I hate it when people tell you, “This will change your life forever.” Because it doesn’t. Or, looking it from the other side of things, every experience changes your life a little (if I go to class today my life is different than if I’d skipped). People say this about all kinds of things: books, movies, trips to other countries, experiences they think you should have. What they really mean is that whatever it is will have a stronger impact on you than most other things in life do. Or, more cynically, this book/movie/experience gave them insight into something in their life, so how can it not have an impact on your life?
First of all, it raises expectations too high. Insisting something’s great could possibly have a psychological impact – maybe if you say it enough everyone else will convince themselves it’s great too. But this doesn’t always happen. How many times have you read a book recommended by someone, and been disappointed? Or what if it was actually good, but not life-changing? Then calling it “good” hardly seems good in comparison to what it was supposed to be.
Now, unfortunately, the phrase “this will change your life,” make me react with cynicism. “Yeah, probably about as much as the last life-changing experience did.” Huge changes in my life would be: finding a career, moving to a different city, getting married, having kids, having a natural disaster hit suddenly, etc. None of which can be predicted by anyone else. Who do you think you are, predicting something will change my life? A fortune-teller? A prophet?
Like so many phrases in the English language, I can keep twisting these annoying words to mean ridiculous things, but that’s not the point. I know people usually mean well when they say them (unless they’re trying to sell you something). They really want you to be as excited over this thing as they are. I just want to point out that just because I can see your excitement and want to share your excitement, doesn’t mean I will. Sometimes the gap between two different people’s experiences is just too far to close.
What do you think? Have you been told something would be life-changing, and was it actually?
The Life-Changing Internet:
Ten Books That Will (Apparently) Change Your Life
Eating Raw Food Will (Apparently) Change Your Life