Above the Line and Below the Line Thinking…
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
― Abraham Lincoln
Continuing on from a previous blog highlighting the difference between excuses and reasons and making sure you are not the road block, we have the concept of above and below the line thinking.
This is a very powerful concept – “The Line” is the parallel that divides our character and represents responsibility. Responsibility is a very important word. It is a powerful life skill that puts into practice the act of ownership; taking responsibility and being accountable for your actions.
Acting below the line our lives become circumstance-driven and include the characteristics of laying blame; denial and making excuses.
Are you a victor or victim?
Laying blame is far too common in organisations and businesses; whether it is the CEO or others. It shows that they are not willing to be accountable or responsible for their actions. Excuses don’t solve the issues either, nor promote responsibility. They usually cause frustration.
With denial we are committing yet another below the line action “I didn’t do it.” This obviously ineffective response can create certain frustration in others and make us appear unreliable and dishonest.
Yes, victims let things happen to them; do not take control; are pessimistic; find reasons why not and always appear tired and stressed.
By choosing to act above the line we are using response-ability (that is taking responsibility for your performance and showing you have the ability to be responsible). It is a powerful skill. This can be defined as having the ability to respond (that is be pro-active). With response-ability comes increasing choices and freedoms that we may have never had before.
By living above the line, you take responsibility for your own life, business or career. You begin to have greater control because you stop blaming things outside yourself for your current situation. I can remember being in a business where a manager always came up with excuses about poor business performance whilst continuing to deny there was a problem. This was extremely frustrating for me. It began to affect my work performance and emotional state. I was blaming him rather than taking ownership for my performance. I decided to take responsibility for my performance and the business performance and this filtered down the organisation to others, making them take responsibility for their sections……..and unsurprising performance improved and so did workplace morale.
Responsibility is the ability to respond to the events that happen in our lives. When you sit back and accept things that happen to you, you are allowing the circumstances of life to control you rather than taking control of what circumstances come in and out of your life. When you take action, you make life happen for you…………not to you!