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What Does It Mean to Have Lots of "Get up and Go"?

By Cynde Gregory
Updated May 17, 2024
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The idiomatic expression "get up and go" might lead one to imagine it’s what a sensible person does when someone is screaming at him or her in public. In fact, nothing could be further than the truth. "Get up and go" is something a person has, not something he or she does. This shouldn’t be a surprise as English speakers know only too well that idiomatic expressions very rarely actually mean what they seem to be saying. In fact, someone with a lot of get up and go is brimming with enthusiasm and energy and can’t wait to get out there and tackle a project.

Nothing feels better than waking up filled with get up and go. Those on the receiving end, however, might feel differently as it can be difficult to keep up with too much of it. By the time a normal person has gotten up and had a cup of a coffee, a piece of toast, and is ready to get gone, there’s a good chance the buddy bounded out the door ages ago. People with a lot of get up and go don’t like to be held back or told to wait, and so they don’t stick around long enough to be told.

Although keeping up with such energy is nigh impossible, it is a positive characteristic in a mate or an employee. Knowing such an energetic person is sallying forth to accomplish an assignment in record time means more can get done in the day. The problem is that people who are characterized as having a lot of get up and go rarely want to share it with others.

In its subtext, the expression suggests an independent streak. Someone with get up and go doesn’t want someone else telling him or her what to do. These are generally the kind of people who dance to their own drummers, beat their own paths, and chart their own destinies.

For those who don’t like being led around by the nose, it’s best to avoid folks with an overabundance of get up and go. There are really only two things to do when their enthusiasm gets on your nerves. The best way to get along with such a person is get cracking, too, and try to gather enough steam to get things moving in the right direction. If that doesn’t work, sitting down for an air-clearing conversation in which it is explained that so much energy is sucking the air out of everyone else might be enough to slow things down, but probably not.

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