The phrase "raise the bar" is commonly used to talk about setting higher standards or expectations. People often say this when they're talking about doing something better than before or pushing for better performance. For example, if a runner completes a race in record time, they have effectively "raised the bar" for other athletes. Similarly, you can raise the bar in your workplace by taking on more responsibility and doing your job well.
We use "raise the bar" when talking about improving standards or doing something better than before. If you "raise the bar," it shows you're not satisfied with just doing okay—you want to excel. You want to push yourself or others to get better results.
Let's dig into its main points:
The term "raise the bar" likely started in sports, specifically high jump or pole vault events. The "bar" in this context is a literal bar that athletes try to jump over. As competitors clear the bar at a certain height, the bar is then raised to challenge them further. The phrase has been used in a broader sense, moving beyond sports to include any situation where standards or expectations are increased.
"They get on wonderfully when they have once acquired the knack; and although it may take wecks to raise the bar to three feet, he not disheartened-a very few lessons will get it up to five."
- The New Sporting Magazine, Volume 25, 1853
To help you get a better grasp of how to use this phrase, let's go through some examples from various situations:
The phrase shows up often in popular culture, generally meaning that someone or something has set a new standard.
Let's look at some examples:
Many other phrases mean something similar to "raise the bar."
Here are some:
"Raise the bar" means setting higher standards or expectations in a particular area or field. This can apply to work, sports, education, or any other situation where quality or performance matters.
You can use "raise the bar" as a verb phrase to describe the act of setting higher standards. For example: "She raised the bar for customer service in our department." "The new regulations will raise the bar for safety protocols."
People in leadership roles often use "raise the bar" to encourage improvement. It's also used in sports, academics, and business to talk about setting new records or achieving excellence.
No, you can "raise the bar" for yourself too, meaning you're aiming for higher goals or standards in your personal life or career.
Generally, "raise the bar" has a positive connotation about improvement and growth. But in some contexts, it could be seen as setting unrealistically high expectations that are tough to meet.
Even though the phrase might make you think of a physical bar being lifted, it's actually metaphorical. It means elevating standards or expectations, not lifting an actual bar.
No, "raise the bar" doesn't have to be about outdoing others. It can be about self-improvement or setting new internal standards for a project or task.
Yes, businesses often "raise the bar" by offering better products or services to outperform competitors or to improve customer satisfaction.
There's no set time frame for "raising the bar." It could be a short-term goal or a long-term vision. It's all about the context in which you're using the phrase.
They're related but not the same. Making progress means moving forward, while "raising the bar" is about setting a new, higher standard to aim for.
The phrase "raise the bar" pushes the idea of not settling for mediocrity. It encourages people to strive for excellence in their personal lives, at work, or in any endeavor. This phrase can serve as a motivational tool to boost productivity and inspire growth.
Here's a quick recap: