How do we stay above the line?


If you were asked the following question, what would you say is true for you MOST of the time:


Do you believe that you are generally at the effect of the events and circumstances in your life, or would you say that for the most part you feel like you are in charge of what happens in your world?


While at certain times we all feel like life is happening TO us, and that has been truer over the last 12 months possibly than ever before, it's interesting to consider, what is my default way of thinking?

Image from www.disoveryinaction.com.au


At Positive Living Skills, one of the key philosophies or beliefs that underpin the approach of our programs is the choice or decision we can make to believe that we are 100% responsible for the outcomes we achieve in our lives, and that we always have some level of choice.


Yes that is a big statement. 100% responsibility. How can we be 100% responsible for the results we experience in our lives?


We all know that logically there are many things that occur in our lives that are outside our control - the weather, actions or decisions from Government, other people's actions, an unexpected worldwide pandemic, some changes in our health, and accidents can change our world in an instant. We are not responsible for EVERYTHING that happens in our lives.


The concept or suggestion that we think is powerful and that we want young people to 'try on' is for them to consider this:


IF we take on the belief that the circumstances we find ourselves in have a lot to do with us, our thinking, our approach or our responses, then it helps us consider that there is something we can DO to help us change our circumstances.


It's all about EMPOWERMENT.


This concept is often associated with the idea of ABOVE THE LINE THINKING and developing a strong internal ‘locus of control’. The Locus of Control scale (you can assess yourself HERE) measures the degree to which a person believes that they can influence their outcomes or if they think outcomes are generally in the hands of 'fate' or others.

When faced with choices and decisions, above the line thinking is about possibilities, solutions, taking action (without being certain of what the outcome will be), decisions, support, acceptance, empathy, forgiveness, and self-belief in our ability to handle what comes our way, and that we are deserving of pursuing our dreams, and of love.


People who practice above the line thinking look at the current situation, work out whether that is causing them pain or pleasure, consider their options, consider the potential outcomes, accept that life is full of contrast, believe in their own ability to make change and move forward. They live more in the present and look toward the future. They think about where they are right now, where they want to go and how to move toward that direction.



Below the line thinking on the other hand is about blame, judgement, denial, and justification. And while there are certainly situations that are outside of our control, making the decis