Every day, we’re faced with different challenges. Some things are obviously more challenging than others, but with every one of them we are faced with having to make a decision about it. That decision involves a choice, which is what and how we think about it.

Because what we think about something has a direct impact on how we act and think about ourselves. How we act directly impacts what others see and think about us.

This goes hand in hand with what’s called, “Above the Line Thinking.” I have written previously about focus and where we can place it; above the line thinking goes hand in hand with focus. Above the line thinking is all about choice.

As discussed earlier, when anything happens we have a choice – do we respond or do we react? Let’s have a look at a few examples of above the line thinking compared to below the line thinking.

Choose to take 100% responsibility rather than to blame. One of the easiest things to do is to lay blame. Taking responsibility is a trait of an adult. Taking responsibility is having an understanding that whether you cause something or not, you are in charge of how you respond afterwards. When we react rather than respond we take away our power of choice. By choosing to blame, this often leads to distrust in ourselves and others in future situations. Assume 100% responsibility for your part in any interaction that you have with others – not for other’s actions but for your part and how you respond to them.

Focus on the solution, not the problem. I have discussed before about focus – specifically, “What you focus on is what you get to the exclusion of everything else.” When a challenge comes your way you can choose to focus on either the problem or finding a solution. Be aware that whatever you focus on, that will be all you can see. If you decide to focus on the problem at hand, all you will see is problem. Your mind is not geared to find the solution. But if you acknowledge the challenge and then make a decision to focus on finding a solution, all of your attention is honed in to sniff out the prospect of a solution. You accept nothing other than possible solutions. Eventually, you find the solution and through seeking it out you have grown and also solved the problem more quickly than having waited for something or someone else to fix it for you.

Choosing to accept rather than judge. Every day we will be confronted with this choice. Especially by people who are different to us, people who think differently to us, who act differently to us, etc. A list like that could be endless. Yet, focussing our energy above the line to acceptance rather than judgement opens us to the possibilities of learning something about ourselves, others and a wider spectrum outside our little bubble. We often forget that everyone is doing the best they can with the tools that they have. Whenever we meet someone or when someone does something that we don’t understand, if we were to remind ourselves that they are doing the best they can with the tools they have, then we are open to accept them. But also open to expand their awareness and to help them learn. And by teaching them, we teach ourselves.

Focus on the feedback rather than any failure. One thing that is inevitable in life is that we will not succeed at everything on the first attempt. People often run their lives fearing failure – doing everything they can to avoid it. People act as if failure is the opposite to success. No, failure is the road TO success! Thomas Edison is quoted as saying, “I never failed; I just discovered 10,000 ways not to invent the light bulb.” With every unsuccessful attempt that he made towards inventing the light bulb, he received the feedback. He used that feedback to lead him further down the road. Eventually he had received enough feedback from his unsuccessful attempts that he was able to successfully invent the bulb, but only because he knew that failure was the road TO success. We learn everything from our failures and nothing from our successes.

Making the choice to act through love, not through fear. Although some may consider this obvious, I think it deserves a mention. The experiences that we have on a daily basis would be drastically different if we made our choices based on love rather than fear. Remember that what you focus on is what you get, so do you want more love in your life or do you want more fear? You get to make that choice every day. Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t ever be cautious - caution is fine, but fear is a disease. With so much focus these days on what we should be afraid of, there’s little time spent on what we should be thankful for – what we can love around us. Make the choice to love and accept rather than to fear and exclude.

Focus on your choices, rather than being stuck. Everything is about choice. No matter what happens we always have a choice. We have a choice of action or inaction, we have a choice of how to think about something, how to talk about something – the choices are endless. Even when we feel stuck, we have choice. Even when we are at rock bottom we have a choice, we do not have to be stuck there. Being stuck is choosing to stay juvenile. Remaining stuck is saying that we don’t respect ourselves enough to look for a solution.

There is always choice.

As you move along every day, develop the habit of using above the line thinking. Catch yourself when you choose fear over love. Stop yourself when you are blaming rather than responding and taking responsibility. When you have a setback, look for the lesson or feedback that you get from that experience – your solution will be just around the corner.

Author's Bio: 

Youarn Bell is a coach and trainer based in Australia with a growing reputation for helping people from all walks of life to push past their perceived limits and drastically improve their life rapidly. Click Here for more information.