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  • Writer's pictureLeslie Nydick

Your Later Is Not My Later

A student from more than a decade ago recently told me how an assigned task continues to have a profound impact on her.

She remembered my asking the students: what does ‘I’ll be a little late’ mean to you? The responses ranged from 5 minutes to more than an hour. She was in shock and voiced that loudly.

Initially, she couldn’t understand how anyone could think ‘a little late’ could be more than 5 minutes. Then, she started to listen to the others explain their thinking. That is when she realized words can be interpreted differently by each individual.

Our perceptions of a word are unique because it is based on our backgrounds, our experiences, our personal feelings and more.

The next time you say words [such as: a little late, arrive early, see you soon, etc.], remember how you define the word is probably not the way I define the word.



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