“Mind Over Matter,” “Relationship Chicken,” & “Not Even Close”


Yana from Russia wants to know the meaning of the phrase “mind over matter.”

Mind over matter refers to the ability to use the power of our thinking, or of our brain, to overcome (succeed in dealing with) some difficulty related to our body or the physical world in general.  We often use mind as a synonym for “brain,” “thoughts,” and other things related to thinking.  For example, when we want to ask what someone else is thinking, we can ask:  “What’s on your mind?”

Matter is anything that has a physical form or shape.  In science, for example, astronomers (scientists who study space) may talk about studying matter in outer space, the area away from the Earth and its atmosphere.

We can use “mind over matter” in many situations.  For example:

Jeff:  “How can you resist eating that cake?  It’s your favorite kind.”
Lucy:  “Don’t worry.  For me, it’s simply mind over matter.”

Lucy:  “You’re too sick to be at work today.”
Jeff:  “It’s a case of mind over matter.  If I believe and behave like I’m well, then I’ll get well more quickly.”


Parham from Canada asks: “What does ‘relationship chicken’ mean?”

In this situation, chicken refers to someone who is a coward, someone who is not brave, someone who does not have courage to do something, or someone who behaves in this way.  A relationship chicken, then, is someone who is afraid of being in a romantic relationship.

You can call someone a “chicken” for any perceived (what you see as) fear or weakness.  For example:

Used as an adjective:
A: “Let’s not go to school today and go the beach instead.”
B: “I don’t think that’s such a good idea.”
A: “Why not? Are you chicken?”

Used as a noun:
A: “Here’s my new pet snake.  Do you want to hold it?
B: “No way!  I’m a chicken when it comes to snakes.”


Robert from Czech Republic asks: “What does ‘not even close’ mean?”

Not even close
means not nearly, far from the answer, or far from the truth.  Here are a few of examples of how this can be used:

Lucy: “Are you done recording this week’s podcasts?”
Jeff:  “Not even close.  I haven’t even finished the first one!”

Lucy: “Jeff, you’re so smart. You must read 10 books a week!”
Jeff:  “Not even close.  I only read five books a day!”

Lucy: “Try to guess how old I am.”
Jeff: “You’re 60.”
Lucy: “You’re not even close.  I’m 29…still!”

Thanks, to all, for the questions.  I hope this is helpful.

~ Lucy

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16 Responses to “Mind Over Matter,” “Relationship Chicken,” & “Not Even Close”

  1. gregorex says:

    I’ve just finished watching Die Hard 4.0 and I must tell that it really was mind over matter 🙂 John McClane definitely wasn’t a chicken. And of course there was the sentence “Not even close”. Nice movie but for me slightly too exaggerated.

    Again Lucy have it completely covered 😉

    PS. There is strong family resemblance between John and Jeff. Actually I think he is his long lost brother 😉

  2. Tania says:

    Hi ! I am not a chicken when it comes to my health . So I have vaccinated of swine flu . I am not afraid of the Romanian vaccine .
    I am feeling quite well .


  3. Tania says:

    Hi ! Dear Emiliano, I have problems with my computer . I cannot connect the Flickr to see the pictures .
    I did not forget you .


  4. Elena says:

    Thank you very much for your work!
    Lucy and Jeff, you are the best!
    Perfect sense of humor.

  5. emiliano says:

    Hi Tania, go to google and afterward to Wikipedia, once there you may read all about Flickr and the way of being member of the website.
    I think that you need to be registered and have a free account where you may put your photos and could see the friend´s photos too.
    It´s possible that Flickr works through Yahoo? and may need a mail account with them first?…..I don´t remember now as there is a long time that I have done it. Or may be my daughter did it to me three or four years ago……?
    I think that your pc, computer has nothing to do with the problems of being connected with Flickr, try again the way I have told you, and tell me if you have any problems or did it at last.
    I am Emi472 in Flickr, see me and you can see all my daughters photos, also friends.
    Mine are worst than their of course.

  6. emiliano says:

    “Mind over matter”, I like this expression as I am practising it every moment along so many years in my life that I don´t remember doing another
    It´s perfect clear.

    “Not even close”, very expresive sentence, yes I like it too, but it seems to me that it has some sense of humor?, if it´s so it´s even better.

    I laugh a lot listening to podcast 549 “using a camera” …….Jeff seems very smart using a digital camera…….I hope to see his photos in
    Flickr too, together with mine.

    Thanks a million Lucy.

  7. Parhanks says:

    Thanks Lucy for the explanation on the matter.

    You are the best!

    The thing is ,you and Jeff always play down your skills, and the fact is, I and my classmate always know your true place!

    I wish That times would come that I could claim I am half Lucy , English wise.

    I know , I know you are saying : too ambitious

    but, it is a known fact that today’s world has built by ambitious people.

  8. Peter says:

    …this the great theatre of life.Admission is free but the taxation is mortal.
    You come when you can,and leave when you must.the show is continuous . 
    Good-night.” Robertson Davies

    the sentense above reffers to liberary

    beautiful, isn’t it

    the gray matter is my brain is depleting; tried to comit the sentense to my memory. No success!

    So just copied and pased

    hope you find it meaningful as well


  9. Peter says:


    In deed ,Jeff is on the ball

    all this answering questioning thing you got going help us punch up(making better, more presentable) our writing style all by ourselves.

    this self-correcting approach is a huge help Lucy

    it somehow shows us the error of our ways

    please get to answer-question thing more if you see fit,ofcourse

  10. dongsung says:

    I feel like I’m fool in my work recently. I don’t know the reason but my mind was a blank and I even didn’t know what I was doing. it just getting behind in my work and seems I’m not smart as I did before. This time is when I need to think more positively and Mind over matter.

  11. Peter says:

    I like lUcy’s humour touch as well!

    I beilieve ,it is a deliberate move to make this imppeccable blog even more intersting!

    no need Lucy ;The blog is interesting as it is

    But, you Jazzing it up a bit gives the whole thing an after taste that stays wuith me the entire day.

    Nice going sis,

  12. Tania says:

    Hi ! Emiliano , I have problems with my PC. Now I am at the library to communicate with you all .
    I don’t want to interrupt our link .

    All the best for you all ,


  13. Tanita says:

    Emiliano, what’s the Flickr? 🙂

  14. Bakhtiar says:

    Good and new expressions for me, in relation to not even close, last October i have applied for the Chevening Scholarship programme which is organizing by the British Council yearly, i thougt this year i could make but just some minutes before now, i have contacted them they told me that i did not make it this year too, so as you see i am not even close my guess comes, how ever when i was working at the ministry of human rights i was relationship chicken i could not dare to tell my dream girl when she was my workmate i would told her till now even i obsessed about her for six years, but sometimes it is mind over matter, i could control myself to not practicing sex with opposite sex, i could resist myself to kiss or sleep over with her.

  15. dini70 says:

    tania ,
    if you want help about your pc i can provide you online on yahoo messenger where my nickname is ” dini70ddr ”
    i will do it gladly and with this occassion i ask this page’s bloggers to contact me via yahoo messenger or skype for online talking … if somebady wants to …

    yahoo mess : dini70ddr
    skype : dini70

  16. Tyler says:

    Hi all,I read this words fist,so I know these words and phrases how to used. thank you very much!

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