there’s one other point to it, which I kind of, sort of, covered previously, a moment ago, but it’s so much easier to stay on track, to stay on track, to stay motivated, to continue doing what you’re doing on a daily basis, if you only surround yourself with like-minded, motivated, positive people. So, if you have negative people in your life who lack ambition, who lack… who lack motivation, who don’t want to see you succeed, or who are going to have a toll, or take a toll, on your success, who are going to hold you back, you need to think about removing those people from your life. Maybe not permanently, but you need to try and get rid of the… those people who have a negative effect on you and are holding you back from your true potential in whatever area that is, you know, whether it’s language learning, whether it’s in the professional realm, you know, with regards to your job, whether it’s your family as well, you know. For example, say you have um… one person who always comes to family events, who turns those family events into really horrible parties, you know, they just… they always end up doing something wrong and offending a lot of people, or upsetting someone, then obviously if you want to make those events in the future better you need to think about removing that person from the equation. So, removing that person from those sort of situations, or at least talking to them and telling them, you know, “Hey, this is why we get together. This is what we want to do. We want to have fun. We want to enjoy ourselves, and by you doing these things you’re having a really negative impact on that and you need to be thinking about whether or not it’s fair on everyone else, and if you’re going to behave like that in the future you shouldn’t come to the parties”. So, with regards to language learning, if… if someone’s holding you back, or making fun of you, or… you know, just having a negative effect overall with regards to your English learning, or language learning, whatever language you’re learning, you need to think about trying to remove them from your life to some degree at least so that you can follow your ambitions, follow your motivations and be more successful. You know, maybe it doesn’t mean removing them completely, but maybe it means spending less time with those sorts of people, you know, if you see them all the time, if they’re a negative influence, you probably want to try and reduce the amount of time you spend with them so that you can pursue your… your dreams. What you’re interested in, and do as best as you possibly can. So, try and find like-minded, similarly interested, motivated people to surround yourself with, and in turn they’re going to keep motivated. They’re going to keep you motivated. You’re going to keep them motivated, and you’ll feed off one another. You know, you’ll both head towards success at a faster rate than if you were both trying to do so on your own, or on your own and worse, surrounded by negative people. So, that’s today’s thing anyway guys.
Um… I’m going to try and go home now and smash out a few more episodes of the pronunciation and some expressions. I’ve dropped quite a few expressions in this… in this podcast, Walking With Pete. So, more recently I’ve been trying to record the Walking With Pete episodes first and then as I write the transcript out in these episodes I actually see the expressions and idioms that I used naturally without even thinking about it, because I make these episodes with no script, I just talk, and that’s probably why you hear a lot of um’s and ah’s and half finished sentences a lot of the time, especially if you read the transcripts of these episodes, um… you probably see a lot of half-finished sentences. But I hope you like that format because I feel like it hits home a little more if I use these expressions and idioms that I use naturally, for one, you know that I use them naturally, and I’m not thinking about it I just say them, and two, you’ve heard them previously. So, when I make a specific episode on these expressions and idioms you can then listen to these older episodes of Walking With Pete and you’ll hear the same ones again. And you can hear me use them in a natural setting, in a natural context without thinking about it.
So, anyway, this episode’s probably gone long enough today. I hope you guys are all well. I hope your English is kicking arse. I hope you’re improving and listening and… and just enjoying the process. If you have any questions, any queries, anything you want me to cover in the future, you know, if it’s expressions, words, pronunciation related um… things. If you have any… any topics that you’d just like me to talk about feel free please to contact me whether it’s on Facebook or whether it’s on the webpage. Send me a message. Send me a comment publicly. [It’s] totally up to you guys but I love interacting with you, I love talking to you. So, even if you just want to say hello please feel free to. I’m always available to chat to you guys. So, anyway. I’ll leave it there and I’ll chat to you next time guys. All the best!
A blanket of – A thin layer of
To feed off of someone/something – to be nourished, sustained, or fueled by something.
To get into shape – to get fit.
To [not] give a crap about something – To [not] care or worry about something.
To touch on something – To mention or talk about something.
A take-away point – The main or primary point.
To give no exits – To give no means of escape.
To stay on track – To continue doing what you’re doing.
Like-minded – Of the same opinion or view.
To hold someone back [from something] – To prevent someone from doing what they want to do.
To remove someone from the equation – To remove someone from the situation.
To hit home – To really make sense; to be completely understood and have strong effect.
To kick arse – To do very well.
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