Posted by: brandextenders | June 5, 2018

The Yin & Yang of YOLO

My youngest son, Max, recently mentioned he was going to audition for “Shark Tank” at open auditions they held in Atlanta. Max is a true entrepreneur who owns his own landscaping company and has some sound business ideas, one of which he wanted to pitch to the sharks. He said, “You know dad, YOLO.” YOLO? Now, I can tell you what FAQ, ROI, IMHO, LOL and WTF all mean. But YOLO joined the list of TYT, HTH, YAM and YMMD whose meanings eluded me (you can google them if you too are as perplexed as I was) until I wrote this blog.

A Canadian rapper (is that an oxymoron?) named Drake had a hit song in 2011 called “The Motto” in which he says, between many other fairly nasty lyrics, you only live once. The saying caught on with millennials and others via social media and conveys the idea you should take risks or do something you might not otherwise do because hey, we only have one shot at this life.

Zac Efon

Did Zac Efron mean Yoda?

The actor, Zac Efron, who has starred in such classics as, “Dirty Grandpa”, “RobotChicken” and “Neighbors” thinks so much of the acronym he had it tattooed on the side of his hand. YOLO has become for the millennials what carpe diem was to my generation; seize the day because you only live once. Unless of course, you’re James Bond who apparently lived twice based on the 1967 movie, “You Only Live Twice.”

Take note though, there is a yin and yang of YOLO or, if you will, a light side and a dark side of the saying. One the one hand, it means to put it all out there, take risks and do things you might not otherwise do because our time on this plane of existence is limited. That doesn’t mean do stupid stuff, like the semi-imbecilic guys who starred in the Jackass TV series and follow-up movies. Take premeditated risks so even if you fail it won’t kill you.

The other take on the saying though is don’t do anything risky because, hey, you only live once and you want to be safe and sound. As Robyn Dexter, campus editor of the Eastern Illinois University’s Daily Eastern News pointed out to her fellow students in 2012. “There’s nothing wrong with taking risks in life and trying new things. I’m totally for that. But there’s a fine line between living your life to the fullest and making spur-of-the-moment, completely irrational decisions.” Back to stupid.

There is a happy medium where you take calculated risks and seek to achieve a goal that, if successful, can take you to the next level in your life. And while the term has faded from our lexicon almost as fast as fidget spinners, it’s still a good way to view life. Our time on earth is short so don’t sit on your haunches lamenting what you don’t have, take the bull by the horns (figuratively of course) and create a life worthy of a Zac Efron movie. Personally, I still prefer carpe diem because it’s Latin and makes me sound smart.



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