Things were very up and down last week. As I prepared for my first amateur dramatics performance in many years, my confidence peaked and troughed, nerves both inspiring me and occasionally leaving me feeling low. At times like this it often seems easier to fall down than to stand up. Human thinking is inclined toward the negative or to ambivalence more than it is to the positive. Without conscious deliberate effort we are susceptible to a lowering of our energy and subsequent trajectory.

In everyday language I often notice how the phrases we use to describe challenges and opportunities are distinctly either up or down:

She is on the up; She got bogged down; Are you up for this?; They seem downhearted; He benefited from a leg-up; He is feeling down; It’s up to you (choice); It’s down to you (no choice!) etc.

You always have a choice about how you interact with what shows up in your life and work, how you process it and how you habitually describe it. But without switching on your awareness to how you have interpreted and described the situation, you may default to a down description and your energy will drop accordingly. This fall in mood and attitude stifles creativity and restricts your access to that upbeat alternative.

Re-read that list and observe how some of the phrases resonate with you, do they feel good or dulled?

Almost any situation can be described as up or down – you choose.

And the choice you make, consciously or unconsciously, sets in motion the next sequence of events.

Your attitude trajectory is more in your control than it would often seem. Simply by activating a deliberate choice of ‘up’ more often than ‘down’ you can change the impact on yourself and others. As I have toured the country this year delivering Attitude Boosts to groups and teams and explored this, I find it resonating more and more.

I challenge you to spend the week ahead tuning into others’ up and down phrases and the accompanying attitude of the uppers and downers. Consider your own default phrases – can you ‘up your game’ here?

As always, break a leg and keep it simple!


PS – Also worthy of note is your propensity to smile (or not). Smiling requires a decision to lift your facial muscles up! See Simple Note #129 “Your Face Says It All” for more on this.