“I notice that you got it. You notice that I want it. Know that I can take it to the next level baby.”
Yes, I feel dirty for quoting a Nicki Minaj song, just for the record.
How many times have you sat in a meeting and listened to someone providing a “motivational speech” about how the team or the company needs to take its performance to the “next level?” Been in a relationship and pondered when and how to have the discussion about taking the relationship to the “next level?” Watched a sports game and listened to the announcers talk about how a player has taken his game to the “next level?”
Life is not a Dungeons and Dragons game. You don’t get to level up when you get so many experience points or slay so many demons. You don’t suddenly get a new superpower when you add points to your charisma, strength, or intelligence.
The term “next level” is a platitude.
People use the term “next level” because they have no idea what they’re trying to improve.
Think about the times you’ve used that term in your life. How many times, when you used it, did you have a clear, concrete idea about what the “next level” actually looked like? Probably, the answer is close to zero.
I posit that close to 100% of the time, when someone uses the term “next level,” he’s waving it about as a platitude in the same way that the weatherman waves his hands up and down on the TV screen to show a specific area. There’s no “next level” roadmap or “next level” infographic that shows you how to get there or how to know you’ve arrived.
Instead, the “next level” is lexicon for “I have no idea where I’m going and I’ll have no idea when I get there.”
It’s the hand-waving verbal version of Three Card Monte, except that neither the person who invokes the phrase nor the person who hears the phrase “next level” has any idea where the ball is actually hidden.
Why do people use the term “next level?”