Keep your chin up . . . or down?

I went out for Thai food with friends this week. After we finished our Pad Thai and green curry, the server brought us the bill and our fortune cookies. My friend, Jennifer, opened hers. Along with a short message of encouragement, it read, “Keep your chin up.”

My friend, Phil, said, “Interesting. When I’m boxing, the trainers always tells me to keep my chin down.” Phil boxes for fitness, and in that sport an upright chin is a sure target for a direct hit.

I like the “Keep your chin up!” piece of advice: no matter what happens, pick yourself up, brush yourself off and walk forward into the future with your head held high. No moping. Phil’s alternative, however, seems like good advice, too. When we are under attack, if we keep our chins tucked down, we prevent the blow from landing in the first place, thereby avoiding having to pick ourselves up and brush ourselves off later.

Chin up, or chin down? Which is it? Both pieces of advice have value.

I guess it depends. Are you on offence or defence? Are you trying to make good things happen for yourself, or are you trying to prevent unwanted things from happening?

If we always walked around with our chins tucked down trying to avert disaster, we would not accomplish our goals. A little moving forward with the chin held high keeps things interesting. But when we are under attack, by whomever for whatever reason, self-preservation is advisable, too.

So, keep your chin up, unless you need to keep it down.

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